On my list for June, I mentioned wanting to get a Perfect* Family Photo. Spoiler alert - we didn't. Instead we go this one.
It was taken this morning before Paul headed to the airport to finish off deployment. It's blown out. I'm basically crying. Ellerie is not even facing the camera. The background is not awesome - those are for sure a pair of blue underware on the couch arm. But that's us. The three of us today. We're a family and we're doing well. Really well.
The really good news is that Paul will be coming home much sooner than expected (like always, I cannot be specific online with when because it's military travel). The really bad news is that he's now gone.
In my head, I wasn't too worried about Paul leaving. I knew it would be sad. I knew he'd be away from Ellerie and that would be tough. But I also knew I'd have help from my mom. I figured, "help is help." It's just two people tag-teaming the never-ending needs of a newborn, we'll just do it.
And then Ellerie arrived (via long and painful labor that ended in c-section) and I became a mom and Paul became a dad. In the hours that followed, Paul also became husband of the year. He had the needs of Ellerie to tend to and then the needs of his physically and emotionally shattered wife. The things he saw and helped me through... I can't even. I cannot even. I am so thankful that he was here to help get me through that labor and eventual surgery.
Over the past few days, we all rode a roller coaster. Paul was the rock through the whole thing. It was like he'd already rode the ride 1000 times he was so good at it. My phenomenal partner and Ellerie's fantastic dad. I can't express how much I'll miss him and his help. He's so good with her and so good with me and somehow kept it all together for us all.
My word brave has tested and strengthened me over and over this year. But I gave it a workout last week and will continue to push it's boundaries in the next few. I'll cry. I'll laugh. I'll be weak. I'll be strong. I will have help. I will need help. And I know I will get us to the other side the way Paul somehow got us to day four. Then we'll be back as three - sharing the successes and struggles and growing together.
*I do have a lot of PERFECT photos that I will share eventually. Right now, priority one is the little lady (obviously) and priority two is rest (of course) and priority three is telling these stories and getting down these thoughts. Writing here is how I process information. This space is where I feel like myself and how I grow and heal.