One of the reasons I've been putting this off is because there hasn't been that much extra time around here. We had some big stuff going on; a very awesome trip to St. Louis, in-laws visiting, Little Man getting baptized (in style, I might add), U of I football, a not-so-necessary adventure for Oreo (dumb dog), and the rest of the not-so-glamorous things that happen before a deployment. Sweet Girl and Little Man have seen some sights, hung out with some cool peeps, and done some exciting things. All while leaving chaos and a fair amount of drool in their wake. There were some great adventures for Sweet Girl and Little Man.
Another reason I haven't written about this yet is because I don't want to come off as "woe is me" sympathy-seeking. Government sponsored vacations (as I like to call them - Sean doesn't and I don't know WHAT his problem is) are difficult for everyone involved, but I know that we are blessed. Sean has a stable career which provides for our family. The two years prior to this, Sean was able to get his master's degree and we had more family time than we knew what to do with. And deployments are not unexpected. Not to mention the fact Sean chose this as his career. He volunteered for life in the military, and as much as I would like to suggest I was duped, I volunteered to be his partner in that life. And this isn't our first deployment, so this year scares me but it was pretty easy to see it coming.
I am scared that this year I will fail my children miserably. I am scared of the situations that may occur. I am scared that I will not be able to be the same amount of "fun" Sean is for Sweet Girl and Little Man. I am scared that physically distant can easily become emotionally distant. I am scared that Little Man will have more time without his father around than with his father around. I am scared that I will spend so much time wishing for time to go by faster that I will miss out on making memories for/with my children. I am scared that Sweet Girl will continue to think she hears Daddy every time the dog barks at the door for a year. I am scared she will stop listening for Daddy every time the dog barks at the door for a year. I am scared that a family growing up apart could mean a family growing apart. I am scared of this year.
But I have faith: in Sean, in Sweet Girl and Little Man, in prayer, in miracles, and in our family. We will do what we have to do to make this work. And what we can not control, I will pray works out for the best. So many, many people and families have already experienced "this year" and come out the other side. And this year is worth that for which others have already sacrificed. I don't often quote politicians, at least not in a serious manner, but something Lyndon Johnson once said in a State of the Union Address (I'm pretty sure) has always stuck with me and I think it applies not only to this great country on Veteran's Day but also to this family just starting out the adventure of "this year."
This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.
So it may scare me, but I can give a year for that. And if you get a chance to read this, Sean, Sweet Girl, Little Man, and I want to say we love you and stay safe!