Monday, November 26, 2007

Apart at the Seams

I feel like I've been holding myself together pretty well, all things considered. I think after all these years I've learned how to keep my outer shell very well preserved.

I am a strong woman. I can get through anything, mostly because I have a tremendous amount of love in my life.

Or at least that's what I tell myself.

But lately I've felt like my tough outer shell is starting to crack. Today I felt like all this rain has seeped into those cracks. And for a moment today, I felt like the cold had turned that rain to ice and my tough outer shell had shattered completely, falling away from me piece by piece.

Nothing big set it off. That's not usually the way it happens.

Today I bit my lip.

That one moment of pain made my eyes tear up. But once I had let go of that tiny bit of control, all of the pain I've been burying came pouring out.

I had myself collected and patched up again within five minutes, but it was a little scary to realize just how tenuous my control really is.

My husband has been in Iraq for over five months now. His return date has been pushed back to mid January again. I've been noticing how much the little things are slipping away from me. I've forgotten to pay certain bills. I can't remember appointments. My son has been more than a handful lately. I get mad at the drop of a hat.

And just when I'm really starting to enjoy my little pity party, I'm brought back to reality.

This is hard to explain, but first of all, I feel a lot of guilt over my husband's service. I can't help but think about the families whose loved ones are deployed for fifteen months, or more, at a time. I can't help but think of all the service people who never come home. I can't help but think about the danger that so many military folks are in every day.

And my husband only has to go for seven months. And he was lucky enough to get pulled off of a convoy unit and into a leadership position. And yes, he's been deployed four times, but never for more than seven months.

I feel a tremendous amount of guilt that my life is so easy! It could be so much harder.

It might not be rational. But it is the way I fee.

It will take more than a little ice in the cracks to permanently destroy my outer shell. It's too important to too many people that I stay strong.

Seven months apart really isn't a long time when you're in your thirties and you know you have many happy years ahead of you. I certainly haven't lost anything. My husband and I share a bond stronger than ever.

Its' a bond strong enough to hold my outer shell together. No matter what the weather. No matter who tests its strength.

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