The Twelve Year Deployment

(June 2012)

What is the essence of Love? Does love have a beginning, or like the surroundings upon first awakening, does it just come slowly into sharp relief? Today I opened my eyes to Love in a new way.
Nothing has changed. She is still on the other side of the ocean. I am still here with the kids. The sky is still blue. It is still June. My breathe slips in and out of my lungs like the tide filling a tide pool of anemones. A moment ago I was crying bitterly about the futility of existence and the timeline of separation that stretches far and solitary in the distance with no end in sight. Right now, I am in suspended animation, “time” has stopped, and I examine Love In the palm of my hand with strange curiosity.
The 3rd day after I met her, I knew that I loved her. There is more beginning to this story, but we won’t quibble with details now. I told her on the 4th day when she was flying home I was “in this for the long haul and hoped she realized this”. This was a bold proclamation to make to a Sailor; a naive one, with little knowledge of the military and even less, to how DADT was going to affect our lives. What I pledged that day was that I would brave through her next 12 years of service by her side, and be there at the end.
And going into our 4th year together, we have 8 more years to go. When I say three years “together”, that is to say our souls have been joined and committed together. We have never lived together, shared a whole toilet paper roll, or stayed under the same roof longer than a milk’s expiration date. It may be 8 more years before we really do. Even after DADT and the big celebration that it was: ours is an anomaly that can’t be contained into a neat checkbox.
Before my Sailor, I had two children, and share joint custody with the father of my youngest. This reality has been a bur, a taint, a wedgie of the highest order, in our plans to be together, to move together, to be a family under one roof. It’s when I look at the stability and happiness of my daughter, happily going back and forth between two houses, as it is almost all she has ever known, I feel the full weight of parenthood sacrifice.

Even when DOMA crumbles and the military grants partners full benefits,(A HUGE Step Forward we do NOT take for granted!) Our family will remain here. The war started and ended within my own heart and I tore my insides to shreds fighting this reality that I had taken part in choosing.
In this here , in this NOW, I choose to make peace with my heart. I choose Love. I chose Her. I choose my children. I will quit fighting my Sailor over the reality that is of my own choosing. I will quit fighting the ex over the choice I made to be in joint custody. I choose Love, and ours does not come wrapped neatly in a cute little paradigm. Our family will ALWAYS be different. I need to accept that. I need to make peace and let go my desire for the white picket fence, 2 dogs, raising the kids together reality.
1) “Welcome Home” and “I will see you soon” at airports.
2) Holding tight and sucking the marrow out of every kiss, embrace, breath and moment of life together. Living in the moment as much as possible: the Here and NOW.
3) Mammograms scheduled 8,000 miles away and making sure she gets to it.
4) Rooting and cheering each other on in each of our endeavors, rejoicing in each other’s victories, sympathizing in each other’s let downs.
5) a military edition “Etch a Sketch” calendar to post future events on: always subject to change.
6) Phone calls and Skype dates at 6 am and 12 midnight, and 3:30 in the afternoon. Also subject to change.
7) Lots of laughter, songs and email sent to one another, telling each other “I thought of you when I heard this today” or “What do you think about this article? “
8) Sending and sharing books, secrets, and longing.
9) Dreaming and scheming our next “million dollar idea” .
10) Wanting to be with each other over anyone else, my confident, my best friend, my most intimate Lover. Never having to guess or question that it has changed.
Right now, I have the opportunity to live my own independence, seek my own career, and build within my own community. In this, I am eternally lucky. I love living here in the Central Coast. I love building a life with my kids. I love enjoying time with friends and my parents. Gratitude is enjoying what I have in front of me. Today I have awakened to loving Her, my family, and our situation for exactly what it is today, in this moment, and whatever it will be tomorrow.
*** Happy 2013 Update: The END of DOMA and Prop 8!!! Married in July….Still in two different houses, but only hours away! We now have seen expired milk together.

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