Transitioning back into the bachelorette life (without the unmarried part) has had its moments. I have the hardest time writing or saying “my address” instead of “our address”. I’ve spent a few mornings dancing around the bathroom trying to get the zipper of a dress all the way up the middle of my back. Seriously – workwear dresses should be designed to be secured by the person wearing the garment. And I’m not going to lie – there have been days when I give up, fasten the top hook, throw on a cardigan and call it good. Nimitz has claimed Ben’s half of the bed, pillow and all. He sleeps like a little human. I moved some of Ben’s uniforms and bulkier clothes out of the master bedroom closet – part organization/de-cluttering, part emotional preservation. Cereal is now an acceptable dinner item, and I drive the Silverado twice a week to keep the engine happy. I’ve gotten some interesting looks when I step out of that thing in heels. All in all, we’re adapting well. There’s a hollow space in me that won’t go away until Ben returns, but that’s just how this thing goes.
Technically, Ben has been deployed for almost three months at this point. It’s been a gradual progression – I go back and forth on whether easing into it has been a good thing. Sometimes it’s just easier to close your eyes and rip off the band-aid, right? Our non-traditional sequence of events (we’re the most non-traditional traditional people ever.) meant saying goodbye multiple times (my least favorite thing), but it also meant that Ben was home for Christmas (the perfect present!). I guess that tips the scales in favor of it being a good thing. But now the training is over and it’s time for the real thing, the big kahuna.
Ben made his trek to the Middle East this week. He has traveled an insane amount these past few months – Oklahoma to San Diego to Chicago to New Jersey to Oklahoma to Portland to New Jersey to Germany to Kuwait to Qatar to Afghanistan. Whoa.
I went with a friend to see American Sniper today. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to see this film the day that Ben traveled to Afghanistan, but I’m glad I did. In some odd way, it gave me a bit of comfort to see something so relatable at this time in my life. The military life has its unique set of challenges that can only be truly understood by those who have lived it. As the film ended, the theater was silent. People clapped. It took a moment to come out of the story. I’m still processing lots of things about the movie, but the one thing I can say is this: I want to live a life that’s worthy of their sacrifice. That doesn’t mean that every day needs to be full of extraordinary actions; but each day should be filled with an appreciation for the freedoms and privileges I enjoy, a commitment to loving my neighbors and treating others with kindness and compassion, and taking time to savor the many blessings my life holds. 266 days to go.
“I’m driving down the freeway, it’s sunny and 72 degrees. I’m fine. But there are people dying over there and I look around and it’s like it’s not even happening. It’s barely on the news, no one talks about it. No one cares. And if I stay too long I’ll forget about it too…we’re at war and I’m headed to the mall. I don’t belong here. I can’t help anybody.” American Sniper