202 days apart and our family is back together again. I still can’t wrap my brain around the numbers. Derek was with Amy the first seven and a half months of her life and the next seven watched her grow up on Facetime. Derek has been away from us longer than with us in 2013. So many military families in our country how do they all do this? Everytime I missed Derek or felt sorry for myself I’d think about; the spouses who have to remain at their post and can’t go live with family because they have children who are in school, the deployments which are a lot longer than the short six months we went through and of course the families who have a service member who don’t come home from deployment. I think specifically of my friend Tracy, who lost her brother, and her family’s sacrifice and on going pain. Being without Derek was hard, and I had help. It was hard to make all the decisions for Amy and be the one who kept track of her schedule and needs every minute of our day. Yes, I had help with my parents but like my Dad said, “you have two helpers but it’s not the same as a partner.” I felt gulit asking them to do things for us and taking up their time and space. They enjoyed it but I know it was a joyful burden. I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without my parents.
Derek arrived to our home 5 days before Amy and I to prepare the house, our cars and to stock the fridge. He thought of everything; diapers, wipes, and homemade chicken noodle soup! Amy and I flew overnight and did pretty well. Juggling a curious 15 month old, carry on luggage and folding up a stroller was a challenge. By the end I felt I had run a marathon. When we arrived I went through immigration carrying all of it because the stroller was not given to us until later with our luggage. Ugh, seriously?! But we survived and Amy did sleep in her own little bed that attached to the bulkhead for 4 hours of the trip. It was a very nice break for Mommy (who did not sleep).
When we finally made it to Derek I lost it and savored the hug and kisses from him and took in his smell. I missed it all. Then he saw his sleepy girl. She still wanted Mommy and looked at him as if he was a stranger. That was hard but passed quickly. When we got to the car the battery was dead but we took the time to adjust the car seat, change Amy’s diaper and play peek-a-boo with Daddy. By the time all that was done the AA (not AAA here) had fixed the battery troubles and we were on our way. Poor Derek just got his girls back and we both slept the entire two hour drive home.
I walked into the house and it was very strange. It was all familar but at the same time I felt like a guest in my own home. We took Amy around for a tour and finished in her room where we put her down so she could play with Daddy and all her toys we had left at home. What a joy to watch her with her Dad playing in the nursery I so carefully created for her. The best part is how excited Derek is to be my partner in raising her. He changed her diaper and got her dressed for her nap. I felt this huge weight lifted. No guilt, after all she’s his kid too. Amy slept another 2 hours and would have slept longer but we thought we should wake her so she’d sleep at night. She had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep but finally she settled about 2:30am and slept until 12:45pm!!! Mommy slept till 11:30. Derek fed her breakfast and we took a walk to the park and to visit the horses. It’s so wonderful to be together again. We are still adjusting, I had to open all my drawers to figure out which one was my sock drawer but it’s fun and wonderful. Thank you all for your love, support and sweet messages throughout this experience. I am so proud to be Derek’s wife for all he sacrifces and the care he puts into his job. He’s truely amazing. Here are some of my favorite photos since being home. xoxo