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You Told Me You Were Deploying Today

You told me you were deploying today. I wasn’t that surprised. It comes with the job. You were due. We were due. It was time. We’ve been so fortunate for the several years without one, though time away was still frequent.

When you told me, I immediately went to that place. That place of preparation. That place of resilience and know-how. The place where I know how to move this family forward while you are away.

But there’s just so much I can’t prepare for.

First, there’s our children.

You deployed twice while we had just one, but never since we’ve had two. How will I prepare them? How will I explain that daddy won’t be coming home for awhile? How will they know that daddy still loves them day-in and day-out when he is not physically here to tell them, show them, and be there for them?

You will miss school events. You will miss sporting events. You will miss holidays. You will miss birthdays. You will miss sickness. You will miss joy. You will miss all the things that daily make us a family because you will be away serving this country.

You will miss those moments about our children that we laugh about days and weeks later. You will miss the moments that I won’t be able to properly articulate on Face Time or text in the 12+ hours until we talk again.

I know how I prepared before there were 4 of us, and we survived, but I’ve never prepared for this one. I’ve never prepared your baby girl. The sun rises and sets on you, and I don’t know how to prepare her for daddy not coming home each day.

Why did you have to tell me you were deploying today?

Then there’s us.

How do I prepare us? We’ve weathered 4 deployments in 11 years. We’ve done it. We’ve checked the boxes. We survived. We did 2 with 1 kid, never 1 with 2. We moved 2,000 miles away from family prior to this one. What will we do? What will I do? How do I prepare us for a deployment so far from both of our families?

You distance yourself when you know the time is coming. You prepare for the worst, hope for the best. You minimize everything. You’ll tell the kids that “you’ll be home soon.” They won’t understand yet, and I won’t know how to help them.

How do you prepare young children for their daddy, the light of their day to be gone? You don’t get to bear that burden. I do. I always will.

I will always be the one that establishes their normal. But I’ve gotten used to you being home. I’ve relied on you to make breakfasts, to be home when our son gets off the bus, and to pick up our daughter on a day that I’ve been busier than normal.

You’ve been there more in the past few years than I’ve been used to in our entire marriage.  I’ve become TOO used to it.

Why did you have to tell me you were deploying today?

Once you took that oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America some 14 years ago, this has always been part of our lives. I didn’t know the real truth of the sacrifices that I was signing up for, but I deeply knew the sacrifice that you were signing up for.

I know that every time time that you deploy, you are voluntarily choosing to put your life on the line so that we can enjoy the luxuries and freedoms that we have. My breath may catch every time you take flight because I am a naturally anxious person, but that pales in comparison to the way that I feel when your breath is taken into the unknown — to a country that I have not and will not ever see.

I can’t control the unknown and that scares me. Every time.

Every time you tell me that you’re deploying.

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