You can safely assume we’re in the home stretch of this deployment, with me writing that headline seriously.
The past few months have been no cakewalk. No, they’ve been more like a smooshed Cheerio/LEGO/crusty Kleenex path covered in pee/spit up/pureed food which you must cross barefoot, in the dark, on no sleep, with 50 pounds of dirty diapers hanging unevenly from your shoulders, and Nickleback playing on repeat very loudly. In the rain. (Or maybe not the rain, because that would be too much like a shower.) Through Heathrow, after a Transatlantic flight with a backpack full of rabid koalas while pushing an 80-pound stroller with a broken wheel. With fireworks going off, at bedtime. And a back injury.
[Except for that week or so around when one of my best friends got married back home. That was a ton of fun.]
But here’s the thing. Three months of that is nothing compared to some deployments. To a year-long remote. There are many parents (a dear friend and my new stepmom among them) who walk this path alone for years and years. While knowing this doesn’t make the rough days suck less , it does remind me that I’m not the only person to parent solo far from family. That everyone can come out the other side just fine.
I like to scroll through my iPhone photos while I’m feeding my baby when I should be sleeping. Lately I’m struck by how much my kids have changed and how much we’ve actually done together since my husband left. There were three whole months of memories that the boys and I don’t share with their dad. Adventures, laughter, new milestones. (Mobility, teeth, sleep training…)
What a gift!
Once my husband walks through our front door, I’m back to “just mom.” Rolling out Play-Doh with me will never be as awesome as doing wrestling moves with dad. I’ll never know enough about airplanes, or train parts, or race cars, or Transformers. But for just a few months, I have been the Awesomest. I’ve gotten to be the one to splurge on sweet treats. I’ve chaperoned all the bike rides. I’ve been Play Buddy #1.
At least we’ve gotten that out of this deployment. I’m so glad it’s nearly over. Three cheers to those of you who have endured even longer stretches of solo parentdom!