Claire 7, Makenna 4, Alice 2
“Daddy are you flying over the ocean today?”
“No Makenna, not for a few days.”
“Why do you have to work over the ocean?”
“To keep people safe.”
“Can’t they just call 911?”
“No Makenna, they need me to keep them safe.”
Gearing up for another deployment, especially one on the heels of a month long TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment, trip not to the dessert) brings a lot of little conversations like this from our four year old who is beginning understands what getting out the tan boots and huge duffle bag means.
In my heart I know we are going to be okay, actually, it’s going to be good. In the past I was not convinced. The first time Nate left for months Claire was three: still on a feeding tube, sick constantly, not talking and barley walking. Makenna was only a few months old. The last time Nate was in the dessert Alice was a baby, Makenna was two and Claire was four. As crazy-hard as that was I am so thankful for how our lives changed and how our relationships shifted. It felt like a car accident. You are driving along, taking care of yourself and suddenly, you are clinging to a strangers; but not really a strangers, the paramedic, firefighter, police officer were always there to help you before, you just never needed them like this before and in one minuet you have gone from hand shaking hands friends to head on their chest, brushing back hair out of your face, tissue passing friends. You are safe and you know it even though the circumstances are still ugly, you are not alone. I’m not even going to get into all the unfair things that happen while Nate is gone. I’ll just say that absolutely, every time God has faithfully provided us with a way, with support, with our big car accident family. It feels different this time because I really know my emergency crew; we have shared all the cream filling that is the Oreo of our lives in-between deployments. Maybe we will get to know some new friends better, yes, we probably will and I can look forward to that.
How am I feeling? I’m feeling like this time has a purpose and that’s a gift from God. For what do we long for more? Purpose is food for the soul. I create elaborate cakes, I love parties, surprises and things to look forward to and this feels like that, a surprise. It is wrapped in sacrifice but if I get a gift from God I’m learning not to be picky about the appearance.
My friend Jessica called today to check in and let me know that if we needed anything in the next few months to please call. Offering help meant a lot to me but even more then that was her uplifting words of thankfulness. What blesses me the most is when people recognize that this is more then a pay check, more then work, it's a sacrifice for our country, our family, our community, our friends. Thank you for saying thank you, it is one of the things that makes sending a loved one off to war bearable.
Yes, I'm feeling good but that has not permanently removed my mini tantrums and slumps into pity party veg-out on Pinterest land. We got some really bad work news Tuesday (save that for another blog) and the only words I have to describe Nate's reaction and my behavior are that he was a total grown-up about it, irritated but controlled. I, on the other hand, was a toddler, hiding out and then bursting into hysterical speeches every time we tried to discuss the issue. Yikes, bad timing for bad news! Fortunately we had already made plans for the evening and a diversion was just what we needed. Instead of going around in circles over a problem we have little to no control over we had stake, corn on the cob, fresh bread, watermelon, grilled asparagus and root beer floats with some amazing friends. It was a feast, even better, a feast I didn't cook, with yard games and ending in a girls agains boys T ball game. I think the girls won, Alice is our secret weapon, never underestimate the cute, go Pink Vikings! Thank God for good friends. After all the munchkins were asleep that night Nate wrapped me up in a long hug and I just melted. It's hard that he is leaving but I love him and our life together. Hanging out with the Goldblooms was like a reset, yes, this is why we do all this, this is what Nate comes home to.
So hear we go again. Want to join me? I appreciate the words of wisdom and encouragement so much. I know Nate has the harder job not getting to see all of your kind eyes and feel your hugs on his skin.