It feels like you snuck up on us. I never really expected this day to come--it always seemed so far off, distant in the future.
But at 3am this morning, the truth was told and I had to leave the man that I love at the airport.
It was harder than I thought, considering he gets to come home for a couple of days before he leaves for his deployment location. My guess is that the combination of the stress, lack of sleep and overall emotion got the best of me. When the alarm went off at 3, I was up, helping him finalize packing, getting things together. It was just what needed to be done, and in that moment, I forgot that he was really leaving.
Then we got in the truck.
We arrived at the squadron to meet the rest of the deploying group. It was dark and cold (it's snowing right now, for perspective) but we were outside around the bus. The commander gave his briefing to the airmen and I was able to witness a young man receive his senior airman stripe "under the wire", or before he was scheduled to receive it. That was a very cool moment. He was in shock, and asked the commander a couple of times if he was "truly serious". Our commander is wonderful, and a real man of integrity--which a lot of the guys in this particular squadron need.
The commander then went on to explain that because that young man stepped up and volunteered to lead that morning, that he showed he was ready for that promotion. It was a wonderful moment, and a great reminder of the quality men and women who serve in our armed forces.
My husband and I rode to the airport together. We were fortunate to be able to do so since he was taking a different flight. It was quiet....partially because we were exhausted, and partially because I dont think we really knew what to say at that moment.
It was a stressful morning. I watched my husband board that plane, so proud in his uniform, and even though I was crying, I was incredibly proud to be his wife (I always am). Those last hugs and kisses were too short....but he has a job to do and so do I.
Driving home was the hardest part. I don't like driving large vehicles, but was driving his pickup truck on the interstate. The car ride was quiet, even at 9am the roads were empty. It felt like me and me alone....I kept thinking about whether his plane had taken off yet, whether he was able to fall asleep like he said he would. How much I already missed him.
When I got home, puppy looked at me as if to say, "Mommy, where's daddy? He always lets me out in the morning. Why are you doing it?" I wish I could explain to her that it's just us girls for a while.
So here it begins. The next seven months. I can do this, not without tears, but I can do this.
The countdown has begun, deployment. Are you ready?
The Faithful Wife