I was in the third grade and the queen of the kickball field. It was the sport de riguer of the time. We all would rush out to recess at Kachina Elementary School and take our places. I was the pitcher-cool calm and collected even when the big boys came up to kick. Except for one time….
He was big for third grade. I think he had been retained since he was already 10. But I had beat him before. He kicked with an oomph that resonated throughout the playground and then it happened. Instead of catching the ball headed right toward me, it hit me square in the stomach and I was down. I struggled as the wind was totally knocked out of me. It seemed like an eternity until my diaphragm decided to work again. I felt like a fish flopping on the bank trying to get my life back.
I survived and am here to tell about it. There have been other times when I have had the proverbial wind knocked out of me. It always seems to come at a time when there is a lot of other stuff going on, And Bam! Out of the blue comes a phone call that changes my world. That happened last week. In the midst of my mother in law’s declining health and a major move, the call came-another deployment on the horizon. And not a far away, “I can have time to get ready for this” horizon , but a “oh my goodness this is really fast horizon.”
It is not like I am a stranger to deployments. My Marine is currently deployed on the number 11 deployment for our family. But this number 12 is completely unexpected. He was off to six months of schooling, and deployment was not on the radar at all. And just like several of other surprise deployments, I found myself disoriented trying to get my bearings and find my breath again.
I am working my way through the milestones. It takes a few days to say it out loud without tears. Check. This is the year I asked everyone to plan on Christmas in our new home since “no one will be deployed. ” Christmas is now officially delayed. Check. Logistical help is being organized-moving the truck home, helping get paperwork in order, etc etc. Check. Getting my game face on, reminding myself he will be fine, working on being brave and strong…..In process, not complete.
I tell people the hardest thing about being a military mom is letting go. The second most difficult thing is knowing we are all one phone call away from life changing in a moment. It may be a new conflict far away or an act of terrorism. Or it may be a sudden change in orders sending your loved one to a difficult place. This is when we dig deep to find our guts so we can support our children wherever they are called.
I am digging right now. But I will get there. I have no choice. It’s what I have to do for my kid.
It’s not easy being a military mom.