Friday, May 18, 2012

back home where he belongs

steve is back home, safe and sound.  our family is together again, thankful for each other.

no, he was not already in afghanistan, and he is not going to go.

yes, it might be possible to get whiplash from reading about our wild and crazy ride.  imagine how it is for us!

the long and the short of it: i did not want the stress of having him in a war zone.  period.  i thought i could be reasonably well assured that he would be safe and secure behind armed guards in an undisclosed location.  i was also heavily seduced by the idea that we could gain some financial security over the next year, given the hazard pay he was offered.

the little time steve had here at home between receiving the offer and leaving for training was a whirlwind of trying to get some of our household items moved to the new place, get paperwork signed to close on the sale of our home, and spending every possible moment together as a couple or as a family.  when he left, it was first to visit his folks in maryland, then orientation at his new company outside DC, then off to camp atterbury for the army program preparing civilians for working with the military.  he was still in the united states, not yet having left for the other side of the world, when we came to the ultimate conclusion that this was going to work for our family.

from the first night he left, my sleep was disrupted by disturbing, anxiety-filled dreams.  and he hadn't even left the country yet.  we could still talk to him every day; in a way it was like he was gone for a few days at a conference.  daytimes were fine: the kids and i started working on our new routines in our new home; i kept up activities with friends and talked to family on the phone.  It was in the dark, the dead of night, when the fears became unmanageable.

six months of him being gone before earning leave to visit home seemed doable when it was just a concept.  but it wasn't the separation that was the scariest: it was the idea of scanning news updates for activity in afghanistan, of jumping every time the phone rang, of wondering if i would get a message that something had unexpectedly, unpredictably, unthinkably happened that would put our family into chaos.

was i catastrophizing?  maybe.  but i don't think it's unreasonable to have concerns about my husband entering a war-torn country.  sure, military families have to handle it; we were told to treat this like a military deployment, but i don't know how they cope.  i was a navy wife once, but i am not a military mom, and our young children need their daddy more than this job would allow.  no amount of hazard pay is worth the toll i think it would eventually have on all of us.

so he has come home to us.  i am so thankful for and proud of steve, my partner, who was willing to serve but who also considers and works towards fulfilling the needs of his whole family.  he is willing to change course if necessary, and so he has.  we need him to be in a safer place, and he will be by not going to afghanistan.

what does this mean now?  well, it's back to the stress and uncertainty of unemployment in this horrible job market.  that’s difficult enough as it is, but it’s something we can shoulder together.  and i can sleep better.

i am particularly grateful to the family and friends who have expressed their support for us as we embarked upon this endeavor.  your words, your hugs, your offers of help, and your confidence in our ability to navigate this situation have meant a great deal to both of us, especially to me.  we would not have been able to even consider such an undertaking had it not been for your unswerving and dedicated presence in our lives.  we appreciate your continued support as we determine what happens next for us.

ok, you can breathe that sigh of relief now.

i am happyer at home.

1 comment:

  1. I love the photo with this : ) - and the point of the post!