I received a package today in the mail. A decent sized manila envelope with a Virginia state return-address.
I knew this package would eventually arrive. Matt told me to look out for it several weeks ago.
However, there's no way to prepare yourself when you finally have it in your little hands ... how you'll feel ... the emotions it may spark.
I feel fairly confident in saying that we're making it through Matt's unaccompanied tour relatively unscathed. Although I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I have my moments. Occasions where I lose my cool. Situations where I wish I had a few more hands along with a little more patience. In all honesty, apart from the crappy rental house and longing for a permanent home (coming soon enough I know), this has been far easier than I had expected. Definitely lonely. But not gawd awful.
Nevertheless, today's little treat for the kids was a nice reminder that what we're doing for Matt's job, for the Department of State, for the larger picture, did not go unnoticed. That the families left behind while the spouse is on the unaccompanied tour are appreciated. That the kids are recognized ... rewarded ... and should be proud. And let's be real ... what kid doesn't like certificates and near-plastic medals??
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the mementos did elicit one other emotion. For while I recognize that the separation isn't always difficult for me, it obviously is for the kids. And for that I am humbled.
If anything, these little tokens help make these next 6.5 months just a tad more palatable.