I can't even pretend this deployment is as difficult as the first one (and the first one really wasn't that bad). It's already been two months since Paul left. And as of today we're just about 10 weeks away from seeing each other. Because Paul is deployed to a non-warzone, he actually gets to take leave days so we are having him fly home in June to hopefully be here for the birth and spend some time with our newborn. (After he's been home about 10 days, he'll fly back and is expected to be home for good sometime in August.)
What's making this go-around easier?
FaceTime. For sure. Last deployment we relied on phone calls and google video chat. The phone calls were rare and the video chats were difficult to schedule. We both had to be sitting at our computer. We normally had to plan them in advance and sometimes we'd anticipate one just to have an awful connection and grainy picture. Since last deployment, we've both upgraded to the iPhone 4S and now have FaceTime capability. Paul's phone plan has been temporarily canceled, but he still has wireless access which makes our chats free and easy. He "calls" and my phone rings like normal. Usually I am home but sometimes I'm out and about (like our quick visit in the Target checkout line the other day).
Not having to "schedule" time to catch up and being able to talk face-to-face daily makes this whole experience feel less lame. There is no pressure to make each conversation long or particularly interesting. It feels normal. And during deployment you crave "normal" more than pots of gold or Nutella.
It's Spring! Last time, Paul left in August and I began the dreaded march to late February alone. We had to get through the holidays. We had to get through DST where the sun sets earlier. The days got shorter and shorter and bleaker. Ugh I hate just thinking about it. I crave sunlight and summer and so having Paul gone during the already awful months was hard (though it took until this time around for me to fully realize why that was).
This deployment, Paul left after the good holidays (Valentine's day and my birthday - which he missed last year anyway - are really not that big of a deal compared to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years). Everyday since he left, it stays light a tiny bit longer. And we are marching towards June - the month our baby will be born. It doesn't get more exciting or uplifting than that. (Plus, he'll be home in August! We'll still get to celebrate the summer good stuff like BBQing and tomato harvests together.)
WE'VE GOT A BABY ON THE WAY. I guess this could be a bummer. Being pregnant without your husband is not ideal. I know. But at this point in my life, having Paul leave for another deployment without us having a chance to conceive a child would have been so much harder for me to take. We are ready and excited for kids and I am so grateful to be carrying our little one. Expecting, even alone, is miles more exciting than gearing up for frustrating months of trying and wondering if a baby is in our plan.
Overall though, I have learned through two deployments that it's totally on me to get through this. Paul's rad. The raddest. But my attitude sets the tone for us. If I'm up. He's up. If I'm drowning, he's miserable AND stuck in another country, unable to throw me a rope to cling to. I stay upbeat for a million reasons. For me. For him. For the baby. For my family. For my friends (who are amazing). And for this blog. I believe wholeheartedly that writing here everyday forces me to stay active and focus on all the good.
And there is so much good.
JUST TEN MORE WEEKS! I can't help but wonder who I'll get to kiss & welcome home first? My hot husband? Or my sweet baby girl?