Before we say goodbye….
My husband is deploying in a few days; this is our sixth deployment in 10 years. It’s like I’m doing this for the first time again: the fear, stress and anxiety of what may happen to him or our friends is overwhelming; updating the wills is beyond depressing; I’m left feeling like a robot. I’m going through the motions but suppressing every feeling I have.
But there are other stresses than just the obvious ones. My life is overflowing with things that require gas, four wheels and a lot of work. We have a back yard full of “toys” – four-wheelers, dirt bikes, mini dirt bikes, a dune buggy, a motorcycle, a huge trailer, muscle cars and our everyday drivers. The husband loves to go fast! But all that love and care to his toys falls on my shoulders when he leaves. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing! I can put gas in the car and that’s about where my expertise ends. He makes a great effort to go over everything with me but the look on my face I know is not promising. Yet he continues with his explanations, what I’ll need to start and what has fuel stabilizer in it and so on and so on. I’m still questioning what fuel stabilizer is. I can’t say anything, though, or ask questions that will cause him doubt and stress. I know what he needs – he needs to leave here confident that I can manage the weight of the world for him, not kill the kids, burn the house down or wreck the cars. Yet I still make the mistake of asking him where the keys to the buggy are, despite knowing we are treading in troubling times.
“Okay babe I have all the keys to everything except the buggy keys, where are those?” He didn’t even need to say a word, the look of “Are you #%*$ing kidding me woman” said enough. But he did.
“Are you serious right now? You’re messing with me, right? Please tell me you’re not for real!”
At this point I realize I’ve said something wrong but I’m confused. What is the right answer here? “Babe, well…maybe? I don’t know?”
Now he is frustrated.
“I built that in our backyard, you were there! You’ve ridden in it 100 times. Hell woman, you have driven it! When have you ever seen me put a key in it? Where is the keyhole? It’s a push start! You push a damn button and it starts. You have pushed this button, and many others I might add, before! How do you over look something like that? How do you not remember that?”
My quick wit kicks in.
“Well, babe, I probably just forgot like you forget daily where your dirty dishes go, or where the laundry hamper is, or where your boots are, or your keys, wallet, or how to put the toilet seat down, how to replace the toilet paper, feed the dogs or that greasy car parts don’t belong on the kitchen counter. Hell I don’t know? You tell me!”
He looks speechless and I can tell he wasn’t prepared for my response.
“You’ve made your point, I’ll see if my dad can come help you with it while I’m gone.”
I know not to push my luck during these times….
“Babe that sounds like a good idea! I love pushing buttons, I’m just as shocked as you that I forgot it was a button start!”
Needless to say things are stressful but this is my normal. We tried something new this time to help distract us from the looming deployment. I truly believe it did us some good. We took a nice little trip out to Texas to see our friends and Texas Boot Campaign family. My husband participated in Boot’n Shoot’n this year. The money raised at this event goes back to the Boot Campaign and allows them to help assist our veterans and their needs. There was an Operation Home Giveaway as well.
From my perspective this event was perfect for us. I believe it restored our faith in humanity. Living in a military town, the military is not always appreciated. He travels to the worst parts of the world and does his part to save people and they are not always grateful. After years and years of that I feel it weighs on us. Being at Boot’n Shoot’n, surrounded by people who love and appreciate our military, who are there to give back, is healthy for us. It reminds us both that the sacrifice we make is worth it.
My husband experienced his first home giveaway there. The emotion from the crowd and the home recipient was overwhelming. Never a dry eye! It’s an unforgettable experience to be there and know there is a need for this and to see it come alive and true for a veteran. It’s as if you witness the weight of the world lift off their shoulders. To be able to give this back to them and thank them for all they have done for us is remarkable. My husband and I left Texas reconnected in our relationship and ready to fight for our country again. The Boot Campaign and Benchmark Mortgage reminded us both that people still care and are willing to fight for their needs as they fight for their freedom.
It still doesn’t take much to set each other off during this time. We each have our own stresses, fears and things we are not saying. We tend to focus on things that don’t really matter like the toilet seat and buttons. What really lies behind all of this is that we are sad. We are sad because we are truly going to miss each other. No matter how much we fight or bicker we are a family and when one of us is gone there is a hole. I miss my partner, lover, friend and free in-house child care. The kids miss their daddy, punching bag, the guy who says yes to everything they want, the parent that thinks candy is a food group, the fun parent.
My husband…he misses everything. We live in this crazy haze of anger and fear during these last few days but I know when we say our goodbyes the truth will reveal itself. The last few days spent together bickering are not really worth it. We both know it and yet it never changes. We will apologize to each other. I will cry and it will be said, “I am just really going to miss you guys.”