Our second deployment has drawn to a close. Hubby has been home almost two months now and reintegration is in full swing. The newness didn't last long for my almost three year old. It's a con to being young. She is a bit fearful about either of us leaving her and is a bit more clingy than normal. I suspect that fear will take awhile to fade. Those ten months I so lovingly refer to as "our second deployment" or "our first deployment with children" presented challenges I could have never anticipated. There were highs and lows and a lot of opportunity for learning and growth. Let me share a bit...
If you remember, the deployment started when I was thirty-six weeks pregnant. The looks of sympathy I received when people realized that my husband was leaving before I gave birth are still burned into my memory. I'm not sure when or if they'll fade. As it turns out, he landed in theater on my due date and I delivered exactly one week later. Giving birth without him wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I progressed so quickly that I didn't really get much time to miss him not being there. However the reality of his absence hit hard pretty soon after. The lack of sleep and pure chaos was hard to get used to. I found myself constantly recalling how helpful hubby was when our oldest was a baby and it made it impossible to truly enjoy my present. I spent most of those first weeks in tears or on the verge of tears. Looking back it's all pretty much a blur of diaper changes, baths, feedings and rocking little people to sleep. Somehow I survived though.
Then came Thanksgiving. It was the first time we'd been separated for the holidays. That holiday anyway. It was also the first time I was completely on my own with the girls. My dad traveled to visit family for the week leaving me with a two year and and a one month old and the chickens and the dog. Again I powered through.
Right after Thanksgiving little Zoe (only six weeks old at the time) was hospitalized for RSV and bronchiolitis. We went to the doctor that Friday and was transferred via ambulance to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. We were admitted and stayed until Monday morning. Emberlynn stayed with us in the hospital and I'm beyond thankful that a good friend of mine spent every night with us. It's moments like that when you are reminded that you cannot do everything on your own and I'm so thankful I didn't have to.
Then came Christmas. Christmas hit me a bit harder than I expected. I definitely had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. Thankfully the girls had a great time and the holiday season was smooth overall.
New Years was probably the hardest. Jesse and I have a tradition of kissing right at midnight but this year it was obviously not an option. I was so sad. However I knew that the new year would mean I was that much closer to having him home.
Then just after New Years, Jesse's grandmother passed away. It wasn't completely unexpected, her health had been failing for awhile but it was still hard to come to terms that Jesse would miss the funeral and not be able to be with his family during such a trying time.
The rest of he deployment was consumed by the ebb and flow of everyday life. We struggled to figure out why Emberlynn was sick and getting her well. It turned out to be an allergy to dust mites. Zoe developed a cyst in her eyebrow that was monitored and then ruptured and has now returned. Jesse also missed Valentine's Day, Easter, Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Another big event my husband missed was us moving out of my father's house and into an apartment. Moving with two small children and no husband...say it with me...ADVENTURE. Although with the help of some wonderful friends it wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated. We're still unpacking and settling but it was so nice to be in our own space when he came home.
Military life is characterized by the milestones and big events the service member misses and I can say my husband has missed just about every big event at least once in our almost eight years and two deployments. However for now we are working on getting back into the civilian bump and grind.