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I can’t say I’ve missed you. This is our second meeting but you seem so different. The four years that have passed from the beginning of our first meeting have been so much more than I expected.
The first time around I was a newlywed with no children. You made some things more challenging, but overall I didn’t think you were that bad. I felt fairly confident that I could handle meeting you again when the time came. However I was blissfully unaware of how things would change before you appeared again.
Reintegration was also relatively simple. My husband and I had never lived together before so there was no “normal” for us to get back to. We were just learning to live together like any married couple has to. The only difference was that we’d already been married over a year before we had to start that process.
This time I’m not a newlywed. I got used to and enjoyed time spent with my husband. I now know what it’s like to wake up beside him in the morning and to fall asleep beside him at night. That made it harder on me for you to take him again. I know what I’m missing.
It’s also not just us anymore. Shortly after our first meeting my husband and I conceived a beautiful baby girl. She’s now a feisty toddler that is constantly asking for and talking about her daddy. She’s not old enough to know or understand you but she knows her daddy is missing. She can’t put it into words but I know she feels the void. Thankfully she has handled you much better than I could have ever hoped, but it still saddens me to see that pain in her eyes when I tell her yet again that daddy isn’t here.
This time you showed up just weeks before I was to give birth again. Because of you I faced labor and delivery and welcomed a second beautiful baby girl into the world with my husband on the other side of the world. Our second precious daughter has only seen her daddy through a computer screen. She’ll be roughly ten months old before she gets to meet this daddy person big sister talks about face to face.
These two special blessings have made your weight much heavier to bear. I know I chose a life where I knew we would occasionally meet but our sweet daughters didn’t. They are making such great sacrifices for our country without being given a choice. They’re still far to young to understand. It’s hard to know how having children will change your life until they’re here.
I’ve also faced more challenges this time around. Our family was hit full force with multiple medical issues and doctors visits and that journey is not completely resolved. Our little baby may have to undergo surgery before her daddy’s return and that terrifies me. Our toddler has inherited her daddy’s allergies which means daily medication and avoidance. The lack of sleep that comes to being on my own with two small children is wearing me out.
So here I sit trying to adapt to the chaos of having a toddler and a newborn. A special kind of chaos that you’ve made feel more overwhelming than I anticipated. You brought with you a unique set of challenges, tests and new worries that I was not prepared for. You make me worry how our girls will handle reintegration and their daddy coming home. You make me worry about any future appearances in a way I didn’t last time. You have taught me that no two of you are the same. You have reawakened in me a respect and appreciation for my husband that I was taking for granted. And you have forced me to find a strength I didn’t know I had.
We’re still climbing up hill toward your halfway mark. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what other challenges you have in store for the coming months. You’ve already done so well to humble me but I’m sure you have other lessons to teach and challenges to give. All I ask is for you to be kind to my girls. Let me carry their share of your weight. I beg of you, don’t make them doubt their daddy’s love because he loves them more than any other man in this world ever could or will.
A hopeful Army Wife
Danielle is a Christian stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls and an Army Reserve wife of four and a half years to her husband Jesse. She’s been through one deployment and currently going through her second deployment. She’s passionate about birth and parenting and recently experienced her first home birth after a less than ideal hospital birth. She occasionally blogs at www.hopefulpessimistlife.blogspot.com.