Sunday, June 28, 2009

I hate good-byes.

I'm not good at them. I would really rather just walk away with fond memories than say good-bye to anyone. But this one was not one I could walk away from. So I made a vow to myself that I wouldn't cry. I wouldn't drive away blubbering over the inevitable, as crying would only make me feel weak and helpless. What I need to feel is strong.

All day, I did so well. I almost lost it when sweet Melanie started crying on the phone on my behalf, but I swallowed the lump, as I had been doing all day, and stayed brave.

We took Andrew to base to drop him off. We came upon the sea of khaki, and it still didn't feel real. Would I really walk away without him? Was he really staying and we were leaving? How strange. We hung around for a while, but it would be another 4 hours until the plane actually took off. I knew the kids wouldn't last that long, and I just wanted to get it over with. So after about 40 minutes, we headed back to the car to say good-bye. Andrew buckled the kids in the carseat, and I watched as he said goodbye to both of them. Then, it was my turn. I hugged him and tried to be brave. He told me to be strong, and he knew I could do it. I had a few tears, but I decided that was okay. I tried to hold my quivering lip still as I climbed in the car, kissed him one last time, and watched him walk away.

Eva lost it. She cried and yelled, "I want Daddy!" Of course, I couldn't hold back against the emotion that ripped at my heart. I started bawling. And I drove away. Not 30 seconds later, I realized I had left Eva's headband sitting on Andrew's bag. At that exact moment, my phone rang - he was calling to tell me he would meet me in the parking lot to give it back. Apparently he didn't want to take a black velvet headband to Kawait with him. I turned around to see him one last time, took the headband, told him I would miss him, and turned for home.

I allowed myself a minute or two of crying. As I turned on Baby Einstein (Eva was crying for the caterpillar), I said allowed through tears, "Lord, give me strength." And He did. By the time I got to the front gate and off-base, I felt peaceful and calm.

Pulling in the garage was strange. For some reason it reminded me of when we came home from the hospital with both our babies. It's the feeling like, "Here goes our new life with this new extra person." But tonight, it was like, "Here goes our new life with my other half missing."
Thankfully, he is still sitting where we left him, so we've been able to talk on the phone. That has made a big difference in my adjusting to our new permanent condition. As I head off to bed for the first of 131 (ish) lonely nights, I feel...I don't know. I don't know a word to describe my emotion. I feel strongly that I can no longer think about this in terms of the big picture - the whole 4 months apart. Rather, I'm just going to take it one day at a time. So cliche, but so necessary for my sanity. I feel so grateful to be the one with the kids. Even though I may feel lonely, at least I will NEVER truly be alone. Andrew, wherever you are by the time you read this, I miss you. But I'm going to be strong. I love you a million. Here we go.
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AnnEE said...

Am I gay that I'm crying like a big, fat baby?

I want to come play with you for many days on end to make SOME of the 131ish days seem a little shorter. Please call me if you are sad. :)

Melanie said...

In response with AnnEE's comment above, that means I am gay too because I am totally crying and snotting all over the place. Steph, your strength astounds me and I hope I can be as brave as you when our time come to do the "inevitable." Thank you for going first to show me how to do it right! But I am truly sorry this has to be part of your husband's job. Love you! Kiss your babies for me!

Ali said...

I'm a huge loser. Steph. Really. I posted the other day about being sad that I live away from my parents, but that is nothing compared to what you're dealing with.

He is so lucky to have you as a support system. In 131(ish) days you are going to have the greatest of reunions. How do you feel about those? I'll be imagining it for you.

Melissa Andreasen said...

Steph, you can and will do it! You are an amazing wife and mother and although it will be hard, you will somehow come out in the end a better person. It might sound wierd but you are helping me prepare for when Ryan deploys for the first time in September. I'm so not looking forward to it, but I know that it must be done. Best of luck to all four of you. Just continue to PRAY!!!

Elise said...

Steph, you are a trouper! I was just complaining that I won't have Dan for 15 days in August...I'm such a wimp compared to you!

Josh and Ari Hill said...

Josh deploys in Sept.... Call me and we will do crafts! talk to you soon

bekahjr said...

Beau is leaving for 4 months in the fall, and I am not excited. Your post made me get all emotional just thinking about it, ha ha. We are praying for you! Let us know if there is anything we can ever do for you!

Hunsaker Family said...

Steph, that was truly beautiful how you wrote that! I too was crying through reading that! I don't think I could truly be that strong if I had to send my half away for that long! Be strong, and you can get through it!

Emily said...

You can do it, Steph. Just like you said, one day at a time. You are strong, and when you are weak, the Lord will strengthen you. And Andrew, remember that many people will be praying for your safe return. I love you, both!