It’s all bringing back so many horrible emotions and memories I never wanted to feel or remember again. The packing. The shopping. The preparation for separate lives. The children. The poor, poor children. It’s so different this time, and yet so much the same. I didn’t want to go back to this again.
We are preparing the household, purchasing gear, stocking the house. He’s packing bags. Tonight. Buying socks. Locks. Duffle bags. I’m writing his name on those red luggage tags. The same kind I wrote on in our little house in Killeen. When he left the last time. We are having realization hit us after living in denial. We just found out a few weeks ago, and here we are. On the eve of his departure.
I have a picture of little Elizabeth sitting on his bag from the last time. Now, we have three young ones that could sit on the bag. Crazy. Three little ones who, despite their young age, have to live without their father. Again.
Adrienne, you are whining? About four months?! At least it’s not a year. That’s what that 1st Cav wife in me is yelling. No. Praise God! It’s only four months.
But it’s still four months. Four months of worry–fear of the doorbell. Four months of evenings far too quiet and still. Four months of holding down the homefront with three children four and under. Four months of children living without their father. Wondering why he left. Wondering where he went. Four months following several months of severe illnesses. Of caring for a newborn that has had feeding and health issues since long before her birth. Handling all of it. Alone.
I’ll be honest. There are moments that the crippling fear surfaces. Those voices of doubt arise. It’s then that I want to give release to the hot, urgent tears threatening behind my eyes; to beg, plead with him not to go. But, instead I say a prayer, grasp for God, and move forward. Because he deserves better. He deserves strength and courage. Love and support. Hugs and affirmation. Because I am confident I will handle this with grace.
Yes. I will do this. Tasks will take longer, and require that incessant pre-planning for the most efficient way of accomplishing them. Leaving the house will be an endeavor. Church will be a comedy show sometimes. But, we’ll do it. We’ll push through. I will wipe tears, pray for patience as I deal with another meltdown from frustration. I will swallow the knot in my throat as I explain for the hundredth time that Daddy’s on his long trip. He’s not coming home for awhile. I will dole out three times the hugs and kisses, make extra time for cuddling. Fill our lives with rest, relaxation. And activities to keep us busy.
I will finish my last graduate class. Hopefully write my thesis. Sweet Elizabeth has tumbling classes. We will venture down to the park, picnic basket in tow. I am going to make pasta salad (he hates pasta salad), and bean salad and we’ll eat like queens. All of us. We will attempt a road trip or two. We will have Movie Nights and I’ll let them take long baths. We will dance to music. We’ll spend our mornings lazing at the pool. We will run in the freshly cut grass in the evenings. And we will laugh. We have plans. Not merely to survive. But plans to thrive.
And, when no one is looking, doubtless I will give release to those tears when the day has been extra hard. I’ll give my struggles to my Lord. And, when I have no more tears to cry, I will stand up and move forward. For him. For our girls.
Four months. Yes, I can do it. Will do it. Forget those insecurities–I have lived this. I have survived this. I have attained victory in this.