Every night while putting Aiden to bed I ask him what the best part of his day was. I love to hear the things that make an impression on him. Some days are so jam packed that I really wonder what he may remember and I am often surprised and impressed by some of his responses. Trust me, this nightly routine isn't anything unique or creative as I am sure many people have their own way of giving their highlights of the day but this is ours.
I thought I would document the best part of my day today. Not because anything earth shattering happened but because I want to remember this journey and the ebb and flow of deployment. The best part of my day was a phone call from Leif. While a phone call is always nice, it usually consists of a lot of "what was that?" "can you say that again" "are you there" "hold on" "I can't hear you""can you talk louder" "Aiden, please be silent, I can't hear daddy"...On one hand I often can't hear because Leif calls me between 1am-2am, his time when, he is ending his day and his roommate is asleep. He has been known to wake up in the middle of a sleep just because it is easier to get a connection off the ship. He wakes up, calls us, and heads back to bed...only to get up around 5:30 or 6:00 am...yes, his days are long! I also have trouble hearing because the connection is horrible and that is only when he can get a connection which is also unreliable. There is usually a 5-8 second delay which makes an actual conversation very tricky and filled with very delayed responses on both ends. And lets be real...with 2 kids on my end, silence isn't commonplace! But today Leif called while Aiden was in school, Easton was asleep and the ship was in port which meant a little less commotion.
So today we talked...I mean, we really talked. Kind of like he was sitting right here but he wasn't. We laughed, we had time to tell stories, uninterrupted, and without a rush. I tried to give him a glimpse into Easton's personality through stories, shared with him some of my conversations with Aiden and his questions about Daddy. Phone calls are tough...trying to figure out what is worthy of his short time...what do you say to your spouse/bestfriend when you aren't sure when the next time you are going to talk to them is or when the phone will disconnect you. I usually try to spit out all of E's milestones, what A did that day and ask any questions that I need immediate answers to. Today, we just conversed and I felt like we reconnected. For me, that seems to be my silent struggle. How do I feel connected to someone that is so far away. I often think about what he is missing and what I am missing...what he is missing is without a doubt the greater of the sacrifices (our children growing up) but I am missing something that leaves me feeling unfulfilled. While I am surrounded by the most amazing support system, I am also incredibly lonely! I try very hard not to cry but every so often I almost can't choke back the tears. I just miss him!
In some ways, our silly conversation today was like a filler...almost like a "fix a flat"...it doesn't repair the tire but it will do for now. The moments we had today won't fix my emptiness, it won't put him next to me in bed tonight but it did give me a little boost. I felt like I was able to just be me...Teresa...not mommy, not bill payer, "what can I send you" sayer, daily scheduler, problem solver, run the roads until its done woman, fix it, fake it, do as much as you can in one day momma...but Teresa. I was able to tell him about me and hear about him. His journey, his struggles, what's been good and what's been bad. We talked about the "key" to our success. How we are going to get through the holidays apart and how we will feel when all of this is over. In Leif's words: "If we can get through the next 2 months of holidays, we can get through anything" I've heard that before...why would this time be anything different! He's concerned about me, and what he can do for me and I am concerned about him not being concerned! "I've got this" and I do...even if I didn't I wouldn't tell him...but really "I do"! We talked about his homecoming and how awesome it is going to be to just hold each other....and realistically how hard it is going to be...no one ever thinks of that...I have been the boss, I run this house, I make every single decision for all of us...I eat, sleep and breathe my children without his help...he can't parent over the phone and I wouldn't ask him to...he has enough going on...but when he comes home you don't just revert back to the way things were 9 months earlier...EVERYONE will have to adjust and it won't happen over night! But talking today, it was so seamless. I honestly felt like a kid in a candy store and when we got off the phone I felt different. Reconnected to my man, reconnected to myself! I needed it. I needed that push. I needed to feel connected to him and emails just weren't cutting it. I needed to hear his voice loud and clear. I needed to hear his perspective. I needed to hear him laugh and be carefree and today, I did. That was the best part of my day!!!