Mike deployed this morning. I am so proud of that man and honored to be his girlfriend. Getting ready for him to leave was so hard. He had so much packing to do and we stayed up most of the night getting his things together. Daisy was quite sad that her playmate was leaving -- I am convinced that she thinks that he is a dog the way the two of them wrestle, snarl, and growl at one another.
I went back and forth between baking chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars (which apparently were a huge hit with the guys he deployed with so check out that recipe HERE) and weaving molle through his plate carrier. Once I got the hang of it, it seemed pretty simple to me, just like weaving a pie crust lattice! We finally finished packing up his bags and Mike took them down to his truck and I took Daisy and went to bed for the night.
I woke up this morning and we didn't even have time to blink. With him deploying I kept going back and forth between wanting to love him every minute and smile and laugh and give him happy memories to look back on, and wanting to cry and cuddle up in a ball and have him hold me. But the truth is, the concept of deployment doesn't really hit you until they are gone. Until they say goodbye, give you one last hug and kiss, and walk away. I dragged my exhausted body out of bed and plugged in my curling iron. I brushed my hair and methodically gave each strand some waves before putting on minimal makeup and slipping into a dress I had bought for saying goodbye. Its funny how you dwell on, brood over, and stress about the silliest little things when your man is about to deploy. I thought about what I would wear in the pitch black hours of Sunday morning for far too long. My favorite dress, a red knit A-line number with a swirling skirt thats perfect for twirling I had decided to save for when he came home. That left me with this one. It was shorter than I would have liked for that cold morning, but it did the job and made me smile as I put it on. Reminiscent of the 1940s, the navy blue background scattered with jumbo white polka dots couldn't help but make me smile. Mike said I could just wear PJs, but I didn't want him to remember me looking a mess before he left.
We were out of time, we headed quietly down to his truck, hopped in, and drove to post. I counted so many street lamps on the way there, Farther Along by Josh Garrels fading in and out in the background of my perceptual periphery. My stupor was broken only by the gate guard laughing at Daisy Mae in my lap and her lack of an ID card. With that we were on post, and that was it.
You can prepare for it mentally, you can pray for him and his family and for your strength and patience, but you will never fully get that feeling that he is gone until that night. The house is quiet. Your dog is asleep at your feet. Maybe you are wearing an article of his clothing, but no matter what, you feel EMPTY. I got home, and my day was intentionally filled with things to do, but that evening, I felt so alone. I had finished cleaning up all of his gear -- left haphazardly strewn across every square inch of open carpet in the apartment. I had re-organized all of his things in his closet -- labeling his boxes with descriptions such as 'baby wipes', 'misc army things', 'uniform misc', etc.
It had never looked so good.
The floor was clean, the bed was made, the closet was organized, and all of the old uniforms were packed up, folded, and placed into their own duffel bag in storage.
It had never looked so bad.
I hated it. I sat down on the edge of the bed and it hit me how much I missed him and his mess. He was gone. Everything that reminded me of Mike I had just organized and cleaned. I walked into the kitchen and noticed a pair of sneakers that had escaped my scrutiny upon initial survey. I sat down on the floor and cried. I left them there and I will probably leave them there until he comes home. I know he took them off of his feet and placed his socks inside and left them right in the very spot that they left his feet, but today, thats ok.
Today, I'm ok.
'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"'
~ Isaiah 6:8
#deployment #army #armylife #northcarolina #goarmy #armyblog #armyphotographer #photography #photographer #ncphotographer #ncelopement #love #radlove #lovestories #ncstate #armygirlfriend #armywife #afghanistan #packingfordeployment #packing