Tag Archives: deployed

All we need are our arms and hands and lips

15 Sep

Usually when I feel this level of un-rest it’s not in expectation of anything real. I’ll get antsy to the point of paralysis, and my circulation will reduce to whatever is necessary to keep me alive. That’s what it’s like right now; my extremities are tingling, and all I want to do is eat Cheese Its and play Angry Birds. But I have a pretty extensive to-do list. Because this time — this restlessness — is not just for philosophical dilemmas. This time, it’s for a reason.

My dear HD is boarding a plane soon — a couple hours soon — or maybe a helicopter. I’m not sure how the first leg of his journey will begin. His ruck is packed and I doubt he’ll sleep at all. It’s mid-afternoon for me, but his flight takes off at midnight his time. He’ll hop from one country to another, and after about five days he’ll be with me.

I’m paralyzed with anticipation, despite how long my list is of things I want to do to prepare for him. Nothing will be enough. Everything will be wasted, too, though. Nothing is necessary. All we need are our arms and hands and lips.

My mind is dizzy. I’ve gotten quite comfortable with this single life. Not every day is hell, like it once was. Now he’ll be amongst us again. His voice in the air, his smell on my sheets, his touch on my skin. All this but for only a short time.

This really, truly is so much like being pregnant. I feel like I did when my labor was in the early stages. A rush of panic to prepare the last-minute, finishing touches, but a light-headedness that sends me reeling in circles any time I try to stand up.

I’m glad I’m not alone with just the Young G. My mother-in-law is here and was married to an officer for over 30 years (still married, no longer active duty). She knows, if anyone knows.



10 Sep

I like to view this year as an experiment.  I’m doing trials on separation, travel, motherhood, single-motherhood, long-distance love, living with family, packing a car, and lonesomeness.  Most of these were predictable from the first time I learned we would face this deployment (Valentine’s day, 2010).  I was even able to anticipate some of the side-effects.  For instance, I realized that I would learn to live “normally” without my husband; I would get used to him being gone, essentially.  I knew I would become homesick for my own territory.  I knew Young G would develop cognitively with an awareness that we travel often and live without Daddy.

One of the side effects of this year has begun to intrigue me, because I never expected it: paranoia. Continue reading

No Two Hours Alike

24 Jun

I’m wearing headphones right now, listening to Van Morrison sing “Tupelo Honey”. It’s a little after nine o’clock tonight, and I’m hoping to go to sleep soon. The song is repeating for the first time now. Tomorrow when I get up I’ll set up a yard sale for my mother and hope to successfully get strangers to haul off the crap that has clogged her garage for seven years. Since coming to live here in April I’ve been attempting to make her home a better place, by using my youthful energy and my need to expend it.

Continue reading

Love Letters!

23 May

Who gets love letters anymore?  I suppose those of you married to some ineffectual poet who pens you a couplet in lieu of repairing broken hinges may get a floral litany of prose at least quarterly, but those of us married to left-brainers are usually lucky to get pre-written sentiments dedicated to us.  My husband’s love language is seldom language at all.  For instance, my husband never eats or drinks anything without offering me some or asking if he can get me something.

So I repeat, who gets love letters anymore?
This is the first blessing I can count this year: seeing my husband’s love for me in pen-and-ink.  A tactile, permanent record.  Our love immortalized.

Also, by exercising the “I love you” muscles to find new ways of saying it, I’m watching a progression of love-letter strength.  Writing begets writing.

First I read through each of his letters, of course, one-by-one as I received them.  Actually, the first read was rather quick, almost a scan, like I was confirming it contained nothing unexpected.  They have all been without surprises, though, so after an hour or two I return to the letter and read it with a smile.

Now I read them through again, sometimes at night before going to sleep.  That love which they’re full of is such familiar love.  I can hear his voice, and see his face as I read the words.  I can feel his warmth, as if cuddling me and whispering these thoughts.  Even more, though, I know the heart that all the words are coming from.  Suddenly, the simplest sentence brings me nearer to him.

