Last Friday, we celebrated Adelle's birthday a little early so that Jesse could be part of it. There was a butterfly cake, candles, singing, presents. She was excited and thankful for her birthday party with the two of us.
Last Friday, I made a four-and-a-half hour trip from our house in Grove City to Fort Indiantown Gap, an Army base a bit north of Harrisburg. I took Jesse back from his too-short leave. I told him not, "Goodbye," but "See you later." I drove back that same day so that I could put my daughter to sleep that night. I was able to navigate my way back to I-81 and get on the never-ending stretch of US-322 between Harrisburg and Philipsburg...and eventually back to I-80, where I felt more at ease because it's familiar. I figured that that was the last time I'd see him until he returns from Iraq, and I felt peaceful about it because I had had the whole Christmas vacation to prepare myself for it. And I had the whole drive back home to sort through my emotions and pray about it and, well, just to cry periodically when I felt the urge without worrying if I'd be worrying Adelle or whether others would see the red eyes and tears stains on my cheeks.
This Friday (yesterday), I again found myself on that same route because I was given another chance to see my husband. They were given "liberty" to leave base from 8 in the morning to 7 at night. I didn't want to find myself spending over four hours driving east in my car, but I felt that if I didn't go, I would always regret not seeing him one more time. Because one more time could be all we have. It's so hard to admit that, but I don't know what's in store for us. I got myself from Grove City to the hotel in Harrisburg last night safely despite the impending winter storm. Spending today with Jesse was more than wonderful...but harder emotionally than I can say. Driving him back to base was devastating because each mile marker I saw reminded me that I was ever closer to leaving him there. I've been crying a lot as I sit in this hotel room, trying to occupy my mind with writing lesson plans for the upcoming week and searching for new ideas for teaching my students about Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. Crying to get the emotions out before I go back home to my Adelle and my work. I'm missing him already and hurting because he's so close right now yet I can't be with him.
Yet, I am choosing to try to focus on the positive. (Yes, I did say try because I know there will undoubtedly be days that I will lose my focus...) So, the positive things that I can see from my vantage point right now:
*Adelle is amazing and smart and beautiful and funny.
*Jesse loves us and won't stop loving us just because he's not close to us.
*We have become so close despite the distance and know what we're made of. (Though right now I feel like I'm made of a blubbering pile of jelly...)
*My family loves Adelle and me and helps us a lot.
*I am much more confident in my ability to handle driving long distances and in unfamiliar areas because of all of the practice that I've had of late.
*Because Jesse is making more money, we are becoming more financially stable and will be able to save money for our future together.
*I finally have curtains up at my house and have been able to begin decorating it. It feels more like a home now.
*I will have my Gannon grad classes to occupy my mind and keep me busy while my husband is away. Jesse will be proud of me for keeping on with this even though it's not easy.
*My class this year has become very dear to me, and I really enjoy my students! (Most of the time...lol.)
*I get to sleep in tomorrow, which is a rare treat.
*Jesse loves us and won't stop loving us just because he's not close to us. I know that's a repeat, but it makes me feel a little better.