This is our second time around the block. We are almost done with this deployment. To say it out loud that I have been doing this alone for 11 months is mind boggling. No, there is no cliches around here. Time did not fly. I felt every single day of those 11 months and as anxiety is starting to creep up, time is moving even slower.
I would love to sit here and say the 2nd time is easier. I know so many military wives that are gearing up for their second long separation, I wish I had good news to them. But unfortunately I don't. For me, second time wasn't easier at all.
These deployments are like night and day. 1st one was to Iraq, dh was still in the Army, he left the wire every day and did hundreds of dangerous convoys. He left 2 weeks before I gave birth for the first time, came home when ds was 1 week old and then left again and we didn't see each other until 11 months later. I moved in with my parents, then after 6 months was craving my independence, packed up my 6 month old and moved back to Texas on my own. I grew as a person, learned a ton, and just stood on my own two feet.
This time he is a civilian contractor in Afghanistan. He is not allowed to go outside the wire, and asides from the rocket explosions, he is pretty safe. Or safer than before, or maybe that is what I like to tell myself. We now have 2 kids, I have lived on my own this whole time, and his R&R was halfway through. I didn't have to go almost 11 months without seeing him.
Don't get me wrong, in a sense its easier. I am more prepared, know what to expect, and I am more mature. First time I was 25 now I just turned 30 during the middle of it. 5 years is a big difference. Through everything that we have been through, I have grown. This time I knew that the beginning is horrible, the week after R&R is unbearable, and the month before homecoming is out of this world. Knowing what to expect makes it easier because I am nicer to myself.
I will openly cry, I tell my children I miss their daddy, I don't hide anything from them and I give myself a pass. I don't have to have a perfect house and 3 course meal on the table every night without ever shedding a tear. Screw that!!! You can't live like that. If you can more props to you, but I can't. If I don't feel like doing laundry today and tomorrow my kids will have to wear last halloweens costume, so be it. If dinner is grilled cheese, oh well. That doesn't make me any less or any more of a woman or a mother. That just proves I am normal and real.
So to say its easier, nope. Not at all. The pain I have felt this past 11 months is just the same. The hollow sense I have felt without having my best friend around, my partner in life, hasn't changed. The tug of my heart when the children do something cute and he is missing is still there. It's all the same.
We did what we had to do to be where we want to be. We sacrificed a lot and will enjoy the rewards of those sacrifices, but to say it was easier. No way, no how!!!!!!!!!! and for everyone that is gearing up for their 2nd time around the block, I am sorry. My hope and prayers is that somehow its easier for you. Somehow, I truly wish time flies for you guys, and that you can say, piece of cake.
and if it isn't, don't worry. You got me that completely understands it and sometimes that is enough.