(I have to put a little prelude in here to bring you all up to speed with my life. Bug is my stepdaughter, and while her father is deployed, she is going to live with her mother in a northern mid-western state. She will be leaving Saturday, he will be leaving Sunday. This was sprung on us in the last week, and I have lots more I could say, but I won't (at least right now). PB and Monster have only known since Sunday.)
It's that final week of life PD (Pre-deployment). I don't think it matters if you have a year to prepare, or only three weeks, this week is one of the hardest. Things are packed, boxes are loaded on trucks and sent on their way, duffels are stored fully loaded, decisions have been made, and all those last minute details you forgot about are popping up. And you are waiting. You spend every day with a sense of anticipation and dread. You avoid looking at the calendar, you stop keeping track of the days. Mornings come way too soon, and bedtimes stretch way too late. You gather up all those things you know you are going to miss, trying to store away a few moments to pull out in the coming year. Those minutes just after waking in the morning, when the bed is warm and you are so comfortable and happy to just snuggle. When you are sitting at the table and the kids are so hungry you let them say one of the cheesy graces just so you can eat. Everyone piling on the bed to make some decision...what to get for dinner, when to go to the movies, etc. You realize that this could be the last time you are able to do this for the next year. And you do your best to push away the thoughts, the sadness, and remember to enjoy and live in that moment. You spend every waking hour on the verge of strong emotions...tears, anger, frustration, elation. People comment on how well you are taking this separation. What do they want me to do? Wail and scream and cry? What will that do? All I see in that path is the chance to be even more miserable for the next year.
People comment often that they couldn't do this. They couldn't be married to the military. And I do believe that it takes a certain group of traits to be a military spouse. You cannot be an overly needy person, and you have to maintain a strong self-reliance. You have to like yourself and be confident in your ability. That doesn't mean that you don't need the other person. My husband makes my life better. It isn't always easier, but it is better. That doesn't mean that it isn't good without him, though.
We've known for over a year, ad we've worked towards being prepared. We've had discussions, made agreements and arrangements. We thought we were prepared. But the last few days reminded me what I had forgotten. You are never really prepared.
Yesterday, that fact was slammed into me several times. Work is crazy busy and very frustrating at the moment. Our personal life is crazy and frustrating at the moment. By the time I got home last night, I just wanted to crawl into bed and hide. But dinner had to be made, projects had to be completed, showers needed supervised. I worked through the chores with a strong sense that one more thing was going to hurtle me over the abyss, down into the craziness. I felt brittle and stiff, sad and frustrated. I worked very hard at maintaining my composure, but it was hard.
There were two bright spots in my night. I came home to find a wonderful box of goodies from my Swapangel. Unfortunately, my swap partner in the last swap did not fulfill her duties, but a very nice member stepped up and really outdid herself. And it came at the perfect moment. I was also able to carve out some time to spend in my sewing room. A good hour and half of (mostly) uninterrupted sewing really soothed my soul.
Tomorrow is the ceremony. I see wide scale chaos, and rivers of tears being shed. At this point, I'm just living minute by minute.