It always seems to be a Soldier and his family's lot to not be together when those big events happen, those milestones that mean so much to each & every parent. Christmas, baby's first tooth, birthdays, anniversaries, baby's first steps and so many others. We don't ever really get used to it, not really. We adapt to the situation as it comes, but it doesn't stop it from being painful and sad as it happens. We pull out the camera and take lots of photos & if we have video cameras those get pulled out, too. With the modern technology these days, we have all kinds of ways to share these events with our loved ones where ever they maybe, but its never the same.
While my husband was deployed, I was spoiled and I got to talk to him far more often than I had anticipated. Not to mention email, webcam conversations and good old-fashioned love letters. I loved being able to talk to him and I never complained with the frequency. I was lucky and I know not all deployments will be that nice. Then we have AT, where it seems his Unit has this fantastic knack for picking the most remote locations in the continental US to go and then its two weeks of occasional phone calls. No way to send letters, I mean its two weeks, right, I'll survive.
Sometimes, like this time, I feel like I won't. Last year, I tried to talk him out of going. I was 32 weeks pregnant when he left and I had one of those womens' intuition moments, I didn't think it was a good idea for him to leave me with our toddler and that far pregnant. Well, he was out in the middle of nowhere and I went into premature labor. I ended up having an emergency c-section and he wasn't there.
I honestly never thought that would be me, that would be us. You think about it in terms of other people. That it happens to other soldiers' wives, but then if you really think about the reality of it, it could be any of us. Because at any given time our spouses could be called away and we could be pregnant, sick, who knows what else could be going on in our lives. Who knows what events will take place while their gone and we have to 'soldier up' and deal with it. I hate that.
Would you believe that I served 3 years in the Reserves myself? I'm currently sitting in IRR, but that's beside the point. I know some of this from both sides and its rough both ways.
My daughter's first birthday is a week from tomorrow and today my she took her first steps. It was so amazing, I mean I've been expecting it for the last couple months and then it suddenly happens. I was thrilled, but the harsh reality is Christopher missed it. He was here last year when our son took his first steps on Father's Day, two days after our daughter was born. But this time he missed it.
When I told him on phone, he started to cry. This killed me. It was so heart wrenching. I think some of it was, we'd been arguing over the phone, which I know never goes well. Especially when you're hundreds of miles apart and can't easily fix things. So, emotions were already running high, luckily we were patching things up, but I think it hit him hard because he'd missed so much. At least he feels like he has. He's missed her birth and now her first steps. His civilian job requires screwy hours that allow little time with us and I think its all starting to be overwhelming. He feels he's missing out on his kids growing up.
Its sad that we have to roll with the punches so often and that we've all come to expect the unexpected. That we do what we must, when we must. Sometimes I feel like its unfair, but hey I guess that's life for you. I just really hated hearing the sadness in his voice, the tears. I hate that and I hate knowing that it probably won't be the last time he'll miss out on something because he's at AT or deployed.
This is our world. This is our life. Although I know we would all love for them to never miss a single moment, we also know that its a sacrifice we all make for love, for our country, for freedom. We may not always like it, we may not always understand completely the whys, but we'll do it. We'll find the strength, because they need to know we'll be ok. And we will. We will.
Here is a video of my daughter walking. (Video quality isn't great, its off of my cellphone, but I have to brag)
The Misadventures of An Army Momma With Two Under 2