Do you know how many days it is until November?
The average person would have a rough guess, but couldn't tell you exactly.
The women waiting for the end of this deployment, like myself, have the answer to this question calculated down to the approximate day, hour, minute & moon rotation.
Ok, well maybe not that last one.
We have 4 months until our soldiers touch down back in the USA. I can count that on one hand! A feat that seemed like it would never come, when the looming 12 months began. Now, we are on the 'home stretch' and ready for the moment I can start counting down days on that one hand.
Most say that the first year of marriage is the hardest and for us it definitely has been very difficult. Newlyweds separated by 7,000 miles complicates starting a new life of togetherness. But, I do think it will make our second year that much sweeter. Most couples get married, move in together and immediately get annoyed at the little bad habits of your spouse -- the things you only discover after sharing space and being together 24/7. And while I know that things will not be perfect when he returns, I don't think I will be upset if he leaves his shoes by the door, or his clothing in the dryer. Because those things will mean he is home.
And there is no place else I would rather he be.
It's disheartening to walk into a house and know his clothing will be hung on the hangers exactly as you've left it. His shoes won't be by the door, because they are aligned in the closet. You won't be welcomed by his smile or laugh. And he won't be there in the morning to walk you to the door to send you off with a goodbye kiss. The house is empty.
Even if other people are around, the lack of his presence is noticeable -- it's a constant ache in your chest. A longing that seems to grow, no matter how much you were able to talk that day.
And yet, my heart is full.
7,000 miles can't stop him from sending flower, just because. Or from crying with you, when your dad is in the hospital. It has no control over the prayers you both say for each other daily. Or the giggles you share over FaceTime. Separation doesn't stop our hearts from being poured out into messages, care packages, letters, and calls.
You have to rely on your patience, positivity, faith & trust to get you through everyday. The waiting, and the fear of the unknown, help you to look to God & to each other for strength. You count your blessings a little more often.
So if anything, I think this deployment has helped us to grow in our faith and allowed us a glimpse into the magnitude and power of love.
Because that's the thing about love, it transcends all circumstances.
*Next time I check in, my soldier will be HOME! :)