It’s been almost thirty days since my husband left for a completely impromptu army training. He was one of the last in his group to know about it, so by the time we found out, we were given about five days to prepare. Five days to say our good-byes, cram in little bits of summer activities we promised the kids would happen before school started, and get everything that he would need packed. I also only had those days to mentally prepare myself for switching to “single-mom status” for a whole month, and it was a lot to digest.
Yes, we had been apart before for trainings in the past, but my husband hasn’t ever been deployed and has only ever had training that lasted at most three weeks. This would be the longest we’ve ever been apart after marriage and kids, and to be honest, the thought was giving me a lump in my throat.
I know that plenty of women live their lives without a partner or have an almost full-time traveling spouse, and I think you all are amazing and role models for me.
Parenting alone is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, but when in this situation, you don’t have any other choice but pushing onward.
So that’s exactly what I did, and it ended up being a huge life lesson for me.
I learned that I can do it.
I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life not taking big risks because of fear that I won’t be able to meet whatever goal it may be. I’ve missed out. I’ve sat on the sidelines. I’ve looked back and wondered “what if?” This is something that I will never do again.
While my husband was away, I had amazing days and I had hard days with my kids, work, and just the fact that I was missing him so much — but I got through it. These thirty days have taught me that I truly can accomplish anything I put my mind to, and it feels pretty good to know that in my gut. Moving forward I will be living my life to the fullest.
I learned that I have more patience than I actually ever thought possible.
Oh there were some trying days! Days where my daughter wouldn’t sleep at all through the night, my son was defiant against anything and everything I told him to do, and as a whole, my house never seemed to get clean. The “normal” me would rush to resolve all these issues, further stressing myself out — but the new me took a deep breath, embraced the chaos, and took on life in order of most important to least important.
I learned that I could appreciate my husband in a completely new way.
I love my husband, but boy does he test me some days. They say that opposites attract and that’s completely how our relationship is. So when I’m not learning something new from him, he’s doing something that’s bugging me. But you know who I would call or text when the going got rough? Him! I mean, I do this even when he’s just a few miles away at work, but I appreciated the way just his voice could calm me down and get my son to listen from afar. He’s magical.
I learned that I can make quick decisions on my own.
I consult with my husband about everything. We make pretty much all decisions together, but with him being away for so long, I needed to make some on my own. There was a part of me that just wanted to stay inside and work each day to consume my free time and keep me from missing him, but I knew that wasn’t best for my kids. So I made a spontaneous choice to do the complete opposite and travel to Pittsburgh and Ohio to visit family to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday and I survived — all on my own.
I learned that I am strong.
This was by far my biggest takeaway from our month apart. I had to be strong for my kids and strong for myself, and while I worried that I wouldn’t be, my strength completely shone through. Whenever you are tested in life, your truest self comes forward so you can conquer it all.