Deployments are part of the military lifestyle. They are expected but that doesn't make them easy. This is Johnnie's fourth deployment but it's the first since we've been married. He's been gone a LOT on work trips and "temporary deployments" throughout our marriage but this will be the longest continuous stretch of time that we'll be apart.
While I miss him every day with every beat of my heart, I know that life can't be put on hold while he's gone. There will certainly be times when I'll need to curl up and cry for a while, but otherwise I'll stay busy with everyday life and focused on the good things such as getting phone calls from him and having extra space in the bathroom. Yes Johnnie, the entire double sink is now mine ;)
Being a military wife is not easily understood by others, especially how we handle the long trips and deployments. The author of the blog They Call Me Dependent wrote an amazing post that explains it perfectly: Confessions of a Milspouse, I love my husband more than you love yours.
And our deployment begins...
A couple nights before Johnnie left, we had a much needed date night. His parents and sister watched Cameron and we headed down to Duke's in Waikiki. We had a great dinner complete with a bottle of wine and a serenade of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by a musical ukulele trio. Afterwards we walked down the street, marveling at all of the tourists, and finished the night at a little coffee shop. It was great just focusing on the two of us and enjoying time alone together.
Johnnie's plane left in the evening so we had all day together to finish packing and simply enjoy each other's company. Johnnie had two very heavy bags packed full. He did well, as I'm sure I would've had at least four packed myself :)
Because of the USO, Cameron and I were able to get gate passes so that we could go through security and wait at the gate with Johnnie until he boarded the plane. I am so thankful that we could do this. It allows for more closure than would simply dropping him off on the curb at check-in.
We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare so we got some lattes and baked goods from Starbucks and sat in seats by the window at the gate.
We smiled and took some photos but this was a no-makeup kind of day for a reason. I knew the tears would eventually fall like rain.
The setting sun was a sign that our time together was getting short. Boarding was about to start when Johnnie was called back to baggage security because of an inspection issue with a locked piece of luggage. I stayed at the gate, thinking it wouldn't take long but unfortunately it did. Everyone at the gate started boarding the plane until I sat alone crying amidst the empty seats in the terminal. I was so upset that our final time together was cut short. When Johnnie finally returned, I threw myself in his arms for our final hugs, kisses, and I love you's before watching him disappear down the jetway, being the last person to board the plane. Saying good-bye is one of the hardest parts of a deployment.
I stood by the window, holding Cameron, sobbing until the plane pulled away. We stayed and watched a few planes take off, imagining that one of them was the one that Johnnie was on. We went home and spent a couple days in our pajamas, adjusting mentally to this change, before continuing on with life. I'll stay busy raising Cameron and Dulce, taking care of our home, working on my many projects, and putting effort every day into letting Johnnie know how much we love him and miss him.
"Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow I'll miss you
Remember I'll always be true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home every day
And I'll send all my loving to you."