Updated: Nov 5, 2020
I suck at running. As a kid my asthma was so bad that I didn't participate in many sports that required me to really run but boy did I have dreams of running. In these dreams I would be outside of my body watching every muscle contract, observing how even my toes would push off the ground - I could feel it!
Most of the dreams were in slow motion but what was never a part of the dreams was the struggle for air. I was never breathing in my dreams. Have you ever had to really gasp for air? They say the best description for those without asthma is like breathing in and out through a straw… now jump in a pool and swim with that straw.
That's what month number four of deployment has felt like in this family.
Glenn texted the other day and asked if I was ready for him to come home. My response…
“Ready??? Ready??? The water line is at my lips and my neck is bent at a 90-degree angle.”
I'm more than ready for Glenn to come home. I was never built for a long-distance relationship - ask my first EX husband. (lol, mind you there are 1000 reasons for that being an EX but that's another comedy waiting to be written). Wait, Jody - did you just say you weren't built for a long-distance relationship?
And yet your husband is in Africa???
What we have all learned this deployment is
#1 - Four months is too long. So cheers and hands up to all the soldiers, civilians and military who are out there for way longer!!!!! And thank GOD we do have our WHY or I would have probably boarded a Covid-infested plane and gone to pick up my Baby and dragged him home!
And #2. Practice Gratitude.
I see those eye-rolls!!! (Connie!!) I know we hear that all the time, be grateful. And I have been asked, “is it bull-shit?” or “does it really work?” Well, this time around we were grateful for Glenn having a job, period. And we reflected on all those impacted by the World Economy. We just paid off two credit cards in full, again, because of his job. We know we are blessed. When you need a life-line and practice gratitude - be Authentic. We are also thankful that his deployments are going down to 8 weeks out, 2-3 weeks home. This should be our new future pattern… so we could do one long stint, right?
Now here's the “dark side” too.
And it's not the curable - let's invite some girlfriends over or keep yourself busy kind of loneliness. It's not the “let's talk about it” and get over it. When Glenn is home I bury my life in him. I spend every possible moment I can touching him and loving on him and smelling his amazing, wonderful Glenn smell (except in the morning - I stay faaaaaaar away from that).
I do this like I am filling up my jar of sunshine, or to fit the above analogy… I'm breathing in as much Glenn as I can to keep me afloat. I'm just almost out of air… and I know what it feels like to not be able to breathe. Any longer and I’d be panicking…. 8 days to go.
Sometimes there is no way to “gratitude” your way through. You just have to honour where you are.
And the crazy thing is?
In this house, we are all so connected we have all been feeling the same thing even though we haven't been saying the same thing. My 9-year-old daughter’s moods have been that of a Disney Villain. And we fight off her Villian from taking over with more hugs, playing Daddy’s songs on Youtube and blasting them on the radio when they play in his truck as we drive to activities. She is texting him 1000x more, has a countdown on the calendar, verbal and now online of the day she “thinks” he is arriving (more on that later).
My son is applying early for the Bar. His argumentative skills are winning awards but when he is cross-examined by tickles and snuggles somehow he turns 8 again!!! I don't recommend trying that in a courtroom.
The hardest part being the wife of a deployed civilian though is…
I have the comforts of our home to add to my buoyancy. Glenn is debriefing a report on what it means to sift through a detonated roadside bomb and have body parts of his lost men in it. He is working 18 hour days right now, co-workers are just being able to be sent home from being isolated from family for months due to covid restrictions. Terrorism doesn’t stop.
He is breathing through a straw too.
I can feel it and he has to keep running in full gear with his men relying on him. And he’s amazing and is a Hero every day. He’ll hate that I wrote that. He’ll never admit that. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
So what now? Like many of you, 2020 is teaching me it's ok to be gentle with myself. I have dreams I want to crush, a speaking career I want to launch, a co-coaching adventure to start but how do you do that when you are breathing through a straw?
I’ll work on my plans a bit more, make sure my kids have their tunes lined up and their tickle monsters ready… because in 8 days our world will be right again. We will all be breathing just a little easier and if we can wait four months? The world can wait just a tad longer too… we are worth it. And so are you.