I know there is a day set aside for fathers especially but I wanted to take this Mother’s Day and thank my husband. First and foremost I want to thank him for the gorgeous little girl who shares half of his DNA. It takes two to tango after all. 😉
Second, I want to thank him for supporting me throughout my pregnancy, for every back rub, ice cream run, every night you cooked dinner, and reading to my bump when it was barely a bump. I know it is hard for men to realize their role as a father while their partner is pregnant but you cared, you engaged, you became a father when I showed you the plus sign on that test.
Third, for not backing down in the delivery room. You held my leg and you got in there and watched our daughter be born. Your strength is the reason I got through labor, the reason I found it in myself to dig deep and push.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, I want to thank you for the way you support my ability to parent. Our situation is somewhat unique. Your deployment means I am solo parenting and you have to be away for nearly the entire first year of our daughter’s life.
But do not doubt that you have a significant impact on her life at the moment. Because of you I find the strength to get up at 6 am after 4 hours of sleep (rarely all at once). Because of you I am able to present my kindest, most patient self when our daughter is difficult. Because of you she and I will never want for comfort and security. Because of you, I understand I must fill my cup before I have anything to give to our child.
Giving birth may have made me a mother, but you make me a good one.
I love you.
I hope that love finds our daughter like it found me. That the stars align to find her soulmate has been there the whole time. Waiting. Waiting for the moment when everything is right, when the complications of her life have resolved to the point of sustained happiness.
I hope that love whispers softly into her dreams like the scent of a garden wafting on lofty breezes trampezing through sun baked air.
I hope that love finds her with kindness, seeking to elevate her, hold her up to find she is worth more than she believed herself to be. That violence is blinded by the glare of a gentle soul seeking in her the self same care.
I hope that love finds her through the heart of a loving partner who holds her hand each time it nears their own. Who says, “I’m sorry,” regardless of who was wrong. Who nurses no ill will even to those who’ve done them harm.
I hope she finds somebody like you.
We have made it 100 days into this deployment. I feel the size of that time as well as it’s insignificance on the scope of the timeline of our life together.
Still I feel it in the loss of your smell in a T-Shirt you left on the floor from the night before. I feel it in the small rearrangements of our kitchen to accommodate my own needs rather than ours. I feel it in the contents of our fridge filled with foods of which you disapprove.
I feel it in the constant stretch of my heart as it pants to hold on to our love, our marriage, the intimacy of our conversations. I feel it in the grains of sand drifting from between my clasped fists as I try to hold on to this time with our daughter yet quickly get to that still too distant day of homecoming.
I fill it in the inches she has grown since you could cradle her in one arm, cup her head in one hand. I feel it in the grasp of her mind as she becomes more and more aware there is a world surrounding her.
I have survived 100 days without your nearness. I told you I would wait for you. 100 days, 1000, an eternity. Perhaps this is my Atlas moment but it is a weight I willingly bear for the promise however far of holding you within my arms again.
Here’s to 100 more.
A Soldier’s Wife
Today was hard. I wish every letter or poem I wrote to you could be full of encouragement and hope for the day you come home and most days I do feel those things. But not today. Today I cried. Today I broke down. Today I was weak. Today I needed you.
Our daughter is teething and the rice cereal the doctor recommended gave her gas. She fought sleep, she refused to breastfeed, I felt like a failure of a mother. I thought, if only you were home, maybe something you would have done could have helped her.
I always believed you would be a better parent than me. And now you are thousands of miles away, the more nurturing of the two of us, and I am the one solo parenting. I don’t know what I’m doing but I do it because there is no alternative. Our daughter needs me to forge on. So I push past the tears, the stress, the doubt, the loneliness and I find myself at the close of yet another day without you by my side.
I am tired today. My back aches from rocking her for hours. My head is pounding from the screaming. And my heart is heavy with the awakened ache for my partner, my help mate, my refuge.
Today I failed you, this deployment, and our daughter. But tomorrow is a new day and I will try, try, and try to do better, to be the strong woman you both need me to be. Because I know a strong support system at home can keep you safe.
I miss you a thousand times over. I just can’t wait until you are home again.
A Soldier’s Wife
Three months apart from the love of my life may not seem like eternity from the outside and the countdowns, the lonely evenings, the barrage of consoling quotes hyperbolicly excessive. But rest assured this separation is the most difficult thing in my life right now. We know the measure of this sacrifice. The length between us is measured in our longing. The space between when last we touched and the promise of kisses to come.
And when I saw you walk away on the dawning of the last day I felt truly alive I had to quell the swell of pain, the stretch of agonizing apartness we have never truly known. I still suppress it because it is overbearing to let myself feel the scope of how much I truly miss you.
And now all I have is the memory of warmth on my skin, blood flushing my cheeks, and the quick beating of my heart. I am cold without you. In stasis. Waiting for the light you emit to thaw the freezing of my veins, my brain, my momentum.
Because I cannot allow myself to be the person without you that I am with you. That person feels with too much open, raw affection to survive cut open without protection. But I can remember the person I am when I am with you and revive her on that distant day of homecoming when you resuscitate the stillness, bring alive my passion, the life that thumps beneath my chest. When two souls mated are reunited the world will come awake again and I will find restored the pieces of my whole.
This Saturday I have thought of you all day and of all the Saturdays we have been blessed to share together. I cherish the memory of those small moments of waking late, resting my head on your chest as we gather the wherewithal to escape the comfort of pillows and blankets and cuddling.
We used our Saturdays for big breakfasts sometimes. Pancakes, sometimes dotted with various fruits, waffles, eggs & bacon, or something entirely new. I liked to test new recipes on you and you always seemed more than happy to oblige.
We always seemed to be moving on Saturdays, our schedule usually full of some odd jobs or obligation. Invitations from family and friends piled up through the week. The stillness of my weekends now seems so peculiar when I think back on the flurry of those afternoons and early evening.
But the evenings were usually ours as we joked about being old people who preferred to stay in on weekends. Hearty dinners and curled up in front of the TV. Something on Netflix that didn’t always register because my eyes were so full of you.
And always, always I felt the magnetism of your body close to mine, the heat of your skin raising the blush of my own. Baby, from the very beginning you owned me in every way, my soul yearned for yours and I felt things I have never felt before. It was my awakening. I have to believe in soulmates because I have felt the connection between us so keenly and even an ocean and a continent away I feel you. The string of fate is bound securely from your heart to mine.
I love you. I don’t ever want the repetition of the phrase to diminish what I feel when I say it. I love you. I love you. The words drag through my veins and into my stomach, it is almost painful the depth of emotion those words pull from me because I mean them towards you.
My Saturdays are filled with caring for daughter at the moment, with waiting for your call, a few minutes of seeing your face pixelated on a tiny screen but it is still the most beautiful sight that fills my soul with delight. I know we will have these days again, so many more in the future. And one day I will have the luxury of reflecting on these as a distant memory of our long, beautiful life together.
A Soldier’s Wife