You see, Bart's training isn't supposed to start for another week. But there was another reason he was urgently needed in DC, maybe, possibly, and that's why we've been waiting on DC before we could determine when he'd fly out.
So on Thursday he closed out his office, picked up his plane tickets and came home. And we waited.
It was almost midnight when he got the call. And that's how we found out we'd have 24 hours left together before he needed to skip town.
Yesterday was a blur of packing and list making and how-could-you-not-know-your-credit-card-expired-six-months-ago? Just a wee bit stressful - though, truth be told, not the nightmare I'd been dreading. Mrs. P and her ever-patient husband dropped by with homemade cookies - one batch for the traveller and another for the kids. Other folks texted their goodbyes throughout the day and into the evening. We ordered takeout and watched movies and played board games til late into the night, as the kids dropped off to sleep one by one.
My husband is pretty badass, in the sense that he's never been felled by a crisis. He's handled shootings and suicides and fires and people who've lost appendages in shredder accidents and all manner of catastrophes, and let me tell you: this is a man you want by your side in a crisis. He'll respond in exactly the appropriate way at exactly the appropriate time, and he'll always choose the right thing to do.
But last week, when I delivered the news that his daughter had been hit in the face with a ball, knocking her two front teeth out in a river of blood, I thought he was going to cry, he was that upset at the thought that she'd been hurt. When it comes to his family, I guess he's not so badass after all.
So you can imagine that it was very, very hard for him to say goodbye to the kids and me. There was a lot of buyer's remorse in our house last night. A bucketload of sadness and tears at the realization that this is just the beginning of a year and a half long journey.
It's "just" two months until he comes back. That's nothing, right?
We were separated for six months when he first joined up, but of course we didn't have kids then, so it wasn't quite the same thing. We spent a month apart when Shay was born. We spent two months apart when Aidan was born, and another two months apart when he was medevaced 6 months later. We spent a month apart when I was medevaced to Hong Kong after I went deaf. But of course all of those separations were different, because they were thrust upon us for health reasons. This one we chose. We actively sought it out. That makes it, I don't know, less excusable somehow. Harder somehow.
So right now my best friend in this whole wide world is winging his way to the other side of the globe without me, and I am thinking about new routines and new schedules and new everything. For awhile at least. Meanwhile, it's good to be here, because here, this is normal. My friends in the States don't necessarily understand what we're doing. But here: my military friends, like Mrs. P and Major Winerack and STJ have either deployed or sent spouses off to parts unknown, or both. My State friends are doing it now, or have just finished their sentences: Jen and Jill and Laura and Tiffany and Mary and and and. So all around me I have examples of people who are doing the separation dance, or have done it, with style and grace. And all around me I have people who know - who really, really know - what we're going to be facing here. People who will bring cookies or help with car pools or just listen on the bad days.
I think these two months will fly by. We'll establish new routines and settle in - before you know it, he'll be back and we'll be bickering about who forgot to buy the milk or something silly like that.
And then - the real fun will begin, as we start the year-long Baghdad separation.
For now though: we miss him. Of course we do.