The Band-Aid Period

He survived a difficult 16-month deployment. We survived a 16-month deployment. The homecoming was my fairytale. During the month after his return we lived like rock stars. Limited work schedules, long nights at bars with friends, spending money left and right, and lots of lovin’.  June 5, 2007 and the month that followed will always be my ‘remember when…’ carefree days. Our relationship was better than ever and we viewed the deployment as one of the best experiences our lives could offer. We considered ourselves blessed. And lucky.

This is the point in time I like to refer to as the band-aid period before the deployment. We’re trying to spend quality time together but the demands of the job are causing Clay to work long hours and spend nights away from home. Part of us is wanting to hurry up and get the goodbyes over with and start the deployment already – the part that wants to rip off the band-aid with a quick swipe. The other part is wanting to stop time and just be for a little while – the part that wants to slowly pull back the band-aid.

Will we be as lucky this time around? I am hesitant to say this deployment will be easier but the mission is certainly less risky. I’m torn. I want Clay to have a mission with a purpose and make a difference in the more remote (i.e. dangerous) areas. I also want him safe on a major base in Afghanistan – rarely leaving ‘green zone’. We’ll see what happens. Ultimately, I want him to make the most of the situation he will find himself in after the New Year. I also want the same for me.

What will the homecoming be like? Will the transition be difficult, unlike last time? Will he fall back into the steps of fatherhood with ease? Will I be willing to co-parent again? Will he come home damaged? Will he come home? I try not to think about those answers and just concentrate on the aspects I can control during the upcoming year. Like my deployment goals. And giving Weston love. Lots of love.

Life is too short to wonder about the ‘what ifs’. Weston deserves a mother who is focused on him and able to provide a positive environment. Sure, I will cry and find myself in ‘woe is me’ moments. Who doesn’t?  But they will be few and far between. They have to be – for Weston’s sake. I recognize the deployment this time around will be different. Not worse. Not better. But different. I think I am okay with that.

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