APRIL 22, 2010 – DAY 102
Seven days of leave when in the midst of a year apart is not enough. I would love to say it’s not enough because of not having time for the fun, or the love, or the togetherness, but I can’t. It is often not enough time to make everything perfect. You want to your man to leave with images of perfection. The perfect wife, loving and passionate. The perfect kids, well adjusted and settled. The perfect home, clean and organized. The perfect budget, with room for flexibility. Unfortunately, perfection and reality are often far apart.
Richard got leave at the end of his training and came home for seven days prior to shipping out to Afghanistan. I had many images in my mind of how those seven days should play out. None of those images played out. I had to accept that perfection is an illusion and whatever issues that may have existed prior are just magnified by the pressure of time. We bickered a great deal. Argued about money, and he overspent, as usual. He was pushy and demanding and I was bitchy and insensitive. He didn’t respect our schedule or the need for one with me in a new job. It annoyed him when I couldn’t hang out with him late in the evening and it annoyed me he wouldn’t get up and have coffee with me. Everything was a big issue.
Now that’s not to say there wasn’t love or communication. There was. Lots of long hugs and kisses. He made it a point to do a couple of cool things with the boys. We ate out a couple of times and made a couple of really nice meals. It’s just disappointing when things aren’t as fabulous as you want them to be. When he left, I dealt with the guilt over feeling relieved that he was gone and we could get back on schedule and on budget. We both left each other with what we would like the other to work on in the long days apart ahead and lots of love. This is our salvation. We never stop working on this thing we call “us” and never forget the depth of our love for each other.
We also recognize this is not our first rodeo. We are experienced at riding this bull and taming this bronc. It’s not our first mid-deployment break and each time it’s the same thing. That desire to make everything that is not perfect suddenly perfect. Unfortunately, as long as a marriage and a family are made up of imperfect people, which they always are, many things are going to remain imperfect. I will always struggle with my weight and Richard will always struggle with his ability to let go. Sometimes our strengths bolster each other, but just as often our weaknesses feed on each other. Recognizing this is half the battle to overcoming that struggle. Keeping in mind that we know who we are, what we believe, and that we trust each other, keeps us grounded. Our most difficult struggles come from without, not within, and we have learned how be the ribbon winners at the end of the ride.