Today marks exactly six months to the day that Matt has been in Baghdad, Iraq.
180 days behind us. 180 days to go.
Sometimes it feels like the time has gone by so fast that I know when I blink my eyes we'll be moving into our new house in Virginia. And other times, the days drag on so slowly that I literally count the minutes until it's time to put all three kids to bed.
I've learned a lot about myself in Matt's absence. I enjoy having total clicker control and have a renewed adoration for chick flick TV. I love to sleep diagonal in the bed. I don't miss the extra laundry. It takes me about two months to go through a large tube of toothpaste, and about three months to go through one bottle of shampoo. Oh, and I'll never get white slip covers for the couches.
I also discovered when I don't get any breaks, that my patience is sadly very thin. I've managed to make-do with our simple meal preparations, but really yearn for someone to appreciate the effort I go through to get a well balanced dinner on the table. In fact, there's a huge void in our house of grandiose dinners and at-home entertaining. And as much as I can handle just about anything ... I don't always look forward to doing it alone.
That's really where the biggest challenge of our separation comes into play. Being apart from Matt is very lonely. Sure we talk every single day. Sometimes twice a day. Or four times a day when we were house hunting. We Skype as often as the girls are willing to sit still (read ... not very). We email every day. But from about 7 pm until I go to bed, I feel the void. I feel it even more when I lay down every single night in my lumpy queen sized bed. Alone.
Lest you think I'm crying in my Cabernet every night, let me reassure you that I'm not. I absolutely have my moments. Sometimes even my days. But for the most part, I feel blessed for the opportunity to rediscover myself. To reinvent the person I once was many years ago ... before kids ... before we moved overseas. I have the chance to do a lot of soul searching. Which takes time. A precious commodity that I am willing to spare.
As I reflect on these past six months, I realize that I would not be where I am without our family. Nor without the cohorts going through similar situations here and abroad, who I've been connected with via the State Department yahoo groups ... and through Facebook ... and blogging. Or without the friends, who have stuck it out while we've lived overseas, reaching out from near and far, making any effort to stay in touch ... while sometimes getting so little in return. And especially not without those who continue to help me in ways that may seem so minuscule, but are so endearing to me.
The cards, the notes, the emails, the texts, the phone calls ... they don't go unnoticed. And I appreciate them more than you'll ever know. I gush, therefore I am.
But the question still begs. As I sit here, looking forward to Matt's second R&R next week, I am able to make out a tiny little light at the end of the tunnel. Or is it much larger than I originally thought.
And I continue to wonder ... is the glass half empty or is it half full?