For awhile now, I've been looking into the future and wondering, waiting, willing it not to come ... the day when Will is finally attached to a ship again and begins the 18-36 months of random underway's for various lengths of time and a deployment thrown in there for 7 months at some point (hopefully only one).
I've wondered how life would change now that we have two boys in the mix, now that life is busier and more complicated, somehow. I've waited to find out how much time and effort Will is going to have to commit to being a department head, a much more demanding position than he's ever had, and how that will affect our family and what I will need to do to manage, support, and thrive through all of this.
For the last 2 1/2 years, I feel like we've been living in what I consider to be a "not-normal" life in the Navy: the wonderful Shore Tour, especially the "attending school shore tour". Life has been easy with Will around so much. We've had every evening, every weekend, every vacation and even many afternoons and days off depending on his schedule. It's been a great time. He hasn't missed our boys' young lives at all, up until now.
Today Will left on what I consider to be a medium length underway. (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say how long for security reasons, although when I find out if it's ok, I'll edit this post). :) He'll continue to have various times "out to sea" for training, and other things until they eventually deploy later this year.
Today, I feel like "real life" begins again for me. Real life being a physical single Mom for the better part of a year. I will still have the emotional support from e-mails and random phone calls, but I will not have much face time or physical help with the boys. Even when his ship is in port, they work ridiculously long hours and have duty days on top of that. Talk about major commitment to your job. :)
As during the last deployment, I look forward to what God has planned for us all through this. I feel like I have to search for some positive during this time in order to stay sane and to support the boys mentally, spiritually and emotionally while Will is so busy and gone. My biggest regret is how much THEY will miss him. They have grown to close to their father, their daddy, in the last couple of years and I know that they will feel that distance.
Herein lies another challenge of military life: making it work for the kids. We've already gotten season passes to the zoo, the botanical gardens, we plan on getting one for the YMCA and they are signed up for pre-school. I know all of these things won't replace Dad time, but I hope they will help the boys engage their minds and bodies in positive ways that will build them up instead of just sitting around missing Dad, and occasionally (hopefully not too often) being around mopey Mom who is drained and really misses Dad.
One benefit of going through deployment with kids is that I've heard it goes more quickly. It seems like it would be harder though since the kids are my entire responsibility, but then, I've haven't done it yet. I also feel fortunate because Will hasn't been on an IA (for a year) yet. His deployment will not be near that long, so in that, I feel blessed.
I will depend on my family (who will hopefully fly in for many visits), my local friends, and fellow military wives with wise (encouraging) words, and my Savior (who daily saves me from myself) to support me through this. Certainly, people in this area know how to do deployment (the other "D" word). :)
I am determined (my "D" word) to see our family through this next sea tour soundly. I feel like so much is resting and relying on my ability to be strong, stable, supportive, positive ... if I can only remember that to be all of these things doesn't depend on MY ability, it depends on God's.
He will never ever set a task before me that He won't equip me to handle. I will always semper paratus (be prepared) with Him, but not before the appropriate time. Whether it's mental or spiritual support from Scripture, or physical and emotional support from friends or family, I WILL be prepared. I can't do this alone. I will not just survive it, I WILL thrive, I must. I feel like simply surviving will be failing. Perhaps I judge myself and the situation too soon. The last deployment was a train wreck for me. I was miserable, it was horrible. I don't want to repeat that. Now I have children depending on me. We will see.
Now, real life begins ... could be worse I'm sure ... is hard enough as it is. I will take it ... this is where my path takes me ... to the mountains, and through the valleys, but I'm just lookin' for the meadow.