Now I look closer, past the words.  I study his pen strokes, and handwriting.  He has some of the most indistinguishable “r”s I’ve ever seen!  There are no edits, or words scratched out.  He thought about each sentence before writing it.  I watch his thoughts progress, starting with external love, like the smell of my hair, and ending with soul-deep love, like our purpose together as a family.

I know these letters will become soft and worn from all the re-reading.   Folding and unfolding.  Eventually the feeling of the very paper in my hands will be comforting.  Our time together – the letters and mine – will form a bond between us, so that I develop affection for the physical letters themselves.   My letters will become like old friends, and I will have memories of all the times they have brought me peace and comfort.  They’ll be my pieces of Him, in the same way I lovingly read the Scripture.

There aren’t many blessings of Love in War, but as this distance strips away the foolish selfishness we get caught up in, I see there are a few.  I knew our love was iron-clad from the beginning, but there is great blessing in having a love grow stronger.

Smart, phone

15 May

I can’t decide if I love having an iPhone (at long last) or hate it.  The good is… obvious.  There are fun apps, informative ones, and handy ones, too.  The bad is that sometimes I can’t connect and have this burden of frustration because of it.  Previously I was unburdened whenever I was away from my computer.  On the good side, though, I love that I don’t have to take the time to sit down at my computer to discover little bits of information, like before.  Instead my curiosity about — say — the Braves’ score, is appeased quickly and without me leaving my son’s side.  But the phone is always on me, so perhaps there are times I should be — say — feeding my kid, and instead I’m combing FaceBook statuses while he stuffs rice down his pants.  I’ve been asleep, and woken up to reach for my phone because I hear it’s my turn in Words with Friends.

I found out about the “death grip“, as they call it.  Ever heard of it?  (Who dubs such names?) Basically the antenna on my phone is within the casing itself, and if I cup it in my left hand (as we righties are wont to do) it covers the antenna and I drop a call.  This is in the category of “new problem” and therefore “shit I don’t need”.  Do you know what I deal with every day?  My brain is killing me.  My heart is cooking my brain.  I am weary.  Let me talk without getting dropped.  For the love of all that is holy, do *not* let my calls get dropped because of the position of my hand!

I feel the tension of adoring this sleek, black, compact, magical device and despising the new trouble is has brought upon me.

Oldest story ever told, though, right? Be careful what you wish for, I guess.  Lovers, children, fame, fortune.  All bearing their abundant gifts and a new set of worries.  People live alone in austere trailers on the edge of society eating food from cans just to avoid new sets of worries.  I don’t relate to them.

Would you like to know how I view the onset of a “new set of worries”? Of course you would.  So, maybe I’ll write about it tomorrow.

For now, though, the phone serves the duty of being my constant companion.  Like all other spouses of deployed soldiers, I never turn it off, and never leave it far from me.  If I miss my husband’s call, then I’ve missed my opportunity, because there is no way for me to ever call him!  Additionally, I eagerly anticipate hi his blog entries, Facebook activity, and emails.  On some small scale I am relating to the parable of the man in hell begging for a drop of water to be placed on his tongue.

So, today (day #35) I will treasure the novelty and utility of this excellent device, and by the time a year has passed, I’ll be quite ready to dispose of it entirely and return to only a Moleskine notebook!

Day four

14 Apr

Why did I choose to talk about paint? He had 6 minutes on the phone card and I talked about paint. In the last twenty-four hours he’s traveled a little closer to his destination, and all day I’ve wondered where he was and what he was doing. Then, when I finally have six minutes to hear the voice of my dear HD, I spend two-and-a-half of them complaining about the frustrations of painting.

Today is day four of my life without HD. For the next year he will work to fortify the dental health of our soldiers engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom. I’ve always known this was his job, and that his heart needed to fulfill this duty. I’ve always known it means a year apart. But I also know some day everyone I know will die; I’m neither happy about nor prepared for either.

Three-hundred and sixty-one days to go.