4 and a 1/2 months to go... December sometimes feel really close and sometimes it feels hopelessly far.
Some days I also think I am losing my mind. The approximate 6,700 miles between my husband and I is not all that much fun, as you may have imagined. We've always had distance in our relationship, but this is a whole new level of distance now that we are married. But, nonetheless, I am trying to stay positive (rather than like smash everything in sight out of frustration). I've been trying to think up reasons that I could possibly be thankful for this 6 month period of deployment. And here are a few (in no order but the one they come to me in):
1) here is what I know about distance. People like to say "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and I am not sure how I feel about that one. I am rather fond of my husband in all locations, and I particularly like him in the same location as me but...regardless. I do know that when we are in the same location, I so cherish my time with him. With all the varied distances we have worked with, all of them have made me unable to take him for granted. For that I am thankful. Before he left for Qatar we only had 8 days together and our "honeymoon" consisted of a LOT of military required paperwork. A lot of people have been like "oh that is so sad, you honeymooned in Washington and did paperwork...". But I love just being with JoJo, even if it means sitting in the finance office, or signing papers, or moving him out of his dorm. Time with JoJo is precious to me. For that I am very thankful.
2) Being apart for 6 months is a good way to save money and plan for starting out our new lives together. For that I am thankful. It is a little peculiar that we will not have lived with each other until about 7 months into our marriage, but we are generally pretty peculiar all around. People blessed our socks off with wedding gifts, and that money, along with a fair amount of extra coming off the deployment, has gone into savings. We are so excited to start our new home, and the money we are saving right now will be hugely helpful. God's favor is incredible!
3) As I have said, throughout our relationship JoJo and I have been apart and apartness leaves us with not much else to do "together" but TALK to each other. A lot of relationships I have observed have issues with communication. While we are no means experts at it, one of the strongest things between JoJo and I is our ability to communicate. I am very, very, very thankful for the strength in communication that long distance has taught us. Of course, communication can always be improved, but we are off to a decent start! JoJo and I both had a good laugh in one of our premarital counseling sessions (he skyped in) when the entire lesson was based on communication. One of the first questions was "how much time to the two of you spend just talking?" Uhm...all of it. We then progressed through 12 pages of questions/topics we should have been sure to discuss before marriage. And we had covered all of them. Before JoJo came into my life my longest phone conversation with any human being (girls included) was 12 minutes. But now I can talk for hours and hours with that man about anything. Prior to JoJo I also had no skype account, but now mine remains signed in at all hours *just in case* my airman calls.
4) Deployments mean you can do fun things like...learn how to make cookies that fit in pringle containers to keep them fresh and safe and then ship them half way across the world to celebrate a 23rd birthday. Care packages are a lot of fun! I love sending mail and I'm thankful I can find cute little ways to send love in a box.
5) Strength. Getting married and being separated for half a year is no easy task. There is probably a reason that must people do not do such things after their wedding. But our relationship has always be a bit unusual, but throughout it all we have seen God's faithfulness. Distance has taught us both a lot about trusting God and his plan for us. It has also built a lot of strength into our relationship, and for that I am hugely thankful. Our love is deployment strong. And our God is even stronger.
I could continue sitting here typing up reasons for gratefulness, but this post is getting a bit long. I think I may continue with this topic through the next couple months. God is faithful. 4 and a 1/2 more months. 4 and a 1/2 more months....