Something I once heard in a child development class (I majored in child development if you didn't know-talk about a lifetime ago!) about itty bitty babies is that until they're 8 or 9 months old, they've spent more time in the womb than outside it. I know it's a simple, obvious statement but it really impacted me and it's changed the way I parent. Although we strongly believe in attachment parenting, I'm not big on advertising or preaching it because I don't think it's the only way to successfully parent. It's just the way that works best for us. All that to say, I'm beginning to view the deployment in a similar context. Joshua was gone for 13 months total and it may take us...or at least me...13 months to fully process all that happened in that time.
I don't mean to sound overly dramatic. I'm just the sort of person that needs time and space to really process big events in my life. I can be spontaneous...heck, we eloped but then it's almost like what happens in those times of spontaneity aren't fully real until I can find a quiet corner to process it. I'm probably not making any sense whatsoever but that's ok...nothing new there. What is new, and I attribute it mostly to the deployment, is that I'm much more ok with not making sense. I've always been a people pleaser-concerned with how I looked, both physically and intellectually but with the deployment came a sort of devil-may-care attitude. The insensitive and downright rude things people would ask or say hardened me. Ironically, as much as the deployment hardened me, I also think it softened me. I'm more aware of my weakness. I'm more aware of the things that matter most. And I'm more likely to talk about both...to admit, without shame, my weaknesses and to embrace the things and people I love.
Deployment sucked. I hated every minute of it but I'm thankful for the things it taught me about myself, my marriage, my family, my friends...every aspect of our lives was crystallized. For that, I'm thankful.