Whenever someone asks me how many deployments or how much time Andy and I have spent apart, the most common reaction is an “oh, wow” or a low whistle of disbelief. We know that it is a lot of time, though it is less compared to others who are one their sixth or even seventh deployment. It never gets easier and is never the same each time. If anyone understands how difficult and challenging the time apart is, we do. At the same time, I do find something that gets bigger and better through every day apart – my love for this man.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grown fonder.” I thought that was one of those phrases that while cliche was also very true. Every time that Andy is gone, I miss him terribly. I miss everything about him – waking up to him, sharing the daily mundane tasks, laughing with him, kissing him, even stupid things like going to get groceries or arguing about how he left his cereal bowl out again. For some people, the time apart is too hard. Life alone and living apart takes its toll, and people grow apart and grow tired of doing it. I admit that Andy and I have plenty of moments where we hate this, and who wouldn’t? Who would really like to spend over half the year apart from their spouse?
In spite of the distance, my love for Andy doesn’t change. It actually grows. We fell for each other pretty fast and on paper, most people wouldn’t have given our young marriage much of a chance. We knew we loved each other very much and we still do. We have been together for over ten years now, eight of those married. We have grown up together while going through major milestones and challenges. Perhaps this makes us stronger, since we have dealt with all of it together and relying on each other. We both have a really strong commitment to our marriage and our family, even our extended families. We support each other, even when that is difficult. He is strong and protective, which I love even if I don’t always need it. We even joke of how funny we will be as an old married couple (we’re aiming for something along the lines of his grandparents, who cracked us up over their infamous fights over pen color). I get tired of time apart, but I never get tired of being married to Andy.
I wish I could more eloquently explain how much I love him and miss him. I spent years reading and writing about great poets and authors, many of whom wrote beautiful words about their lovers and unrequited love. Yet, all I can think to say of my husband is that I am just so happy with him. I love him so much it physically hurts sometimes. I used to be afraid of loving something so much, that eventually the other shoe would drop and my happy moment would end. After so much time together, the life we have built, the way we know each other, and the love we both feel and show each other, I feel lucky that I have found such a wonderful person to spend my life with.
And during the time apart, I really miss him. It consumes my thoughts and drives me crazy. The months never pass quickly enough, and I spend many moments of the day wishing he was here – to hold me and kiss me, to make me laugh and smile, to play with our kids and to recount the day, and to just have him here. There isn’t anything I can do to change it, but I still miss him. I can’t help it – I just love him too much to not be with him, even if we aren’t physically together. Now you all can see how sappy my husband can make me, too. Ah, the woes of a military wife…