I never realize at the time how tense I am while he's deployed.
We still have fun when he's gone.
We work hard.
We play lots.
We have popcorn for dinner and watch movies.
Life goes on. Soccer games, dance classes, school work.
But, when he's gone, there's part of me that knows I'm in
charge and somehow that leaves me constantly alert.
I never let down my guard.
I don't notice the tension until I get the email or call.
Thursday I got the email.
The email that almost begins the countdown.
"I just flew my last sortie in Afghanistan.
I should be leaving here tomorrow night. Can't
wait to see you all. Coming home soon."
It's only been a couple months.
In some ways it seems like he's been gone a lot longer.
I'm not going to lie. Even a couple months feels like a sacrifice.
I read the email in the middle of a class and instantly I felt
a knot between my shoulders loosen a bit.
Suddenly, it became easier to breathe.
The beginning of my release of control.
I'm vague to the kids with the specific date he's giving me.
I find it's better for him to get a little closer before I tell them.
The delays can be weeks and so counting down is almost cruel.
Anything can happen in route home, but he's working his way this direction.
Through Qatar or Manas or Germany or Ireland...I don't know...but I know his final destination...HOME...I don't care how he gets here...
So the countdown almost begins...that is, if we did a countdown...
I'll wait until I get a call from his cell phone...
Military numbers have called me for the last couple months...
When the phone rings and his number appears, I'll know...
His phone has a special ring that I haven't heard for two months...
I'll know when I hear the phone, he's landed on the East Coast and he'll be home soon...
Then I'll tell the kids to get out the poster board and the markers--Daddy's coming home and we have some signs to make...
My role as mom and dad is coming to an end...
I can't wait to turn over the reins...
I could really, really use a nap...