When John and I first met, he deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom just two months later. I was giddy college girl, holding tight to this idea of a Naval Officer wanting to be with me when he returned. I can't believe it was all those years ago and he was just a little division officer, squeaky clean and new to the Navy. His leaving didn't bother me at all! I was more concerned wether or not we were going to be in a mutually exclusive relationship when he got back rather than how lonely I was.
From there we've travelled the world. He's left for more days than I can count, more weekends, more birthdays and more anniversaries have been spent apart than together. Years of our 8 year marriage have consisted of him at sea, just doing the job he was meant to do. It never bothered me.
Until we had kids.
The late nights, the duty days, weekends missed, phone calls, going in early, staying on a ship until late at night and missing milestones all add up.
Seeing my babies cry over missing their daddy hurts more than anything in the world.
They revere this man: idolize him.
Missing time with them has to suck about as much as being left behind. I guess I can say, in that respect, I'm the lucky one here: I am with my babies during this separation. It's hard, dirty, exhausting, and rewarding work, but I'm the one around to pick up their hearts and try to lift their spirits. I'd rather be on that end of the stick.
It never gets easier, this lifestyle of ours. The married single parenting, the playing second fiddle, the moving, the waiting, the watching my children flourish when their dad isn't around. I've head that less than 1% of Americans have served our country, but they've done so to protect the other 99%.