So we threw away the atlases, all the heavy ones they handed us [...]
but we found a couple passages that were ours.
-Joe Pug, "Ours"
I didn't know how to do it. And really, neither did you. This time was different. I suppose they all are.
You were gone like this before, in a dangerous place that was mentioned on the news every night. I was alone in a hot apartment that summer, waiting for you to come back, relying on infrequent emails to assure me that you were still alive. This time, you were still far, but in a state I've seen before, a place with less dessert and guns, and more stoplights and Waffle Houses. It was comforting that you weren't in harm's way. And yet, with our daughter here, another baby coming in June, and figuring things out on my own, it was just as hard at times. I guess I didn't expect that.
Most days, I could talk myself into the idea that you were just at work for a while, and most nights I spent drowning in my homework. But there were some days when the distractions were too few or the obstacles were too many, and I cried, feeling like these months would never end.
But thank you, God, and even thank you, Army. They'll be ending soon. We've nearly made it now. I made it because of the family and friends who carried me to this point, few in number but irreplaceable, the ones who remembered and cared and helped when others didn't. I'm not sure how you made it- maybe you were really busy, or maybe your heart is tougher than mine.
I wouldn't have thought that four months apart would be much of a challenge. Many people are separated much longer. Yet I entered them with resistance, hoping our marriage could somehow do some much needed healing despite the long distance. It didn't seem likely. At the end of this time apart, though, I can say that it's been a long, uphill battle at times, but absence really has made our hearts fonder. I missed you, and the feeling wasn't taken lightly. I was grateful to miss you, and feel those emotions I felt at the very beginning of us, sitting on your mom's front porch and drinking in the way your arms felt around me.
During this time, you passed that PFT and even got promoted, switching old patches for new ones. I got through another semester of college, raised Millie, and began getting ready for this baby on the way. We didn't do it on our own, but we did it. I'm really proud of us, you know?
So come home. Be prepared for your daughter to hug your legs the second you walk in the door. Be ready to feel kicks from a baby who is anxious to meet you. And be awake long enough, after that twelve hour drive, for a kiss that tops any wedding day- even ours.