It's been almost five weeks since Brett's deployed. There have been some welcome distractions such as that first week with Midwest family and friends and we've been fortunate enough to be able to Skype with him almost every morning but I'd be lying if I said we've got this. I'm starting to see how it's playing out with both kids in ways I didn't notice right away. I'm in a stronger place than I have ever been when he's been away for a month or more with training but I, too, feel his absence every other hour.
And yet, summer is the best time of year for him to be gone because there are so many more opportunities to get together for play dates and the likelihood of the stomach flu hitting all three of us at once is pretty slim (yes, that's happened). We can be lazy if we want or spontaneously go to the movies without worrying about school the next morning. We can let the laundry go a bit and wear the same shorts three days in a row. We can pass the time with popsicles and swimming pools and let the warm evenings put us to bed.
At the same time, though, I'm more than ready for school to start and August to mostly slip away as we attend swimming lessons in the morning and inch closer and closer to September. September means we're halfway there and at least there's pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween costume planning to keep our minds busy and our emotions at bay.
We're developing our struggle muscles, as my mom says. I'm much more of a mother and a wife than I was even three years ago because of the Army. I'm learning from those around me that have done it for far longer and our kids are adapting in necessary ways. I'm also surrendering my expectations for awhile. Life is more challenging right now so it's okay that there are always dishes in the sink and overdue library books. I'm channeling all of my energy into taking care of my family and myself right now and my dear neighbor friend, Rachel Burch, once reminded me that as long as my kids were safe, fed, clothed, and knew that they were loved, that was enough.
This part is temporary so I'm going to keep my eyes on the big picture when I get too lonely and feel the satisfaction of crossing off each day that brings us closer to being under the same roof again.