Friday, October 18, 2013

I miss normal...

I miss normal.  You know the day to day, crazy – that kind of normal.  They days when the hours just slip away because you are so caught up in the routine of work/school/ taking care of the kids and stealing a few minutes to spend with your spouse before you both collapse in bed from the exhaustion of the day, only to get up 10 minutes later and start the whole process over again.  My normal has been absent for exactly 38 days.  That is the last time I held his hand.  That is the last time my boys got to wrap their arms around their dad and feel his heart beat against them as they hugged him good-bye.  They will get to hug him again, but not for many months.  This is the life of a military family.  This is our normal.

We have been a Marine Corps family for 15 years.  It has been a life full of laughter, tears, exhaustion, fun, frustration, heartbreak, and love.  I wouldn’t change this life for us – it’s been amazing.  I just wish that our new routine wasn’t so normal.  Every military family knows this feeling.  You are constantly waiting.  Waiting for your loved one to leave, waiting for them to return.  Watching your neighbor hang a sign that is painted with "Welcome Home" on their front porch while the family across the street ties a crisp yellow ribbon on their mailbox.  You have Sunday dinner with your best friend and her children so you feel a sense of togetherness.  And while your heart is breaking for each other, at the same time you are so thankful that your heroes are fighting in the sandbox together.  Their triumphs are yours to celebrate, and your failures are theirs as well.

This time is different for us.  We have never lived off base when he has deployed until now.   We have always been blessed to be surrounded by constant support because every person that you come in contact with knows exactly what it feels like to be in your shoes.  This time we don’t have that.  Living off base has its perks.  Our neighbors may recognize the definition of the yellow ribbon tied to our tree; they will never truly understand the meaning unless they have lived through this normal. 

So here I sit with my near death laptop making a horrible sound, snuggled on my husband’s side of the bed because the 85-pound dog beat me to my pillow with her stuffed animals comforting her from our new, yet temporary normal.  We will keep counting down the days to crazy.  The times where we aren’t refreshing the email screen in hopes that he had a minute to say hello, or have our heart skip a beat when the telephone rings and we are praying that his voice is on the other end of the line for the first time in weeks.   We long for the days when we want to pull our hair out and scream because the hours have yet again slipped away and the to-do list grew by 20 more items.   

Normal…not even a little bit overrated.