So I shared this picture of a sad little woman made of a cardboard box on my Facebook page last weekend. It’s crazy how much you can miss one person, the caption says.
This put Amy, our managing editor, on full alert. “I saw your Lonely Sunday Jacey post … you doing OK? I mean I know you’re fine. But are you OK?”
Sure I’m OK. Of course I’m OK. I have done all the things you are supposed to do during a deployment weekend. I cut back hundreds of daffodil fronds and spread mulch in my front yard. My neighbors stopped to lean on the iron fence and chat. I took the kids to the pool. I did a couple of interviews for my thesis. I even got to talk to Brad on the phone.
Still, I miss him.I just miss the guy. I miss the guy all the time.
Deployment means that every time you are doing something pleasant or fun or different or seasonal or meaningful or frustrating or physical you miss the guy.Maybe that is just me. But I am thinking that whether you have done deployment 16 days or 16 times, missing someone is not the sign that the deployment is pulling you into a fetal position. Missing someone is not the sign of weakness or a failure to adapt.
My neighbors would find this to believe. They are sure that I am “used to it” by now. “You must welcome having a break from him,” one cheerful neighbor suggested.
I pity people like that. Who are you married to that you wish they would go away and stay away for months at a time?
Amy -- like so many military spouses -- gets that part. “Aren’t you so happy that you DO miss him? How horrible would life be if you were married to someone whose absence you enjoyed?"
That’s why I think the top sign you shouldn’t have married a guy is if you never miss him.I know that a lot of spouses cope by finding things about the separation to enjoy. They don't lay around prostrate on the bed pining for the guy. They fill the time proactively. They shut off that bit of their brain that pays attention to the absence. I respect that kind of thing. I can't do it, but I respect it.
Yet there are the people who actually enjoy the absence, anticipate it, pray for it. A lot. When their servicemember is gone, there is nothing to miss.
“I don’t know what you guys are talking about 'missing them',” one of my neighbors crowed during a deployment. “I’m having no problem with this. The time is flying by!”
And it was true. She looked great. She was full of energy. Her kids were happier than I had ever seen them.
She and her sailor divorced the next year. Because her life WAS better -- a lot better -- without that guy in it.
So maybe missing someone isn’t such a horrible thing. Maybe missing someone is a sign like being hungry or being thirsty -- it is your body’s way of telling you that you need to DO something else.
So I write my guy about his yard and his kids and his daffodil fronds. I drive his car and sit in his wingchair. When he calls we make our little plans for when he comes home. We dream our little dreams. And together we miss all that is worth missing.