Back in May when my husband deployed, I was as ready as I could be to deal with it. It wasn’t the first time he’d deployed and he’d even recently spent a few months across the country for some seriously long training. I’d even been through a deployment myself. I’d taught myself not to worry too much about him; to trust in him, his skill, and his training to bring him home safely. I figured I had this and I could deal just fine. For the most part, I was right. I had the obligatory meltdowns and the emotional highs and lows. I dealt with my son’s 7th birthday on my own and saw my daughter to her first day of school by myself. I survived these milestones because I had long since settled into my routine.

I miss my husband when he’s gone, more than anything, but over the years I’ve come to enjoy the time that I get while he’s away. I get to have the snacks I pick and watch what I want on TV without compromise all night. I can rearrange furniture, and let my crafting explode all over the living room. I suppose it’s like a boon. It’s the reward that I get for spending long periods of time alone, giving up my husband to his job. I don’t have to compromise on what we have for dinner, or what music we listen to in the car, and I can live out of a basket full of clean clothes if I want to. (I hate folding laundry.)

And I get comfortable with that. When Mike is gone, I’m independent and I settle into life alone, just me and the kids. I forget that, eventually, I’ll have to give all this up. I still miss my husband and want him home, but that becomes a far off sometime-in-the-future occurrence that still seems unattainable. When I’m missing him I want him home now not in seven months. I want him here with me to get this dog to listen to me. I want him to explain things to my children because I’m apparently speaking Ancient Greek. I want someone warm to sleep with who isn’t 90 pounds of walking fur.

I create in my mind this fantasy of what it’s going to be like when he comes home. I can imagine it clearly. The kids will suddenly transform to well-behaved, cultured children who don’t flail at the slightest whim. They can articulate all of their needs, wants, and issues perfectly and respectfully. The dog will cease to have allergies that make him lick and chew and he’ll even stop shedding! The meals and dishes will cook and wash themselves! The floors will always be so clean I could eat off of them. I miraculously lose that stubborn fifteen pounds I not-so-secretly loathe, and when we finally have some alone time together the stars will shatter and the earth will cease to move!

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