January 14, 2011

On a Serious Note

While I'd really like to do a fun and upbeat Friday Favorites post again, unfortunately I feel like there are more pressing issues in my life to confront this week. Some are happier (wedding plans!) and some are not (a deployment), so buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen: this may be a bumpy ride.
Even though I've had a full 3 months to prepare, the fact that Dan's deployment is almost here (and creeping ever closer) shocks me every single morning. While he doesn't actually leave for almost 4.5 more months, he has to start prep work in about a week, which means that he will be in a town 3 hours away every Tuesday-Friday. Sometime in February he will be in another state for a few weeks taking a class (which he has actually already taken and passed....), and then in April/May he will be away training basically full time.
I keep struggling to look at this positively: the next few months will get me used to him being gone and make it easier when he really leaves, the deployment is (for now) only 7 months, this is something he needs to do for his career.... blah, blah, blah. No matter how I spin this one, it still sucks from every angle. We have been apart and done the long-distance thing a lot in the last 5.5 years, so I'm not worried about our relationship "getting through" this time -- I know we love each other and still will when all of this is over. I realized just last night, however, one thing that really makes this time different: while in the past I was living either at home or at school, this time Dan is leaving OUR apartment, vanishing from a place where I am used to seeing him pretty much every day. It is going to be so quiet and lonely with only the cat to talk to for almost a year. As bad as it will be, though, being apart is not even close to the worst thing about this deployment.
I'm a worrier -- always have been and (despite my best efforts) probably always will be. Over the next few months I trust that Dan's training will keep him safe, but I'm sure that once he heads overseas I will be spending many sleepless nights staring at the ceiling and wondering about his safety. I do know that he is incredibly good at what he does, but I also know that sometimes, no amount of skill or preparation can keep you safe in a war. Missing him is really going to be nothing compared to worrying constantly about where he is and whether he's ok. I can handle being lonely and missing him as long as he comes home to me in one piece after 7 months.
The specific timing of this deployment has proven slightly problematic as well, interfering with the wedding plans that we were trying really hard to start making. Right now we're working through our options and trying to figure out a "plan B" that is acceptable to everyone. The one thing we know right now: we both want to get married before Dan leaves the country. Meaning that we have to do it, at least on paper, very soon. Our main issue at this point is how to reconcile this with the fact that I am that girl who has been dreaming of my wedding since the day I figured out that boys didn't actually have cooties. I'm still really excited and I know that whatever we choose, the day (or days?) will be magical and special, but trying to figure out what to do has been a stressful process with a lot of varying opinions from all sides. So many people keep telling me that the only thing that matters is what Dan and I want, but I'm not really sure if either of us really know what we want.
So there you have it, the serious side of life. Not very fun or happy right now, but necessary I suppose. Some days, I'd prefer to be one of those birds that buries its head in the sand, but it seems that no matter how effectively (or not) I try to hide from it, the future finds a way of arriving much faster than I expected.


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