I already miss you, and it’s only the first night of this deployment.
I almost forgot on my way home from work that you wouldn’t be there when I returned today. Sigh. As I walked our daughter home from school, she had forgotten too, rambling on about how excited she was to show you the newest drawing she made at school. Double sigh.
These first days are always the most challenging. We aren’t used to new routines yet; our heart is still heavy from the tears of the goodbye. There is the ever-present anxiety of a new normal of never knowing when the next time we will hear from you, speak to you, or even see your face.
Yes, these early days ― this first day ― is always the hardest, harder still for me, I think, now that we have a daughter, one that is old enough to feel the difference but too young yet to comprehend the reality.
Today is the hardest day.
Tomorrow I will start my deployment plans, the ones I make each time we go through this. No matter how long or short the deployment, no matter how unexpected the timing, there are always plans: clean this, organize that, accomplish this, learn that.
Tomorrow those will begin. But, tonight, this hardest night, I am simply sitting, sipping on a glass of red wine that would be much tastier with you here, listening to the silence of our home.
Missing you. Already.
Earlier, I tucked our daughter into bed ― yes, our bed (there goes not co-sleeping anymore) ― and read her three more stories than normal in order to settle her down and try to help her understand that, no, you wouldn’t be home tonight, or tomorrow, or the next night. I failed miserably at these explanations, in case you were wondering.
Instead, I watched her fall asleep from the rocking chair in the corner of our room, noticing how tightly she hugged your daddy doll and your pillow; she would not let me leave the room, and kept opening one eye to make sure I was still there.
Tomorrow I will make the bedtime routine a little quicker and use the time in the evening to finish the laundry, empty the dishwasher, catch up on emails, and episodes of Scandal… but tonight, it’s the first night of our over-half-a-year deployment and the house is much too quiet without you and all I want to do is watch our daughter sleep in the space where you normally lie.
Tomorrow I will worry about all the toys that we didn’t pick up today before bed.
Tomorrow I will work on my next piece of writing.
Tomorrow I will get in touch with our command families and the various support groups in order find out when the family meetings are held so that I can at least connect, occasionally, with other spouses who understand the unique circumstances we are in and so that our daughter can be with other children who are, like her, missing their daddies and mamas.
Tomorrow I will figure out which days of the week I will go to Target, the commissary, and the “regular” grocery store in between the days of Hula classes and soccer and neighborhood playdates for our daughter.
Tomorrow I will start putting together your first care package.
Tomorrow I will organize the office.
Tomorrow I will figure out what meal planning for one adult and one picky toddler looks like.
Tomorrow I will build a new fitness routine for myself, that includes twice-a-day workouts because… well, that’s how I roll (and you know that about me).
Tomorrow I will remember to mow the lawn and water the plants (hopefully).
Tomorrow I will start catching up on some television shows I’ve skipped in lieu of our spending quality time together and maybe start a few new ones to binge-watch.
Tomorrow I will (maybe) clean our bedroom closet.
Tomorrow I will start planning out the weekly and monthly milestones that I set for myself to make the time pass more quickly (a 5k here, a wine and painting class there, taking the car in for an oil change sometime).
Tomorrow I will worry about what I’ve missed: writing down a date for a license tag renewal, the date that recycling comes, an account number for the cable, or a due date for something I don’t even remember we have.
Tomorrow I will figure out ways to keep our daughter feeling connected to you these next several months, and you to her.
Tomorrow I will make my house cleaning schedule and write it down to actually hold myself accountable.
Tomorrow I will work on finding the words to explain the sadness our daughter and I both feel not having you home for dinner, or our evening walk, or our weekend hikes.
Tomorrow I will start to re-organize the spaces in our home that I’ll spend the most time in while you are away and that I know (and have to already smile at this) will drive you nuts when you get home (don’t worry, we can go back to “our way” when you are back).
Tomorrow I will re-learn what “solo-parenting” means and looks like for me.
Tomorrow I will still miss you, but will feel less sad about it.
Tomorrow I will start to “get on” with this new normal, this deployment life of learning to juggle the work-life-mommying balance without you.
But tonight I sit. Wishing you were here and already looking forward to seeing your face again — in many — too many — months.
On this first night of deployment, my love, I am sitting here missing you, but also thankful for the sacrifices you make every day to keep us safe here at home. I am sitting here missing you, but feeling so proud and honored to be your wife and partner in life.
And that will not change. Not tomorrow. Not ever.
Fair winds and following seas, my love. Or as we say here in our current home: Makani ʻOlu a Holo Mālie.
Your loving wife,