As much as there have been some significant challenges this year, there have also been a couple of really cool things. I’ve gone on my first Black Hawk flight. I’ve experienced my first earthquake.


I’ve also gotten something that most married folks don’t get until the kids leave for college. I got my husband back.


Now, I’m not saying that it was like a reuniting or anything but when there are kids around, you’re mommy and daddy, not husband and wife. Seldom do we get time to just be us. We’ve had a whole year and you know what’s kind of cool? We still really like each other. A lot. We laugh about different things than we did when we were younger but this is the first real time we’ve had together –alone – in almost five years since our oldest daughter was born.


And it’s not like we’re spending all day every day together. We have a few minutes at lunch and dinner and maybe an hour or two before we go to bed. It’s more than most couples have and less than others, but it works for us. I’ve learned a lot about him this year, both as a husband and as a soldier. I think he’s learned a lot about me and how we’ve both changed over the last half decade. But the best thing is discovering that there’s still a whole lot of love, mixing in with a lot of like and it’s not just the kids holding us together. A lot of couples don’t get that and find themselves wondering what life will be like without the glue of the kids making them stick.


He’s seen me through some tough times this year. When the swine flu panic hit and I was a walking panic attack, he and I planned our escape route should the world go to shit and we need to get home (he was only half joking). He made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry for missing the kids. And we laughed about the torment our kids put my mom through, knowing we were both going to want to kill them within two weeks of getting home.


It’s been a long known fact in the Army, since the war started, that deployments can make good marriages stronger but it destroys weak ones. This is my husband’s third and my first. I look to him as the voice of experience and he’s talked me through some of my fears. I’m glad I’ve gotten this time with my husband the man, not the daddy and I still love it when he plays with the kids on the webcam.


So getting to be husband’s wife this year, even with everything else that’s gone one, is at least one good thing that’s come out of being in Iraq.