Ok, so I haven't keep up with the blog AT ALL. But I'd like to think I have a good excuse. The kids and I spent six weeks away this summer visiting our family back in Ohio. And praise the Lord, my husband was able to come back from Iraq for three weeks to join us there! He left back in Nov of 2009. So we had been apart for 7 1/2 months. We had a wonderful time!
We took the first 4 days to ourselves and spent time reconnecting. We got to stay out late, go out to eat, did the Cedar Point VIP tour, and just enjoyed being a couple again.
The kids took right back to their daddy which I was nervous about. Alena was the most excited because she's old enough to remember Gabe leaving. Within a couple hours of daddy being back with the kids, they seemed to have forgotten about me. I didn't mind so much because I had just spent the past 7+ months being mom AND dad. I was ready to share the load.
Time went by so quick and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye again. I didn't break down until I was pulling away from the airport. I cried for a few minutes and then told myself that I WOULD be seeing him again.
This being the second time that he's been overseas, I got to thinking... Do people really realize how much sacrificing the military, contractors, and their family have to go through? Yes, they see it in the news, know some people who are in the military, hear about it, etc etc. But until they actually have to say goodbye to their loved one and not know if that was the last goodbye they will ever get to say, I don't think they can fully understand. They don't know what it's like to constantly worry, or sit by the phone and wait all day for a chance to talk for even just a few minutes, constantly watching the news hoping never to hear bad news about the base they are stationed at, checking your e-mail multiple times a day because he might have sent you one, or even watching the front door hoping to never see that solemn faced messenger walking to your front door with "the" bad news.
And then add the stress it puts on the kids... My daughter brings me to near tears everyday when I hear her talk about her daddy. Every craft project she does she wants to save it for daddy. Seeing her face light up when she gets the chance to see him through the webcam is priceless. She loves and misses him so much. The most gut wrenching thing is when she tells me that her daddy is not coming home. Or that she misses him and wants him home. I almost lose it when she's crying and calling out for her daddy. I can't break down in front of her so I have to put on my game face and tell her that yes, daddy will be coming home and he misses her a lot too.
Unfortunately, Gabe will not be home until around Memorial Day of NEXT year. He will have been gone a total of 18 months. And out of those 18 months, we only get to see him for a measly three weeks. He left to go back to Iraq on July 20. By the time he comes home, it will have been 10 1/2 months since we have last seen him. Yup, that was TEN and a half MONTHS! If that's not sacrifice, I don't know what is.