My little girl was born and one week later the ship deployed.
In the mean time, I barely remember the week in between. I know Jason packed. I know that people visited. I know time passed.
April 1st arrived, and we headed to the base to see the ship off. I HAD TO be there. I had responsibilities...to the CO, to the other wives, to my childreen, to my husband. I didn't realize how hard it would be on me. I expected it to be hard, emotionally....but I didn't expect to be STANDING for 3 hours on the concrete pier, holding my 1-week-old baby, and corralling the other 4 children.
The ship finally left, and the kids and I made our way back to the car and headed home. It was close to lunch time. I got lunch for the kids, and called my midwife. I was concerned about how heavily I was bleeding. Evidently she was concerned, too, because she made me promise to take a nap, and then she called my neighbor to come check on me. She also let me know that I was running the risk of having to go to the hospital....and I knew I couldn't afford THAT. I needed to be home with my kids.
The midwife talked to someone at our church, and activated a huge support network. For the next several weeks I had more help than I knew what to do with. People took turns taking my older 4 children for activities....to the park, the aquarium, to their houses, out to eat. Young couples came and cleaned the house for me. I also seem to remember 6 WEEKS worth of meals. All I had to do was take care of myself and my baby.
After surviving those first few weeks of the deployment, I somehow thought the rest of the deployment would be easy. RIGHT.
Beforehand, we had put a great support network together. We thought we were prepared for every possibility.
There really is nothing like a deployment to help a military wife earn her stripes. During this deployment, I experienced WAY more than I ever thought possible.
I dealt with:
a broken bone in my foot
a broken collar bone in my 2-year-old
a broken windshield
a broken washing machine
a wife who threatened me
my husband ending up in the hospital on a heart monitor
a wife who had her children removed from her home
various gossips and other irritations
my dad, brother and sister visited
my sister stayed for a month
In August, my Father-in-law was retiring from the Marine Corps, after 32 years...and my husband was going to surprise his dad to be there. I decided that I would be there too. I loaded up all 5 kids and my sister, and drove to Austin to meet Jason's uncle, and we caravaned to South Carolina for the party. It was good to see all of the extended family, and we returned my sister, and headed back to Texas with Jason.
I learned a lot that summer....things that would stand me in good stead in the years to come.