So, the subject of today's blog is how Wife and I cope with being apart.
My last deployment, right after we got married, only took me away for two months. And my only other deployment occurred when I had no one so special in my life. We have been apart about 8 months now, the longer time since we met.
I am fortunate for the modern world we live in. For cell phones, Internet, air mail, and email. I don't know how I'd survive otherwise.
1 year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. Give or take a few.
I've missed an 18th birthday, high school graduation, college orientation, first day of college, Aspergers diagnosis, first day of preschool, many milestones, all but one sonogram (in person), baby's first kicks, the morning sickness, the amazing changes, the building of the nursery.
I've missed the chances to be there for all of that, but I have survived, because my wife has been there for both of us. And she documents every little thing, from new achievements to "boring" routines. And it helps me feel like I'm there!
There's nothing like getting to chat with your kids, them not truly knowing why you aren't with them, but understanding that you haven't abandoned them.
It takes great patience for my wife to do that. To give each child an opportunity alone with Daddy, even if it means we don't get to chat that day. She keeps my presence there, and keeps their presences with me.
She extends bedtimes, and shuffles plans to accommodate the 8.5hr time difference. She is patient always, with the internet, the schedule changes, and the time limitations.
My wife sends pictures just about every day. They range from morning cuddles, to bedhead breakfasts, exciting playdates, tv time, grocery shopping, bath time, story time, naptime, or any other spur of the moment she manages to snap a picture.
She'll patiently recount an entire day if I ask, just so I can feel the least bit like I was there, flipping the pancakes, playing the games, listening to the jokes, and reading the stories.
Just as I will recount my days for her, so she can remind herself what I do, because she loves that I do what I love, but sometimes long absences can make us forget.
We get our alone time, too. We laugh, we cry, we talk, we argue, and sometimes we just see each other, not a single word needed between us.
We remind ourselves that we are a couple, even worlds away, she is my one and only, my shining star. We are not just a mother and father, sister and brother, we are husband and wife, and it's okay to be selfish sometimes.
We are each others confidants, we can confess our weaknesses without judgement, and we draw our strength from each other. Neither of us has the harder of both worlds, because we both have our challenges and our rewards, and we are gracious for both, because it is all a test of our endurance. And we will endure!
Others go out of their way for us, too
Our OB/GYN accommodates us, so that I can Skype into appointments and sonograms. I got to see my baby's heartbeat for the first time, the same time my wife did. I got to see our baby grow, and watch it grow from a little bean, to an alien, to a baby. Got to track their progress and health, and get the peace of mind that everything is running smoothly, straight from the doctor's mouth.
I've gotten to talk, "face to face" with our son's physical therapist/occupational therapist, cardiologist, and soon, his new therapist. I get to be involved as much as I can bear, so I am not left lost and confused when I return.
I get personalized tours of campus, and the dorms, and get to hear about all the excitement of being a college student. And all the amazing things they have discovered in their new city.
Ive helped make decisions, financially, familially, decoratively, etc, that most wives wouldnt think twice to include their husbands in. And it means so much to me, as almost a compensation for what I do miss being over here.
By the time I go on R&R, I'll have a brand new little boy or girl. I will have missed out on feeling the kicks, talking to the belly, helping the mother of my children as she progresses, and simple things become more difficult. I won't get to stand there and hold my child as soon as it comes into the world, but I'll be watching, with an aching heart, knowing I will be there soon.