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And then the roof falls in

Submitted by on Monday, 22 November 2010 No Comment

You hear the stories about women blasting the water in the shower to hide their weeping, and you think it won’t happen to you. You’re strong. You’re resilient. You can handle this.

And for months on end it’s pretty true, except for the day when your husband leaves, the house floods, the fridge dies and the kids are hysterical. All before dawn.

It’s not that deployment is easy. It never is when you’re missing a Dad-size chunk out of your household and worried about his safety. It’s often lonely around holidays and birthdays. Even Elmo can trigger a flood of tears for the guys.

But neither is it totally agonizing on a daily basis. This is our life right now. Deal with it.

Then one day, it winds up dealing with you.

That day for me came Friday, when I woke up with an elephant sitting on my head and razor blades in my throat. I’d spent Thursday night in the emergency room with Big Guy, so I did manage to squeeze in a morning nap. The day was downhill from there.

By the time we went to the guys’ school to pick up Big Guy’s homework from his asthma-induced vacation, the world had started to spin. As soon as we got home, I plopped on the couch and watched the guys play video games for hours. By night I could barely raise my head. “Time to go to bed,” I muttered.

“But … but … but …” they started.

Yeah, I know. Friday is our special night, especially when we don’t have to be anywhere on Saturday morning. This time, though, I couldn’t handle it.

Just go to bed,” I barked, getting compliance that for once was so instant that I felt instantly guilty. “I’ll feel better tomorrow,” I said, more softly. “I promise.”

“You can’t promise,” Big Guy said skeptically.

“Yes, I can,” I said. Because I have to, I thought. “Just wait and see.”

Saturday looked like it was going to be a repeat. My temperature still was 104 when I woke. I took Motrin and tried to rally, but I was happy when a private party aborted our planned craft center excursion. My clothes were drenched in sweat after only 20 minutes off the couch.

We got home, and they went back to the video games. I went upstairs and turned on the shower. Then I cried behind the locked door.

If the guys had seen me, they would have thought I was distraught over the craft center. But it wasn’t that at all. It was the end of a week where I’d had Big Guy to the doctor three times, all while battling a bug myself. I, who gets sick only once every other year, was ill at the most inconvenient time.

Suddenly, it seemed like the 11 months since Dad had left were an eternity and the scant few months remaining on his deployment might as well be an eon. The piles of dishes and the laundry bugged me, but not enough to do anything about either. The weekend of fun we’d planned had disintegrated under the weight of Mom’s pity party and bad attitude.

The tears were shame mixed with release. And once it was over, it was over.

We went to a movie that night and the craft center the next day. The scant few months left on the deployment no longer seem all that long.

But here’s a word to the wise if you’re in the early stages of deployment and you think this won’t happen to you. It will. It merely means you’re human.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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