Friday, May 13, 2011

Who Said It Wasn't Easy??

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
 ~Christopher Robin to Pooh

Isn't if funny how many poems and songs have been written about seeing our lives in retrospect? People have been wondering how they survived situations from the beginning of time. Yet somehow, when we are on the back side of something monumental, we are surprised that we survived. None of them could tell you how they got there - especially me.

This week has been one of those "back side" views for me. I've retraced steps I took in August when I felt my world was crashing down around me. Coming into town, I passed the hotel where we stayed and tried to make the best of a trip solely designed to say goodbye.  I drove past the barracks where we left Billy standing all alone as we took his car and belongings back to Texas.  I traveled the same highway where Kerry and I sat silently in the car and cried for what seemed like hours at a time. And somehow traveling along those same paths, my memories of the previous trip aren't as bad.  I've found myself thinking "oh that wasn't so bad." In fact, I think I even said that out loud yesterday. Why?

Because Billy is home.

After NINE months of fear, frustration, and gut wrenching sadness, the deployment is over.  No more waking up at odd hours of the night and checking my phone for an email. No more living with my laptop in every room at all times in case there's a gmail chat to answer. The likelihood of me bursting into tears out of nowhere will diminish significantly. And I won't have any more irrational thoughts every time something major happens in the world that *might* *maybe* *somehow* affect homecoming and/or the length of the deployment.

Yet now that it's all over, I feel like superwoman.  Someone get me some red leggings and a cape! I just know I can fly. Or maybe I can leap tall buildings. I don't know, but I'd be willing to try. Deployment shuhployment..... that was NOTHING. I am mommy, hear me rejoice! You'd never guess I am the same girl who has a neurotic mess last week. The one who isn't nearly as strong as she thought.

Yesterday the girls and I were there to see those buses come around the corner.....and feel the excitement as all those Marines came walking into the hangar to see their families. I'm sure there are a ton of great stories of guys seeing their babies, etc. But the only story I cared about was my own.  

The girls had their "Welcome Home" posters and took off running the second I pointed out Billy stepping off the bus. The looks on my kids' faces were priceless. They hugged and talked - and all 3 were smiling from ear to ear.  (Kerry was even there via Skype despite his having to miss the blessed event thanks to prom work.)  

Once the girls were hugged and hugged...and maybe hugged some more... I stepped up to get the last hug. (That was always my plan. Last hug means no one interrupts you. haha) Billy whispered my name as he landed in my arms.
And the sense of relief that flooded over me as our arms went around each other created a sort of amnesia about the heartache I'd felt for so long.  It was the deepest exhale I could ever imagine. 

It was a magical transformation. As though I'd never worried - and never felt anxious. Complete serenity.  Nothing else seemed to matter the rest of the day - or today - and probably not tomorrow either. Check with me next week and it may be the same thing.

Somehow, some way I found myself in that embrace.  My children were all in one place. Safe and sound. The missing piece of the Charee puzzle was put back in place, and I became whole again.