1. It's such an abnormal thing. Even though we life off-base, this is still a military-saturated area and I tend to forget that for 99% of the population, it's just not NORMAL to send your husband away for half a year or more so he can sleep on a cot that is four inches shorter than he is and get shot at during the day. That's odd. I mean, who does that???
2. Which leads me to my second point. Most people I know could totally do what I just did, and if we're being honest, most people I know would do it better in one way or another. I'm not Superwoman, I just did what needed to be done. More or less. =)
3.That being said, there is not just one 'hardest' part. The week leading up to the day he left completely sucked. That morning just dragged on and on and it was awful. Then we kissed him goodbye and it was one of the worst moments of my life because my girls were devastated and I got that pain in stereo. Okay, then that was over. Then there is the fact that he went through things about which he will never tell me and I will never understand. I will never be in a situation where other people are actively trying to kill me and a large group of people for whom I am responsible as we go about our jobs. That was a significant, life-altering experience for my husband and try as I might (and I will try, believe me), I will never fully understand that part of his history. That's a hard part that won't change over time. All the renegotiation of his coming home is hard, too, but I'll get into that next.
4. Believe it or not, in some ways it is easier being the only grownup. Stuff gets done my way and I don't have to get into discussions about what we're going to do after church or what we should have for dinner. While it is true that I don't have help with loading up holiday decorations for example, it is also true that I have been spared the not-minor headache of having to ask, give directions without seeming like I'm giving orders, and wait and hope it gets done. This sounds awful and catty, but that doesn't make it any less accurate. Being the only boss has its advantages. Also, I'm a textbook introvert, so hours alone at night (most of the time) without needing to interact face-to-face has been pretty great (all the extroverts are horrified).
5. Deployments make it really super hard to take your spouse for granted, unless one or both of you are complete jerks. All those tiny kindnesses throughout the days we're home together have been SO missed.
6. And I'll just say it...the money is not terrible. Federal income taxes are not taken from Paul's paycheck and he was also given allowances for being away from us, that there was a potential people might try to shoot at him, and another allowance for the high likelihood that people would in fact actually be shooting at him on a regular basis. We've saved SO MUCH - if you're an active duty family and haven't heard about the Savings Deposit Program, email me, do it. 10% annual interest, people!!!! Seriously!
7. Just know, as cool as all that extra cheddar is, it's still not worth it.
8.What is worth it? I mean, almost? That part is happening tomorrow. People sometimes look at me a little weird when it gets out that the best days of my life are all tied for the days he got home from Long Work and the days my children were born. In Normal People land there is no contest...here in Bizarro World, it makes sense.
That's all I can think of for now because, thankfully, I'm finally tired and will hopefully be able to sleep. I hope your day is great tomorrow! I know ours will be =)