Tonight is the last night we will find ourselves with out Brian during his Army enlistment. It is his last military training away from us. Because of deployments and trainings, we have spent many, many nights away from him. We know those nights all too well. Despite our experience with these lonely nights, this one was especially hard for the kiddos.
All 4 kids lay in their beds crying for their daddy tonight. This was a first, and thankfully a last. At any given time during a deployment or TDY (military training where a soldier goes away for an extended period of time) a child will have a melt down or 2. There has never been a time, however, where all 4 kids cried at the same time.
I have hardened myself over the years. When I am awarded the chance to know beforehand when a military separation is coming, I take the time to plan out events to keep us occupied. I try to make things positive and fun so the time passes while he is away. In some twisted ways it has almost made me crave those military separation. Don’t judge, I said “almost.” Obviously I would love for my husband to be here more than any big event planned during this time. However, as a military spouse you have to mentally make yourself enjoy the time as it passes. You can not simply sit around and wallow in self pity, it just isn’t pretty, nor is it healthy. During Brian’s first 3 deployments I planned a big trip of some sort. I left New York with a then newborn Vincent and headed to Texas, driving through PA, MD, and TN along the way. Then I headed to MT, because we could. During his tour to Kosovo I took a 2 year old Vincent and baby Kenniston on an airplane back to Texas. While Brian served in Afghanistan I packed up our minivan and drove across 12 states for 12 weeks and visited over 70 friends and family members, attended a wedding, graduation, music festival, and we checked out the Arch in St. Louis. We were trying to pass the time and enjoy ourselves while doing so. It was fun. It was a mind numbing time. But he wasn’t there.
During the shorter trips, like this last one which was shy of a month long, we stayed local. This time we watched my mom’s house and visited some of our favorite Austin hot spots while visiting family and friends. I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed our bigger trips. But, once again, he wasn’t here.
As an Army wife you think to yourself “it’s just a few weeks, not nearly as bad as a typical year long deployment.” It’s still 3 weeks with out the person we love, and while I have hardened myself to not dwell on it daily, the kids are hurting tonight and that makes me sad.
The past almost 12 years have been wonderful for our family in many ways. I am proud of what Brian has done for his country. I loved watching his self confidence as a leader grow to amazing new heights. I know he would not be the man he is today had it not been for this path God has put us on, but I know it is time for us to do something different.
Soon Brian will join our family again. By that time the tears will have long dried. I just know my kids are hurting tonight.