On the other hand, my girls and I adopted a schedule that was very relaxed. Aside from the holiday meals, I rarely cooked dinner. Instead, we would eat out or order in, or I would throw together a salad and we’d eat in the family room while watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. If I wanted to go to bed at eight o’clock, I did. If we wanted to stay in our pajamas all day on a lazy Sunday, we did. Not that my husband would have objected to any of this, but our schedule when he is home is much more structured. And while I love all the manly things about my husband, I didn’t miss stepping over his toolboxes or his workboots, or having to constantly remove some grease-covered boat part from where he had left in on the kitchen counter.
I did notice that my social life suffered quite a bit. I received fewer invites to house parties, and would frequently have to decline an invitation to a girls’ night out because I was on call to pick up a child from work, play rehearsal, sports, etc. Then there were the crises that I had to handle on my own, like the frantic phone call I received while on my way home from work, that our dog had been struck by a car (thankfully, he survived). Or the day my daughter was in a car accident that totaled her father’s Jeep (thankfully, she and the boy who struck her walked away without any injuries). Or the call I received from my mother-in-law that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer, but she made me promise not to tell my husband until after she had undergone surgery. Then there was the long, emotional process of our oldest daughter applying to college and choosing where she would go to school. All of these things were made more stressful for not having my partner there to shoulder some of the burden, and I have an enormous amount of respect for every woman out there who is doing this on her own, every day.
But I also learned a lot about myself these past six months, most importantly that I appreciate my husband and everything he brings to our lives. We’ve been together since we were teenagers and he always knows how to make me laugh. I have a tendency to overreact about the smallest things, and he has the ability to help me put things back into perspective. A big trunk arrived yesterday from Afghanistan containing his uniforms and personal items, and he’ll follow in exactly one week. So our lives will change, but I think the biggest adjustment will be for him, as he realizes that all of his girls have grown a little stronger in his absence.
I’m excited about my May release, Coming Up for Air, which features one of my favorite heroes, Chance Rawlins. He’s deployed as an Apache helicopter pilot, but the woman he’s crazy about is deployed alongside him. And he’s about to discover for himself just how strong she is. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and read their story. Happy April, and thanks for stopping by!