If you could read with your eyes closed, I’d tell you close them and imagine this.
You’re expecting the best gift you can ever be given with your husband. Your first baby. The pregnancy has been a rollercoaster of excitement, and fear of the unexpected. The normal feelings we get as new parents. However, the day has come and that sweet baby is ready to enter this world and you spend hours and hours delivering a healthy baby boy. He smells amazing and it’s the happiest day of your life. You and your husband are besides yourself with joy. Then; 48 hours after you deliver that precious baby boy, you’re husband deploys. Leaving you and your new son to figure things out on your own.
Meet Catherine. This is her beautiful messy life. Her son Jackson was born a little over 8 weeks ago. Her husband Stephen, is the LPO (Leading Petty Officer) of a San Diego squadron who’s currently on a ship maintaining helicopters. Catherine has thankfully been staying with her in-laws but even having that little bit of help is still hard and stressful. She wakes up with Jackson alone every night with the other side of the bed empty. If you have children you know how EXHAUSTING newborn life is. She’s getting it done like the INCREDIBLE woman now mom she is.
I got to sit down with Catherine and just talk to her. Talk about how hard life is. She’s still adjusting to all the hormone’s and the emotional roller coaster that the body still has in us after delivering a baby. She has really good days and then there are really bad days. Days where she wants to just throw her hands up. Days where just holding a crying baby throws her into a sweat. (thanks hormone’s!) When I got to her mother in law’s home in Chesapeake, Jackson has been through his 3rd outfit due to blow outs, and 3 or 4 blanket’s due to throwing up. He was fussy and hungry. I watched her juggle bottle making and keeping him calm in the kitchen. Bouncing, swaying and susshing at the same time can be really easy –but throw in mixing formula in there can be a task. I remember her finally sitting down and giving him that bottle and the largest sigh coming out of her mouth. I heard her mind say to itself “I’m just so tired”. I then remembered, how lucky I was and my heart broke just a little. Dominic was home for the birth of BOTH our girls and spent 2 weeks at home to help our family. Stephen is missing all of this. He’s missing the sweet gassy smiles Jackson does while he sleeps, he’s missing his first coo’s and watching him pee on the walls in-between diaper changes. Every time he cries at night, Catherine doesn’t have Stephen to tap out too. I couldn’t imagine.
I’m so grateful for these sessions. These sessions are a beautiful way to remember the chaos. When 20 years have passed, these sessions are here to remind you that these parents at home are ROCKSTARS. These sessions are ways to show a slice of life that the soldiers are missing WHILE they are missing it. Imagine if you are a parent right now, leaving on a plane and coming home months later to children who have grown INCHES their face has changed from a baby/toddler face to a young child. He’s walking, or TALKING. These things happen. They happen because LIFE happens. We can’t freeze this. But we can preserve these memories and that my friends is a Deployment Session.
You’re doing an amazing job. Remember every day when you wake up is another day you can pat yourself on the back. Why? Because you survived yesterday. Because your ONE day closer to seeing your husband again, to having your family complete. You are strong, admirable for the job you’re doing and we all thank YOU. Being a Military wife isn’t an easy job, add the duty of parent to that title and you become a part of a special secret like club. A club where no one understands your bad days except those in your shoes. I get it and I’m still in awe of you.
Hang in there. You’re doing great!