You know, I've often heard it said of military men and women, "You signed up for this..."
One can NEVER really understand what he or she is 'in for' until one is actually walking in those shoes. Literally.
I know I chose to marry a man who chose to make the United States Marine Corps his career.
I know I chose to support him in whatever that career choice demanded.
I knew it was not going to be an easy thing to do, seeing as it's a very unique calling.
I knew I loved him, so it didn't matter.
But I had no idea how my heart would be pulled and tugged and full of pride and fear all at the same time.
No one does.
You can casually tell someone that your husband will be gone for eight months or so, and they will usually give the perfunctory, "Thanks for his service and your sacrifice," and you respond with, "Yes, it will be hard, but we can do it," and not even give it a second thought in this life of a military wife and mother.
But until you live it? You have no idea, and you SURE as heck didn't know what you were in for when you "signed up for it..."
Which is not to say that I am not very proud to be a military spouse, or extremely proud of my husband's dedication and courage.
Or that I am not equipped to handle this deployment...it's certainly not my first, and though none have been something I'd ask for, I've held my own.
I've never done a year.
I've never done a year with a child.
When John and I got married, there is no way we would have ever guessed where our lives would take us...how our hearts would have grown larger than we ever imagined or how they could be broken into a million pieces.
How they could be renewed.
We had no idea that being separated from each other would be hard, but separated from our children?
The hardest things we'll ever do.
My heart hurts so much for John. It hurts for Luke, no doubt, as he has just fallen in love with Daddy these last few weeks of holidays and leave time together. He will miss Daddy more than I expect I can imagine.
He'll be ok, though. He's young, and not entirely cognizant of what's really going on.
How Daddy is at work in a very dangerous place for a very long time and Mommy prays not only for Daddy's quick return, but more for his safety no matter what.
He'll have his moments, but for the most part, he won't miss John as much as John will miss him.
John loves that child with a love I'm often surprised by. A fierce and protective love, yet a love that is proud and playful and whimsical and awe-striking. John learned when Matthew died that men cry. Strong men cry. He's not ashamed to tear up and there is no doubt that separation from Luke will at times bring him to tears over the course of this year.
I'll find things to do. I've decided my word for the year is OPPORTUNITY. Luke and I will take advantage of the opportunities that this year can bring. Instead of focusing on what we lose this year (which is the hardest thing for me), I'm going to focus on the opportunity a year can bring.
John will have it much tougher. Working hard, in a hard-to-work place, and distanced from his loves.
Please pray for him. Pray for us, as we always appreciate prayers, but more, please pray for him. Pray for his heart to be comforted by any way we can send a little piece of home to him and pray for this year to be one of opportunity and renewal.
Mostly, pray for his safety. Pray he comes home safely, as well as all who leave with him.
Thank you for your prayers and your support. We are grateful.