Warning: No editing or filtering for this post. Just transparency and honesty.
One of the things that I love about the military lifestyle is that it defines "seasons" in your life. Time still moves quickly, but with each PCS (move), you are prompted to reflect upon your time at that particular duty station(at least I am). It's so neat to have this "default slow down" in my life. I love to think about who I was when I arrived, and how different I am when I leave. It's amazing how much your life, your viewpoints, and your relationships can change within the course of a year.
Although we are not leaving our current duty station, we did receive orders to stay here for the next three years. After living in three states, and four towns in the past four years, staying in one place for three seems a bit daunting. We are currently in the process of buying a home here--which means we will move again--but this time, on our own without military help.
I can't help but feel so incredibly blessed about the past year. I have an amazing, healthy baby boy who brightens my life everyday! I am FINALLY starting to feel like I didn't JUST have a baby. (I don't know about other women--but it's taken a long time for me to recover physically and hormonally) We are in the process of buying a beautiful home to raise our precious little one. But, one of the main reasons I feel so blessed and happy is because of my relationship with my husband. Marriages have seasons. There are challenging times that stretch you and your partner to be better. There are wonderful times, that are just so easy--and you just work so well together. Either way, a marriage is a living, breathing relationship that requires work daily. For this duty station, I reflect upon my marriage and am realizing that we have had our tough days while here. That we had to work at this thing called marriage--especially with taking care of a new baby. But, for the most part, we were in a state of bliss. We developed a rhythm here and I can honestly say that not only do I love my husband more today than the day I married him, but I can say that I am just so IN love with him. He is such a wonderful man, provider, and friend.
It is bittersweet though. Because this next year, will be a challenging one. He will be deployed for more than half of it. I know that our relationship will pass this test. I know we are committed. I know I can handle the requirements of being a single parent at home and keeping the "home fires burning" while he is away. And I am so thankful that we are in such a wonderful place to start this journey. But, I am also sad--because I will miss him terribly. I know that watching him leave, watching the distance between us grow, will be gut wrenching. But, I also know that it's the life we have signed up for, and that this is what we are called to do.
As I watch my friends and their husbands join the fleet around us, I see husbands leaving and returning. And it has suddenly become all too real. For so long, we've all had our men around--for training. Sure, they would leave for a weekend here and there, but we've been blessed to have the deployments left for the future. They have been locked away with words like, "One day" and "a long ways off." Here we are...not a long ways off.
As hard as it's going to be, I wouldn't trade it. I wouldn't trade the friendships, the experiences, the beauty and intimacy that a military lifestyle builds in a marriage--having only each other to rely on, and I wouldn't trade the good parts of deployment (the return--a second honeymoon, the appreciation that comes with not taking your spouse for granted, and the pride that comes from the everyday tasks that you accomplish by yourself--consistently doing things that you didn't think you could do).
I am so thankful for this past year--for this time with my family before deployments begin. And I know that this next year, although difficult, will provide opportunities to build rich, relationships with other wives and with my husband. It's going to be a good year.