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Archive for July 1st, 2013

209 days down.

I’ve been doing some reflection about this deployment and Andrew and I’s relationship, now that we’ve turned the corner and he will likely be home in less than 3 months.

Deployments are not for the faint of heart. They’re not for people who need constant validation. They’re not for people who can’t stand alone. Deployments are for the cheeses of the world.

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I recently described it thusly to someone who asked how I handle it: deployments are for people who are so independent that it has become a negative, a detriment. It’s for people who literally push other people away. And I still stand by that. Otherwise, I feel like people would lose their minds.

Every day of the deployment has sucked. That has been my baseline: suck. I’d wake up, sun shining, birds chirping, job going well, and I’d know: today is going to be a sucky day. I know that sounds so pessimistic. It’s not like I wasn’t happy. That happy, however, was always tinged, like a match after it has been burnt. If you have a great day, you wish your significant other was there to share it. If you have a bad day, you wish you had an arm to curl into. And this is coming from one of those grossly independent people who pushes people away. The baseline is suck… 209 days of today is going to suck. 

It’s been worse since we hit 6 months. We’ve rounded a corner, and instead of looking forward, I keep looking back. The bitterness of 180 days apart is all-consuming. There is no way to put it; there is no one person to assign the bitterness to; there is no suitcase in which to carry it. I carry it like the groceries I buy, hefting too many bags at once because I don’t want to make two trips to the car.

I recognize and acknowledge that I have it easy compare to many.

The silver lining, if there is one, is that Andrew and I have grown so much as a couple during this time apart. We communicate so much better than I thought was possible. There were growing pains, of course, and sometimes I wondered whether any of this was worth it. But I still — still — get a cheap thrill every time a message comes through from him. We talk about everything. No topic is taboo, no feeling is off-limits. We allow each other to feel what we are feeling, to discuss those feelings, with no judgements. It’s difficult. It’s empowering.  It’s imperfect.

The only way I can describe our relationship is like that of Frodo (Andrew) and Sam (me)  from Lord of the Rings.

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Part of me doesn’t want to admit that, mainly because Sam and Frodo are just friends and because many would argue Sam is basically a servant of Frodo. I see their relationship slightly different. Frodo has the ring, his burden, his duty, and he needs to dispense of his duty in order to save the world. But Sam is the strength. Sam is the rock. Frodo needs Sam just as much as Sam needs Frodo, and maybe even moreso. They love each other, but more than that, they’re partners. I hope this continues. No relationship is perfect, and ours is far from it, but I think we make a good team. We just have to make it through the rest of this time, together but apart.

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