I have hijacked Rachael’s blog to tell a story that is not new, but most definitely does not get old. While I tell her all of the time what I will say here, I wanted to commit these words to eternity so that when we are old and grey, we can look back on these times and remind ourselves what we have gone through.
Couples say it all the time that they have married their best friend. I know that I did. Rachael is an amazing woman who I am blessed to call my wife and the mother of our children. As I type these words, I am 124 days into an Afghanistan deployment (but who is counting?) and God willing I will be home in just a couple short months. Fortunately for me and the current job I hold, I remain relatively safe from harm but still get to witness the tireless efforts of the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and all the service members from the United States and across the world make a difference here. But for most all of us here, we have left someone at home whom we love and miss dearly and it is their sacrifice that makes mine pale in comparison. For me, that is Rachael.
When I found out that we would not be receiving orders to move for the summer of 2013, but rather I would be deploying again after only being home for 10 months, Rachael took it like a champ. When I told her the news, I asked her what I could do to make this deployment easier than the last. She said, “Just don’t get me pregnant!”. For those that know us, and those that read her blog, know that we were blessed with our son Timmy during my last deployment. While we both were so grateful for God’s gift, I knew for her being pregnant during a North Carolina summer, by herself, had to have been one of the hardest things that she has done…and she had been a Marine herself, so that is saying a lot. But she was amazing. With some help from family and friends, she brought that little boy into our world and kept his sisters in line for 10 long months while I was away. So not for a lack of trying, this deployment would just be her and three amazing little kids. I am no fool to think that makes it any easier.
I think that the two of us really just put off the reality that I would be leaving again as we didn’t do much to prepare ourselves for it. Maybe it was because we had just done it all less than a year before, or maybe neither one of us wanted to admit that no matter what, it would not be easy. But I have the easy part. I simply go to work and deal with Marines who admittedly may act like children sometimes, are no match for a 5, 3, and an 18 month old. But Rachael, day after day, does more than I could ever possibly imagine and I will never be able to repay her for that.
From the moment that she wakes up she has so many different roles to fill. Mother. Father. Cook. Maid. Doctor. Referee. Handyman. Disciplinarian. And that is all probably within the first hour. She is always on, with no relief in sight. Answering the incessant calls of children who have all that they need, but never what they want. I am not coming in the door anytime soon, and she knows this, but yet she powers through each day, raising those three little people on her own. She continues to give them enough love, affection, and discipline for two parents. We are not alone in this journey, and we know that. We are not special, and we know that too.
I can sit here and do my job knowing that she has it under control. And while there can be some bad days, there are definitely more good ones. And every once in a while she has the right to feel frustrated, but like a baseball player that gets knocked down with a high and tight pitch, she picks herself up, dusts herself off, and gets right back in the box to take whatever they can throw at her again.
I could not do this alone. Let me say that again, I could not do this alone, but she does. She has done more for our family in a few short years than I could ever ask for her to do in a lifetime. I tell her all the time that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make it all up to her.
She is my hero.