Pretty Sure This Wasn't The Plan
My husband leaves in a week. By leaves I mean, getting on a jetplane, bags packed...for Fort Wherever and then on to the Middle East. Maybe ten months. This is not his first deployment, but it is mine. His previous tours were pre-me, pre-our-dog, pre-our-kids.
He’s in the National Guard. We had no expectations of deployment. It had been years since his last one. He was being moved to Public Affairs (if ever there was an army role you would expect to remain firmly stateside). Ya know, writing news pieces. Keeping Facebook pages up to date. Learning to Tweet. Safely deskbound, hallelujah.
Then whoopsy-daisy, there’s this small Public Affairs unit, and the commander might no longer be commanding it. Not a lot of Army people with Public Affairs experience, did you know that? Even less with the requisite rank to command a unit. The VERY rank Boo has just received! What a fun coincidence!
(Isn’t it in the grand tradition of blogs to use a cutesy appellation to refer to your significant other? I call him Boo at home, so Boo he shall be).
What was I, four months along? Just emerging from seven hells of nausea, starting to see the light (the fridge light. First trimester sucks ALL the joy out of life. I can’t even eat a cracker without wanting to puke? What IS THIS).
First it’s like, well there’s all these other folks who might go instead. Well that guy won’t, for whatever reason. And that other guy. Wait, there’s no one left. Surprise Boo! A Command just for you!
I was two weeks out from giving birth at the Change of Command ceremony. I was an ambulatory watermelon, huge and high belly with a little head on top and limbs to propel it. It made me think of the Girl Scouts, synchronized motions, little speeches, traditions. We didn’t wear boots though, back in my day.
I especially enjoyed the ceremonial flag transfers. Stiff, Iwo Jima style poses, little plastic Army men pivoting with the flagstaff. Here, it’s yours! Take this flag, and with it, all the responsibility! Have fun in the Middle East!
The Colonel made a joke that he hoped I wouldn’t give birth at the ceremony. Hilarious dude. Just what every woman wants to hear. Excuse me while I chase down my two year old son and stop myself from spitting in your cupcake. Because we brought cupcakes. What are we, animals? We have to sit through this, let them eat cake!
Narrowly missing having a Leap Year baby, I gave birth to my daughter in the wee hours of March 1st. COVID was steadily marching across the States, and my city shut down two weeks later. Cue a fun maternity leave, endless days and nights alone. Did I mention that in his civilian life, my husband is a nurse? He started spending seven days a week, about 14 hours a day, at his hospital. My mother in law was my most consistent companion, several days a week. That, and my screaming children.
Who I love. A lot. Obligatory I Love My Children disclaimer, required of all moms after saying anything that might constitute a negative comment about said children.
So here we are. One week out, and my Working Mom of Two During a Pandemic title now has an addendum, While Husband is Deployed.
Pandemic. Deployment. A Pandemiployment, if you will.