Monday, February 24, 2014

Hitting the Wall

How Howie is counting down the days...
Today marks Day 200 of our deployment. Two. Hundred. 

That's 200 days since the last time we were all together in one place. 200 days since I held my husband's hand, 200 days since he hugged our sweet baby. 200 days.

The truth is, it has gone by quicker than I imagined that it would. But I guess that should come as no surprise to anyone who knows how busy the past few months have been for me.  Busy With Purpose has certainly been helping me stay sane.

But on the other hand, there have been heartbreaking moments along the way, and they seem to be increasing in frequency the further we get away from the last time we were together.

In some ways we are lucky. It's an odd thing to say about being a geobach family, but having a little person already used to technology as a primary communication tool with his father has been a huge blessing. I got by quite a bit longer than many of my friends before Howie really started missing his Daddy. 

But we are definitely there now. My sweet boy is counting down the days to his birthday, not because he's excited about his birthday, but because he knows his birthday means Daddy is coming home soon. More than once, we've asked him what he wants for his birthday, and all he ever says is "Daddy at my party." It's gut-wrenching to have to explain impossibility to a three-year-old.

One especially bad day last week, a friend reminded me that this is around the time when people usually hit the wall in deployments. That may be. But honestly, I feel like I've hit that wall over and over again. It feels like maybe I'm the ball in a racquetball game--sometimes flying, sometimes slamming into a hard surface at break-neck speeds.

Howie calling Daddy on the Arboretum Tree Phone
It's not that these 200 days have been all bad. In fact, some of them have been downright amazing! It's just that there's a piece missing; so the highs aren't as high as they could be, and the lows are way lower than they otherwise would be. It's been a lot to adjust to for me, and for Howie.

200 days. That means now we are on the downward slope, with more days behind us than in front. Some days that's a consolation, and some days it just makes me profoundly sad about how much has happened in those 200 days without Jake. 

Mostly, I'm just trying hard to focus on the now. Thinking too far ahead, getting really excited, just makes the days feel slower. I have a feeling, though, that being rational with myself is going to get a lot harder as the day gets closer when Jake will be home.  I can see school girl giddiness on the horizon already. So it's a really good thing I have so much to keep me busy, or I'd probably obsess over that horizon constantly.

At night before bed, Howie snuggles up with me and tells me that  when Jake comes home "I'm going to give Daddy all the kisses, Mommy!"  I squeeze him tight, kiss him on the head, and think to myself "Not if I get there first!"

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