When the kids were sick and waking up every two hours in the night for weeks on end, I was a single parent with a deployed spouse.
When the dog got chunky because I couldn't figure out how to boil spaghetti, fold laundry, and walk her all at the same time, I was a sorry dog owner with a deployed spouse.
When I declined invitations to dinner, weekend playdates or impromptu gatherings because I hadn't one more ounce of giddy in my up to spare, I was Survival Mode wife of a deployed spouse.
When the kids and I had to squint to brush our teeth at night because I hadn't gotten around to replacing burnt out light bulbs, I was a lackluster House Manager with a deployed spouse.
When we made smoothies out of rotting fruit and ice chips because I hadn't been to the grocery store yet, I was a resourceful menu planner with a deployed spouse.
When I got to email, Skype, talk with my husband almost daily I was a lonesome bride missing her deployed spouse.
When I didn't hear from him for four days while watching the news about the political climate in areas he was expected to be traveling, I was no longer just a so-and-so whatever with a deployed spouse.
I became a Marine Wife today. It became real. I became anxious. We became involved.
Today my mind is not here doling out sippy cups and dog food (kids, dog respectively). My heart is not reading Biscuit Goes to School before bed. I am half here in my world of normal and half there on his foreign land of civil unrest.
And the last four days not hearing from him and not really knowing where he was or how he was doing? Not even close to what other military spouses go through. What I experienced for four days is only the smallest tenth of a percentage of what other spouses must feel when their loved one is incommunicado, in "the fight," or on a secret mission somewhere undisclosed for months and months on end.
I can honestly say I cannot imagine what they must go through on a daily basis.
I can also say with certainty that I never want to feel how that felt again.
We are all in this crazy messy politically ugly deployment together and as of today, I will never forget the people who go through the scary parts filled with the kind of worry and fear that preoccupies your heart and makes the air go narrow in your chest for an entire year. You are the heroes to me and if the anxiety I was feeling this week was anything close to how you feel every single day, then I will gladly babysit your children, walk your dog or make you baked ziti to put in your freezer. You deserve more than half a heart to work with while you maintain some semblance of calm for yourself and your family. The least I can do is call myself out on not providing my thanks for all you feel, deal with and sacrifice more often than I do. Thank you and may yours come home to you soon.