The longer this deployment goes on, the more it feels normal to be without my husband. I have gotten used to capturing memories on video or photos to send to him. I have become accustomed to sleeping alone in our huge bed. I can build, clean, fix or tear down just about anything these days. The missing him never goes away but it is so expected that it doesn’t stand out as much as it used to.
Its almost surprising now when something does give me that sharp pang and tears sting the back of my eyes.
This past weekend I instructed at the BMW Club driving school. I have been an instructor for over 15 years at this point – I know, this made me feel old too. I started before I ever met Rick and it took me a lot of years to convince him to finally take a driving school. Of course he loved it, I knew he would, and he became an instructor 3 years ago. Before that he was always my mechanic, a term that a fellow instructor once coined my “pit bitch”. Rick and I have been going to the race track together for over a decade. I am used to him being at my side.
Last fall there was a driver’s school that he missed but he was just down the road a few miles in training so he stopped by for the last hour or so of the day. He looked incredibly out of place in his uniform and boots but I still convinced him to get in a go for a ride, knowing it would be his last few laps in the race car for quite some time.
This past weekend however, he was thousands of miles away. I had to chose between towing the race car and towing the camper because I was only one person and I can drive only one tow vehicle. I ultimately decided on the camper so that I could stay at the track and not have to drive to a hotel. I de-winterized it, loaded it up, towed it down, and set it up all by myself. I sent funny texts during the process, knowing that Rick would get them all at once when he was able to get online. I asked and then answered dozens of my own questions. I made fun of the fact that I am so clearly self-sufficient that I’m not even sure I need him around.
The following morning I went to the instructor’s meeting and sat down to BS with some fellow instructors and it hit me that my partner in crime wasn’t there to joke with. The lump grew in my throat a little bit. Then one of the other instructors announced that he was sending around a card for us all to sign and send to Rick, our fellow instructor who was deployed overseas and couldn’t be there. The support was so awesome to see and I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed as I realized how much I missed him and felt so strange without him there. How appropriate that it was National Armed Forces Day that weekend.
Next week our son graduates from kindergarten. I feel like I am prepared but the ferocity of missing him still surprises me when it sneaks up like that. I think I will bring tissues… and make sure my camera phone is fully charged.