New Years is a time for resolutions. Honestly, I’m not big on them. There’s just something futile in telling myself this will be the year that i do x. I make them, as many people probably do but then I promptly forget about them as the daily grind gets back into routine and the newness of the year passes by.
But like so many new years before this one, an old routine is back, looming large in my life no matter how much I want to ignore it.
It feels like my husband and i just got back from Iraq. It was one short year ago that I was sitting in my living room, my house devoid of kids, a husband or the myriad of animals and quietly panicking about how quiet it was. The silence freaked me out. I didn’t want to go to the store. The thing that felt the most normal was the next day when I met my unit for reverse SRP at the old Sports Dome. We stood outside that building and waited to be scanned by metal detectors and searched by military police because less than a month earlier, Hassan decided to murder some of my brothers and sister. But even that did not take away the rightness of being around the guys I’d spent the last year with up in Mosul.
This time, once more I’ll be left behind as my husband deploys for his fourth combat tour to Iraq. Don’t let the media fool you. Just because we changed the name does not mean that combat isn’t still a reality over in Iraq. He’s going to combat and once more, I’m not.
We made this choice deliberately. After the trauma of both of us leaving the girls in 09, we knew we could not both deploy again at the same time. Still, part of me wishes I was going back. It’s what I do. And I’ll tell you honestly that the thought of staying back and dealing with both girls, who are old enough to know that daddy is gone to war scares the hell out of me.
We’ve tried to keep life stable for our kids. We came home to the same house they’d left a year earlier. We brought back the pets they grew up with and added a few more. My husband’s NTC rotation was made easier because we kept to the routine. I talked with my oldest’s teacher all the time and the fear of her reaction to missing daddy was not realized.
Staying busy is the easiest way to pass the time on a deployment, whether you are the spouse at home or deployed yourself. Having sat in the gym and watched other kids cry as their fathers drove away, I will not do that to my husband this time. But I’ll sit with him. At least for a while. And then I’ll kiss him goodbye and tell him the same thing I’ve told him each time before: I don’t cared what you have to do, come home to me.
And God willing, this war will come to an end so that no one else must kiss their loved one goodbye and wait for the year to end. Again.