I knew this time was coming, I just didn’t know it would be so soon.
It’s the middle-of-deployment slump. I’ve been here before; it happens every time. It’s just more encouraging when it comes later on. It’s when you realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen your spouse, but you realize how long it is until you’ll see them again. It’s when you realize you are used to an empty bed, and you instantly hate that you’re used to it. It’s when you realize you have completely established your own routine, without a partner, and you know how much longer that routine has to last.
It’s when you ask yourself why you’re doing it at all.
Deployments are a lot like races: The beginning is when you are motivated, you are positive, and you are just ready to get going and kick this deployment in the butt. The end is when you are excited, rejuvenated, and you are determined to “finish strong”. But in the middle it just all wears on you. The burden seems so heavy. The end is nowhere in sight. The initial push of support has started to wear off, though you know if you just had the courage to reach out for help someone would be there in an instant. But wasn’t it easier when they were always there – without asking, without being told, and maybe without you wanting them anyway?
I know all the “tips and tricks”. And they do help, they really do. But the middle needs something more. The middle needs a renewed sense of value for the purpose. I am doing this because my marriage is worth it. I am doing this because the man I’m waiting for is more incredible than any other man I could have, even if I’d have the other man all the time. I’m doing this because it’s so small in comparison to what he is sacrificing. I’m doing this because we are in it together – for better or for worse. And I wouldn’t know how great “better” is if I didn’t have a small taste of “worse” to compare it to.
So here’s to the middle. The nitty gritty. The part of the race when we find out who is in it to win it and who doesn’t have what it takes. I know I do, I just have to bite through the pain and do it.