Last time my husband deployed we were so lucky. He came home six months earlier than anticipated.
I had about a week’s notice to get ready — which included a hair appointment, buying a new dress and purchasing a ridiculous penguin balloon so he could pick me out of the hundreds of other family members on Cooper Field. Not to mention, removing all of my stuff from his side of the bathroom, and bedroom, and well, it’s amazing how quickly you can take over an entire house as your own.
It was hectic, but I had no idea how much better this was.
This time around with deployment, we are not lucky, or unlucky for that matter. The deployment is playing out to be exactly what we prepared for — nine months.
And so far, it hasn’t been so bad. I just accepted he’s not home, and adopted our latest style of communication. I allowed my hair products and skin creams to take over his side of the bathroom guilt-free. The TV remote, a book and my laptop usually spend the night on his side of the bed.
But now a countdown is forming in my head.
I’ve tried to stop it, but every time I hear someone mention the month of March in passing, I get a fuzzy feeling all over, and think, “My husband comes home in March.”
I know my world will be uprooted and altered in the best way possible, but watching the time slowly creep by is completely 100 percent messing with my head.
It was so much easier to get through deployment when I knew there was more time left than completed. I could push it off to the distance and focus on now.
But his return is creeping into now ever so steadily. There was no counting down last time. It was sudden and exciting. This is more like a “Lord of the Rings” movie, where it fades to black, and you think its over. But then it somehow keeps going for another 45 minutes.
I try not to let myself do this. It would be much less stressful to just let March sneak up on me. I do this with other things, such as dentist’s appointments.
I never find myself thinking, “Only two more months until my next teeth cleaning!”
I only know it’s time because I get a phone call reminding me to show up the next day. But I guess I’m not really looking forward to that.
I am, however, very much looking forward to seeing my husband again. I can’t wait until I can see him in person instead of on a computer screen, hear him coming through the garage door, or get a call from him about dinner plans.
For months I haven’t let myself think about any of these wishes, but now that they are so close to reality, I can’t stop myself.
Maybe I’ll even start putting my hair dryer away.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at email@example.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.