I’m into the second half of our glorious and magnificent 9 month deployment (sarcasm alert).
So far these phrases have become my vocal soundtrack: Yes I’m at the halfway mark, isn’t that great. Yes I’m sure this half will fly by. Yes it does seem so much more doable since having him home. Yes it was fantastic to have him home, utter perfection, top notch. He is afterall my hero.
(Please note the continuing theme of heavy sarcasm above).
The truth is, having to say goodbye again after what felt like approximately 3.25 minutes on one hand /all of eternity on the other was not wonderful or magical.
In fact it was one of the hardest goodbyes we’ve had. Or that I’ve had, I don’t know about him as I’ve not really heard from him apart from being told he’s alive and on the ship. At least it supports my working theory that goodbyes don’t actually get any easier.
It’s supposed to be two weeks of leave, except it’s actually not. It’s 12 days of leave, with flights here and back out at ridiculous o’clock so it’s more like 10 actual days face to face with your sailor and the rest is him flying across the hemispheres.
Basically time maths came round and bit me on the ass! Time is not the navy wife’s friend. At least it’s not 50% of the time.
The pressure to do things and see people was insane. For 10 days I basically tried to present this Bree Vandekamp version of myself. This lasted approximately 20 minutes after he got back when Sweetpea had a meltdown and I announced I was getting myself a gin.
The doing things part wasn’t so bad, we went to the zoo, we went shopping, Sproglet had her first birthday party (I know I can’t believe it either), and Popeye fought his way valiantly to the bottom of the wash basket, (I had thought the exsistence of a bottom to the washing basket was just a myth or urban legend, turns out it’s a real thing! Just one I have never seen before or since).
And whilst we were doing things he realised, through the behaviour of our darling one and two year olds, that life at home is actually insane 80% of the time.
He realised why I don’t email as much, or in as much detail as I used to.
He realised why our house always has a surface level mess of toys/crumbs/opened wipe packets despite me tidying for a few hours.
He realised that cooking dinner is not a relaxing Annabel Karmel filled bonding experience, but rather an experience akin to Jason Bourne trying to evade the CIA whilst cooking beige food with the token floor offering of veg.
He realised that trying to reason with a toddler, and saying things like “calm down Sweetpea and listen to daddy” whilst she’s mid tantrum is like hitting your head on the floor. Which is ironically usually what the toddler is doing. He also realised I was right in that all you can do is walk away and ignore. *smug face*
He realised all this about our home life in just a ten day crash course in reality and was genuinely scared for me, and amazed that I manage to get them myself and both the girls up and dressed by 8am three days a week.
I was a tad smug. He was in awe of me.
And as for the seeing people- I took on board Peppers advice in her guest blog post and we took all the family visits in big hits, we saw all the family for Sproglets birthday and then saw the outlaws again another day for what was supposed to be a lovely day swimming with Popeyes nephew and our monsters but actually turned into a trip to A&E courtesy of NHS 111 advice for Sproglet (she had a rash but it was just from a virus- just a normal day in the life of parenthood 😑).
I’m so glad we took that advice and had people come to us/ went to see them in batches- to everyone else considering plans for homecoming leave or mid deployment leave- do this !!!!
We did all the things we were supposed to do, we had a wonderful alcohol fuelled date night, we had an blazing argument about pickle. We took zillions of photos. We laughed and I cried (he’s like a stone man or something and hardly ever cries) we did rock and roll things like rewatching Downton Abbey on box set and cuddled on the sofa. God damn it we did everything. In 10 manic days we compressed 4 months of relationship stuff.
It was exhausting. It was exhilarating.
Then it was over.
In the blink of an eye he was gone one night after bedtime was done. His shoes were still by the back door, his coffee cup on the side (Take That reference alert minus the lipstick marks), his toothbrush still left by the sink despite my nagging him to put it away for 10 days.
Now it’s back to work for me, and back to work for him.
We saw, we did, we said goodbye (again).
And I’m so glad he came home and we got that time together, even if every time I see the pickle now I have to stifle a sob.