I am often asked if when BW gets home he is 'back for good' or 'done.' In the military there is no such thing as 'done.' We are never sure when he's coming and when he's going. Our lives will never be stable; they will never be certain.
When I first met BW he just got home from serving in Iraq. I didn't know what the meant. I never thought he'd be going back, I never imagined being an Army wife, and I certainly didn't understand the sacrifice it took to live this life. All I knew was that he had 'drill' one weekend a month, and for a while I was convinced it was just an excuse to not call me. As time went on, and our relationship progressed, he was due for re-enlistment. At this time, he was still in school and we knew financially it was important he re-enlist so they would cover tuition costs. We also knew, that with this re-enlistment and promotion, would come a deployment; an earlier one at that. It was a long, back and forth discussion, and in the end the papers were signed. I had just found out I was pregnant.
When he returns back from Afghanistan in the next few months he is up again for another re enlistment. During this deployment we've had many discussions about what he should do. Things are different now. He has a family, sacrifices are bigger, and the stakes are higher. I know this. I understand this. We, by no means, live the life of an active duty soldier. We don't live on base, our lives aren't completely dictated by the Army, and I don't get a free membership to the Y. However, my husband deploys, he will forever be gone one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year... He asks if he should re enlist, I tell him casually, "it's up to you, do what you want to do." Could I handle another deployment? Probably not...but I would. Will it probably be me and TWO kids next time? Probably...but I refuse to put my family on hold. When you take all of the risk, loneliness, and fear out of a deployment you are left with one thing. Sacrifice. To me, this is just a sacrifice; a give and take, something that is part of every relationship. When BW talks Army, he means it. I can hear it in his voice. It's a passion, a calling, and it's not for everyone. As much as this is OUR decision, it is also what gives him purpose, and what drives him forward. Who am I to say no?
There was a running joke when BW and I started dating. We never looked at our watches. We never wanted to know what time it was. Our conversations were so captivating, and our time together was so precious to the both of us, we never wanted to part ways. On our second date, BW asked me what I wanted in life; what was my ultimate goal. I told him I wanted to be a Mom. Disclaimer: I don't recommend telling a guy that on the second date. But it was true, and I felt comfortable telling him that. We eventually talked about starting a family, and I knew that ultimately this would be a sacrifice he was making for me. I don't think he was against it, and I don't think he regrets it, but I'm going to go ahead and assume he didn't imagine things happening so quickly. I don't feel as though I am forever indebted to him for giving me the gift of motherhood but I do think I owe it to him to follow him on his journey too. When it's just Olivia and I, and I peek back at her in the car, I can't help but smile. I know BW would give anything to be here with his family, and to watch his little girl grow. But there is something else I know. He loves what he's doing...and when I look at Olivia each and every day, I think... I love what I'm doing too.
Robert, as we come so so so close to the end of deployment my heart explodes for how proud I am of you. You have taken care of Olivia and I every step of the way and have gone SO above and beyond to make sure we are more then okay. Being apart for the last year has been the hardest, most trying thing I have ever experienced in this lifetime. Not having you here with me during Olivia's first year has broken my heart each and every day. But guess what? We made it. You are my heart and soul, my love, my forever and a day....