Wow. So this blog did not go the way I thought it was going to go.
Scratch that. The way I hoped it was going to go. I pretty much thought it would turn out exactly like this.
We're winding down on this deployment. As we speak, bags are being assembled for single soldiers, banners are being hung in the appropriate places and 500 housewives are wondering if a weed-whacker wouldn't be more appropriate than a razor.
What have I learned? Well, I've RE-learned that I have no discipline. I've learned that for all my good intentions, people still basically get on my nerves. I've learned that a two-week window of sex out of an entire year IS NOT ENOUGH. I've learned that stress is an even bigger bitch than I am.
Mostly, I've learned a new kind of respect for the spouses that have done this more than once over the last 10 years. That even though people do mostly get on my nerves, I still want to help them. I know what this burden is now - first hand - and I want to support efforts to ease it. I'll have to see where that desire takes me.
I've also re-learned that my husband is my friend, and one of a very small group of people with whom I reciprocate unconditional love. I've found proof of depths in him that I maybe only suspected before.
I've learned where the strengths are in our family dynamic. And the weak spots. That my kid is rapidly leaving childhood. Maybe a little too rapidly for my brain to comprehend. But I've learned that my heart knows it, anyway.
Every deployment is different every time, for every person. This idea was repeated to us ad nauseum before his battalion left last October and I heard it but I didn't really understand it. I think I do, now. Certainly I've seen a number of spouses handle it differently. Hopefully, this will be the last time R goes into a combat zone on the orders of his Commander in Chief. But if it's not, I know next time will be different. We'll be older, more experienced, more weary. Lots of things will be different, even though the stress will be mostly the same.
I've learned - again - that the best you can do is take each day as it comes. Funny how the most trite lessons are the ones that have to be relearned over and over.