I started the last post yesterday morning. I ended the post after C had gone to sleep. I started it not having a clue how true it was going to become and how quickly. I posted it understanding how very real it was.
I was feeling stronger yesterday.
C is leaving for a month for a job that has nothing to do with his upcoming deployment because someone told him to. And for whatever reason - when I told my friend - it hit me how sad I am about it. He is going to miss Eli's birthday. He missed his birthday last year. He will miss his birthday next year.
I am frustrated because this isn't anything that is going to prepare him or his men for what they are about to face - as far as my not-always-informed-mind can tell. This isn't something that his men are going with him for. When it is something that will better prepare those around him, that he is responsible for, it is easier to understand. This is preparing someone else, so that gives one way I can find some good. I know there are reasons behind this. I know that for some reason "someone" (meaning the army-gods) decided to take him away for a month, when the month after that he will be working so much I won't see him, and the month after that he will be doing who-knows-what. I know, I know that there is reason behind this that in the Army world makes sense, that is important, that is justified.
But as a spouse, just as a spouse - not as a leader, not as anything above this - but just as a partner to my husband, I am angry that he is going. I am angry with whoever made that decision. I am angry with the Army. I am angry that no part of that decision lies with me.
I know whoever decided this, I know wherever this came from, they had good reason. The logical side of me is arguing for them. The part of me who has been in this life knows that these things happen. That these things have a purpose and for whatever reason, C is the one who is supposed to go. The leadership side of me gets it. The leader's spouse side of me is trying to calm whatever is going on inside of me. I know that every decision matters, that every tasking serves a greater purpose. I do.
But the momma side ... the momma side had planned Eli's birthday morning over and over again. The momma side had planned to hang balloons from the ceiling, and wrap his door with crepe paper, and have birthday pancakes. The momma side was going to make this one big - just for the four of us. The momma-side-of-me, had planned for C to be home in between PT and work to share in this. The momma-side-of-me wanted to make this amazing because his daddy won't be here for the next one. His daddy wasn't here for his first one. His daddy will miss the first three. The momma-side-of-me wanted C to see Eli's joy.
The momma-side-of-me is so incredibly, incredibly sad. The momma-side ... the side that lives for that baby boy ... I never thought I would be looking at my one-year-old and think that hopefully C will be here when he turns four. That hopefully "someone" doesn't take that away from us. To think that I hope he is here when Eli turns four ... then that fear comes in ... that "what if something happens ... " Oh, Lord.
The wife side of me is angry. Not at C. None of this is his fault. Not at any one person. As the spouse, as the partner, I am just angry. Angry because this just doesn't seem fair.
I know it is never fair.
This is the life. There will always be times that we want to yell at "someone", anyone really. What the Army needs and what we need are rarely the same. What the Army sees to be the right thing is hardly ever what we see to be the fair thing. We live a life where the loves-of-our-lives belong to "someone" else, who go when someone else tells them to go, who miss birthdays because someone else deems something else more important. This is the life. This is the hardest part of the greatest life. When they are asked, they will go and we will never be asked if it is okay. It is never up to us.
Today I am sad and a little bit angry. And some of that anger, really most of that anger, comes from the fact that there really isn't "someone" to be angry at. That this is just how it is. That this is just the life we live. That we do not decide when and how our family is together. That we do not decide if they are here or not. None of it is up to us.
The momma-side-of-me is sad for today and will be sad on Eli's big day. But the momma-side-of-me is still going to hang balloons, and still wrap his door, and still make some-kind-of multi-colored mess for him to eat. The partner-side-of-me is going to record every moment, and tell my C every detail, and cry when I hang up that phone because the partner-side-of-me will hurt that he isn't here, will hurt how he will hurt.
The army-wife-side-of-me, will find the joy in my boys, will show joy to our boys, will soldier on and make it through. Because the birthdays that he will one day get to be here for will be most precious. The job that he does is beyond important. The time that we are apart will not last forever.
This is the life. The much harder part of this life. But when we have made it through, when we commit every day to thrive, this is - beyond words - the most beautiful life.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.