Last week my husband left for his final field exercise. As much as I hate having him be away from me and the kids, I have to admit that this departure was painless. This has a lot to do with the fact that I know the end is near. And to be honest, I really don't mind not having to share the bed! The training is almost over and we will finally be on our way to Okinawa. Something that has been in the works for over 2 years.
Unfortunately while my husband is gone, there was yet another wedding to attend. At this point in our marriage I'm pretty much used to doing things on my own. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, etc. After all what military wife isn't? This time the wedding was in Tampa, Florida. One of my husband's best friends from college was marrying the love of his life, and after much discussion I decided to go. That meant driving 10 hours from North Carolina alone with two children under the age of 5. Sounds fun right? Let's just say that by hour 5, I was a screaming lunatic in much need of a glass (or two or three) of wine!
So I packed up my trunk, kenneled the dog, loaded my kids, and off we went. Luckily I have family in Jacksonville which is about 6 hours into the drive so I decided to stop for the night on the way there and back to give the kids a little break from being pent up in their car seats.
Just a little back story, when I first moved to Savannah, Georgia to live with my husband, my aunt and uncle were like my second set of parents. When my husband deployed, and left me alone and friendless in a strange city I often traveled to Jacksonville to stay with them and my cousins. Over the last 8 years of living in the south, they have been a better support system than I could ever have asked for. If I didn't have them in such close proximity to where I was, I'm not sure I would have been able to make it.
Anyway, the stop over was just what we needed and it was so wonderful to see my family again. But as I loaded us up to make the drive back home, a horrible sadness came over me. This was the last time I would be here with these people, in this house, in this city, for a long, long time. This home away from home is going to be missed. As I drove out of the neighborhood, and out of the city I tried to soak up every last piece of scenery, and remember everything I could because I have no idea when I will be back. It will be a long time before I will be able to just get in the car and go. I wonder, will every goodbye feel like this? Will I have a deeper appreciation for what is around me simply because I'm leaving it for an unknown?
It is another on our list of goodbyes that must be said. Worse, I had to say this goodbye alone. I didn't have my husband to lean on for support. I didn't have his hand to hold. I couldn't hear his voice telling me everything would be ok and to talk about our next exciting adventure. And Lord, that was hard. The next goodbye will be both easier and harder for us. I will have my husband by my side for the next one, but who will be the recipient of our farewell? Does it matter? Moving on and away from those who matter to me will always be difficult, but a necessary evil in the life of any military wife. In order to PCS to Okinawa and go forward with much anticipated adventures I have to leave the people who mean so much to me. But I have faith in myself and my family that home is wherever we are, and it will be what we make of it.