In less than six weeks my husband, Punky’s father, will be leaving us for one year to serve on a remote tour in the desert. We are a proud Air Force military family and have been for 23 years. A remote tour was always a possibility; he knew it and I knew it. How we managed to ‘dodge the bullet’ as long as we did is unexplainable, really. Nonetheless, we did and we are so close to the ‘finish line’ that I don’t think either of us thought it was a possibility any longer; or at least we thought is was only a remote possibility – see what I did there?
That remote possibility is now a literal remote and we are preparing for living a year apart. I do not want to whine about this. I don’t even want to sound like I’m whining about it. It’s part of the military life and we will suck it up and get through. But you know what, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. I used to think about the military wives who dealt with constant long-term, or frequent, deployments frequently and feel deeply for them and their situation. Now, I’m going to be one of them – sort of. This is the longest deployment we’ve ever faced, it is coming at the end of his career time, and he’ll be in a ‘relatively’ safe location doing a ‘relatively’ safe job. Other wives can’t say that and that’s why I *know* I’m not one of them in all the ways I could have been. Still, I’m going to be a single-parent for a year and my guy, my life-mate, my rock, will be gone.
I haven’t talked about it all that much and I’ve hardly mentioned it on public forums such as my facebook or this blog, mostly because I was afraid of the emotions it might raise up in me and that I’d end up looking like a wimp. He needs to know that we’ll be fine. He needs to believe that I can handle whatever comes my way while he’s gone. I know that. Breaking down doesn’t make one weak though; laying down and giving up does. I will not lie down and I certainly won’t give up, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t break down now and again. And I will probably blog about it some through the coming year, hence my writing this post: giving the background of the situation, if you will.
Punky has a very close relationship with her father. She spends the majority of the day with me and we are very close. But I’m the guarantee. Daddy, who has deployed for 3 or 4 months at a time each year her whole life, isn’t. His absence, both during deployments and just during the day while he works, is something she feels. She loves it when he takes leave and is with us all the time. She loves the weekends because Daddy is home. They have their own things they do, their own relationship. They bike ride, fish, shoot nerf guns, wrestle, play games, work in the yard, and go on ‘Daddy-Daughter’ dates to dinner and a movie. He is the one she cuddles up with to watch a movie or TV. My husband loves Punky more than he likes to breathe – the way all girls deserve to have their fathers love them. Better than that, he shows it. He spends time with her, answers her questions, pursues her interests, and just genuinely enjoys her company. All that will be missing from her life for an entire year.
It’s an important year too, I fear. She will be 11 ½ when he leaves and 12 ½ when he returns. BIG changes occur during that period of a young girl’s life. He will leave behind his still little girl and return to a young woman in many ways. That alone breaks my freakin’ heart. To know that the last real year of her being a young girl he will miss has tears streaming down my face. I know my husband’s heart aches over having to leave her to grow up for a year without his daily presence.
There’s nothing more we can do more than just get through it as best we all can. I will be missing my rock, Punky will be missing her best guy, and he will be missing the two people who mean more to him than any other people on the planet.
May the Divine Creator keep us all safe, healthy, and sane until we are reunited.