This photo was taken at the airport. My hubby had just finished his 2 weeks of R&R and was headed back to Iraq. My husband and I were saying good-bye for another loooong six months.
Let’s be honest here. Marriage is hard. It’s not for the faint of heart. We believe these happily ever after fairly tales and that is such a huge set up. After that honeymoon phase it gets real. Welcome to reality.
My husband and I are polar opposites. He is more of a math/tech guy I am a craft/artsy gal. I love simple things but I want pretty things too. He could care less what anything looked like- he is color blind so that kinda makes lots of things look the same. I love to read and write and decorate and craft and take classes and learn new things and call people on the phone and meet old friends…and…the list goes on… He likes to go to work and help people and occasionally sight see. True, those three things actually take up more time than all my ANDS put together but we couldn’t be more different.
I realized as we sat there waiting for the plane that both of us had socks and sandals on. How dorky! I also realized that neither one of us cared. Like, not at all. We barely noticed that there were other passengers waiting to board. Nothing else really mattered. We had complete disregard for anything else. We were focused on the one thing we both were dreading. Saying Goodbye.
As I stared at our sandaled and socked feet I realized that I had come to a point where my love for my husband had completely leaped over and above anything else. I cared not for any stares pointed in our direction. I wore this skirt because my husband bought it for me. (I actually didn’t even really like it and it was always too big on me and it garnered way too much attention from TSA) All that mattered was spending those last few moments with the man I loved.
I had to laugh! Ordinarily I would have chosen a much cuter outfit to say good bye in and planned the hair accordingly. The problem was, none of that mattered enough that day. What mattered was that we simply wanted to hold onto each other a bit longer. So what if we looked a bit geriatric in the wardrobe department.
I snapped this picture to remind myself that love truly is blind. I can wear granny socks with sandals (and my hubby too) without even noticing. I’ve got bigger things on my mind! True love is forgetting how things appear and allowing yourself to be consumed with another person’s need. I love this man, granny socks and all!
I can’t say we have had any “perfect” days in our marriage. Since the granny sock episode we have had many trials. We endured not only the deployment but years of manic work hours after the homecoming. Oddly enough, the hardest part about deployments isn’t the separation. (although that is excruciatingly tough at times) The hardest part is learning to live together again when you both have become completely different people. It’s like you marry a new person but you already have this huge history with them. Weird, I know.
Sometimes I get angry at Iraq for what it stole from us. We were at the top of our marriage game right before the official announcement came. Then we were tossed into the whirlwind of it all and bought a new house to boot. I had to choke down the panic every day. Push down the nausea like riding a wave until I could safely smile into the three little faces looking up at me. They needed me – and I needed them. We were bound together in this strange little boat that we had to sail. People could watch us float along and wave but nobody really understood the journey because they weren’t in the boat.
I get angry at how much that year stole from us. But I am truly learning to see the good. Like how much stronger we are now because of that year. My kids are incredible. They are so much more stable than I was at their ages. If my husband had to go again they wouldn’t waste a moment whining. I remember the first training my husband had to go to after deployment. The kids were going crazy running around the house and gathering items. They insisted that we had to go to the store and pick up snacks and mail a care package to daddy. It was a 2 week training and I had to explain that 2 weeks is MUCH shorter than a year! They didn’t hesitate, they were ready for action!
I have found that I can endure. I can fight. I can hope for a better tomorrow. I can love this new man beside me and I can make peace with the person I have become. I wish I could say that I walked away from the experience a perfect woman but sadly that did not happen. Instead I gained life skills and I discovered people who were very supportive to our service members. I also found out that many could not understand my position so they were not comfortable talking about it. I had to be OK with that and know that they just weren’t going to be on my support list. I found that there was an “anti-support group” as well and I learned to avoid anyone who had a negative influence. I found that I could help others even in the midst of my trial because I had a story to share and I had time to lend an ear. I found that my God is faithful. When I woke up, each day I would put my husband’s safety in His hands. It was like the panic and anxiety that rolled through my chest evaporated as I spoke these simple words “Today, I’m going to trust you God”.