The end is near

Tomorrow morning I leave cold, wintry Wisconsin, and welcome warm, tropical Hawaii. I am both excited and nervous. I'm nervous about the long flight with Fuzz by myself. I know my nervousness won't make it any better though, so I'm trying not to dwell on it. I'm taking the approach I did with labor. It's one day out of my life. Even if it's horrible, it's only one day, and then I get to move on. With labor and with this flight, I have beautiful things waiting for me at the end of it.

I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this deployment is almost over. We have done 14+ months apart. I have done 14+ months by myself raising Fuzz, and we've both lived to tell about it! Wow.

At the same time, I know that the end of my journey is just the beginning of other's. I know how they are feeling, but they will get through it, no matter how hard it often seems. Day by day, you just go through it and you do it. Usually you can't explain how you're doing it, you just are.

I attribute getting through this deployment on a few things. The Lord, Fuzz, and you guys. Let me explain.

When Stryker was on leave before the deployment, we were leaving a hotel in his hometown, and the TV was on. Neither of us were watching it, it was just noise in the background. It was one of those televised sermons. We never watch those, I don't even know why it was on. But like I said, it was background noise, and all of a sudden it was like the pastor was speaking just to me. He was talking about how people exercise and eat right, and think it's going to make them live longer. He said that of course exercising and eating right are important to make your quality of life better, but that your number of days are already predetermined. God already knows when your time is up, and all the exercising and eating right isn't going to change that.

This isn't the first time I've heard this message, but all of a sudden it hit home. What use is it for me to worry about Stryker while he's there, when his destiny is already written? I no longer worried about his death, because according to this belief, no matter if he was here or there, the day would be the same. This single thing is the difference between this deployment and his other two. Of course I prayed for him and his comrades, but I didn't have that deep underlying, debilitating fear like I did during the other deployments.

Fuzz's presence is pretty self-explanatory. She has given me so much joy and kept me so busy during this deployment. Yes, taking care of a child by myself was difficult, exhausting, and often frustrating. But oh, she is so worth it. And the sense of accomplishment I feel from doing all of this on my own is oftentimes overwhelming.

Finally, I have been reading blogs for quite a while. In April, I finally decided to start writing myself, and this community that I fell into has been so amazing. I did not know about the blog community during the first deployment. I didn't know that my feelings were normal, and expected.

Reading your stories, and getting so much support and encouragement from you all has made a huge difference. I feel like you are my allies. At times, you know me better than my own family, if only because you often feel the same ways that I do.

So thank you. Thank you for helping me get through this one journey of my life. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and love. You have become a special part of my life that I will forever cherish.