September 2, 2014 by comhomflt
Six months – half a year! It’s sad and exciting, all at once. So much living has happened without our LT….but it is great to be this far along – and past the half way mark, too! The pick-up truck on our kid-friendly deployment calendar has passed a number of milestones and is finally making enough progress to no longer be a source of discouragement when it catches my eye. There are still a few up-hills to climb until we can begin to anticipate homecoming, but it won’t be long before that little blue pick-up is closing in on the home stretch.
Six months can also be measured in the stack of letters I have accumulated – daily letters from my sailor in the desert, letters about work and kids and love and our future, letters with dates from March and June and August, letters from a unique season of our lives. After six months, I still thrill to open the mailbox and find them there, and on the days when I ache for a hug from my LT, there are all those letters from a guy who doesn’t enjoy writing; and I know I am loved.
The first half of the last month was challenging. We started school in July, and as usual, at the one month mark, it appeared that life was coming apart at the seams. (Thanks to my LT for reminding me that was normal!) It was harder to handle without the help of my LT, naturally; and at that same time, we were hit with a barrage of maintenance issues, mostly minor, and a string of doctor appointments. On the worst day – the shower head spraying in three directions, the school books stacked on the floor after nearly falling on top of me from a broken shelf, and no obvious solution to our biggest maintenance problem – I took the kids to the summer reading closing program, where I quickly found myself scouting out emergency exits in the event that my headache induced nausea overcame me. There, on a day when I would have gladly welcomed an entire bucket of dollar store prize trinkets, the girls happened to win BOTH of the only two prizes involving free lessons. Lessons that require transportation, child care, and time. Yes, that was the last straw. There was no “keeping it together, man!” I, who am not a huggy kind of person, accepted a hug in desperation from a random mom standing nearby. She has no idea how much that helped, I’m sure, as did her calm suggestion that maybe the lessons could wait until Daddy was back home. We made it home, and I barricaded myself and the Seaman in the living room and collapsed on the sofa until I was capable of making dinner.
Thankfully, things have only improved since then; and, in hindsight, even that day wasn’t so bad as it seemed at the time to my exhausted mind. The routine of school is stabilizing, keeping us steadily marching forward toward homecoming with each test taken and each read-aloud completed. A visit from my sister, brother-in-law, and lovable nephew filled a weekend with good conversation, laughs, and memories. A song that came into my head one Sunday morning reminded me that I can’t do this alone and don’t need to try, and then that song was introduced in choir that night. Needless to say, it has been added to my deployment play list and replayed countless times these last few weeks.
I could not do without Thee,
I cannot stand alone,
I have no strength or goodness,
No wisdom of my own;
But Thou, beloved Savior,
Art all in all to me,
And weakness will be power
If leaning hard on Thee.
And so, with the reminder that the strength and wisdom to continue well can only come from God, we plunge on into month number seven. September is also the beginning of our favorite time of year, filled to the brim with the anticipation and excitement of traditions and holidays. Excuse me for wishing summer away quickly, for being in a hurry to break out the fall decorations and the Christmas music, and for watching expectantly for the first hint of color on the leaves of the trees. Fall is the best season, after all; and the fact that each sign of its progress brings us nearer to homecoming makes it all the more exciting!