Last week we had Caroline's birthday celebration. It was Minnie Mouse themed and in true Caroline style, a bit over the top. Guests came in from Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio. We had a wonderfully full house and time passed too quickly.
As emotional of a time this is for me by its self, Matthew's deployment weighed on my mind and put a damper on how much I would allow myself to enjoy. He left today. I've been in denial. I have put on my smiling face and laid out black and white details for the the kids. When I took Parker to school this morning he got out of the car and told one of the handlers "my Dad is gone, he's not coming back"...and all of the raw nerves and emotion I'd put neatly away came barreling to the surface. Parker sometimes says things to get a rise out of me in 4 year old fashion. There was something sad about how he said the words. There was a blistering finality to them. He's mourning. We all are. Honestly, our lives won't be much different without Matthew around. His work schedule pre-deployment was so chaotic that he barely spent an entire hour with the kids most evenings before putting them to bed. So I'm not sure why I had to pull over on the side of the road leaving Parker's school this morning. Or why those words cut so deep.
Looking forward to his return is a luxury I don't have. Very soon after he returns from this deployment, we take Caroline back up to Children's National for her third open heart surgery. I can't put into words how anxious I am about this next step, or how hard it is to focus on taking his absence one day at a time.