Salute to Spouses Blog

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Can’t you just be here?

Jason’s been home from his fourth deployment for about three months now.  We’re adjusted to being back to “us.” It’s been long enough to feel immense gratitude that our marriage is still strong, and long enough for the TDY’s to start.

Jason just finished a 10-day TDY, which is nothing in the scheme of things, but I was ready to snap. Stomach flu ravaged our house, taking down myself and three of the boys. In my experience as a mom, there’s nothing quite as icky as puking while you’re taking care of a puking kid . . . or three. Nope.  Nada. 

At this point, I’m lying on the ground next to our daughter’s jumper while she happily watches Baby Einstein, and I’m praying for swift recovery, or death, and all I can feel toward Jason is white, hot resentment. How is it that we just went through another deployment and he still can’t manage to be home when I need him? I always joke that my husband is the most dependable person in the world to everyone but his wife. Well, it kind of felt like the truth, as irrational as my emotions were. I hadn’t just puked up breakfast, oh no, I’d lost my common sense too.

Now, 10 days apart is really nothing. We do that without a blink. We know some people who left for schools within a month of redeployment, and some who are headed out for a few months now. Jason’s turn for the 3-month school will come later this summer. I understand how the Army works. I know that he has to train and get these schools done, that they make him a better soldier when he returns to war. But really, he’s home, so shouldn’t he actually be home?


Unfortunately, the answer is no. And it’s always going to be no. I’m not going to pull the whole, “you knew what you were getting into,” speech because quite frankly, nothing irks me more than someone who throws that in my face. I’m a dual military brat. I remember enduring months when I didn’t see my dad because he was at work before I got up and returned home after I went to bed. There were months I didn’t see my mom because we were separated at different duty stations. I firmly “knew,” but that doesn’t seem to make it easier, not when I get bold enough to count up the amount of days I actually have “with” my husband now.

It’s hard to sit back and embrace the idea that just because he isn’t deployed doesn’t mean he’s home, and that I have to maintain the same level of independence I do when he’s gone. In the year he will be at “home,” he’s estimated to be gone about a quarter of it. But he’s stateside, and not getting shot at, so I’ll take that over the alternative. I’m not saying it doesn’t bite, because it does. I’m physically sick of missing him and sick of explaining to the kids why he’s missing – fill in the blank of important event here.

The good news? I love him a heck of a lot more than I could ever resent him for not helping me clean up puke. And the days he’s here mean so much more than the days he’s not. We’re careful with the time that we have, and make the most of it, because time isn’t something we can get back. Maybe that’s one blessing of the military family: we understand just how precious the time we get is.

Because he may be gone for a quarter of the year, but he’s here for three quarters, and I’ll take that any day.

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