Our first deployment flew by. Monster was only 2.5 months old when Radar left, and I wasn’t as deep into crafting as I am now, and I have no idea what I did for the 6 months that he was gone, but man, did that time go fast! This deployment is the opposite – I feel like time should be sifting through my fingers, but it is DRAGGING, despite being constantly busy with the two kids and travel all over.
Luckily for us, today marks the midpoint of deployment, so we are officially over the hump! Those of you who are military know what this means – a reason to celebrate, because we are halfway to seeing our loved ones again! (For our squadron, this is actually only an approximation, since they don’t all leave and return at the same time and we don’t actually know their homecoming date yet)
Today is also my 28th birthday, and it makes me reflect on what Radar is missing during this 7-month deployment. Of course, we were heartbroken, along with the rest of the squadron, when the word came out last year that they were extending deployments from 6 to 7 months, which pushed our leaving date back (yay!) but guaranteed that they would be gone for both Thanksgiving and Christmas (boo!). But it’s not just those big holidays that he’s missing. Peach’s first birthday was in August, our anniversary is in November, and Radar’s birthday is just before Christmas. Because our year is so back-loaded with family events, the only thing Radar ISN’T missing was Monster’s birthday!
(I have to pause here to show off what Radar gave me for my birthday. I absolutely LOVE it!!)
I don’t mind celebrating birthdays and anniversaries alone, but it just highlights all the milestones and fun family events that he isn’t here for. I am not complaining at all – I love our military life and I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. But I can’t even imagine what it’s like for Radar, having his life at home essentially on pause while he goes and defends the freedoms we take for granted. And I know that we have it good. If he were in a different branch, or flying a different aircraft, or even in a different squadron, we wouldn’t have all the luxuries we enjoy while he’s gone, like constant email and the ability to Skype pretty regularly. But even with modern conveniences, he will never get these 7 months back. The best I can do is take lots of pictures (and send them in care packages!) and hug and kiss the kids enough for both Mommy and Daddy.
One thing I am looking forward to in the second half of deployment, though, is moving in January. Radar’s orders are up about 2 weeks after he gets home, and I don’t want to spend the first month that he’s home in total chaos, so I’m planning to move right after the holidays to our new duty station in Pensacola! We are really excited to be going there; it was our first choice. And while some may think I’m crazy, voluntarily moving alone with 2 kids, I’m really excited to have our house pretty and settled before Radar comes home. I plan to paint (something he will do, but I’ll have to listen to him complain about it the whole time), set up my new craft room (which hopefully will not also double as a guest room in our new house), and get us all comfy before he comes back to our new home. It’s sort of become a running joke in our house – last deployment, I bought a car (without him knowing)… this time I’m buying a house, so he’s glad he doesn’t have a 3rd deployment this tour because I’d probably use my power of attorney to buy a small country!
So here’s to loving the kids enough for both of us. Here’s to this crazy military life that we love. Here’s to working hard while he’s gone so we can enjoy our lives together when he’s home. And here’s to being Over the Hump!