Recognize this dialogue? If you're a fan of Disney's Robin Hood you might. Lady Cluck is trying to reassure Maid Marian that her long, lost love will still have feelings for her. This exchange has stuck with me for, oh, 23 years or so. Truth be told, I watched this movie so many times I could probably still quote it word for word.
What does that have to do with the CG?
Well, as you may know, I'm a newbie to boat life. My husband is stationed on his first cutter, and I've been concerned about how the dynamics of our relationship would change. I wasn't worried that he'd forget me, necessarily, but you hear these horror stories of relationships that couldn't handle the pressure. The distance was too much of a strain.
Luckily, I have more faith in my relationship than to think that my marriage was going to fall apart. I worried, though, that he might be emotionally disconnected from me or the kids. What if us not being able to speak with one another led us to argue? E-mail is great, but you can't always convey your feelings in a written word or two.
On top of that, trying to find my "brave face" was a concern of mine. I'm codependent. My husband and I are a team; we're friends. We like each other. How was I going to manage the household without him here to reassure me? Help me make decisions? Change diapers? How would I make it without him to hold me for weeks at a time?
**I'd like to interject here that I realize that there are husbands/boyfriends/fiancees who are gone exponentially longer than mine. I respect and admire those of you that endure deployments and underway schedules like that. I'm sure my feelings don't even scratch the surface.**
Here's the fantastic realization that I made:
My brave face has been here all along. It was here when I signed the line that said I realized my husband was joining the CG. It was here the 8 weeks that he was in boot camp over Christmas and our anniversary. It was here every minute he's spent with me and away from me. We military spouses might not be standard issue with a sea bag, but somewhere amidst the combo covers, ODU's, and ditty bags, each spouse is issued a brave face. Sometimes we don't realize it's there because it looks remarkably like the one we've always worn.
Oh, and for the record, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. The e-mails that my husband and I have been exchanging since he reported to the boat have been reminiscent of the ones we sent when we were dating. We really do like each other. We really are friends. We are so in love.
The first time I saw him after some time underway was like magic. I still felt warm and fuzzy. Tears escaped through his long, dark eyelashes as he embraced the kids. He did miss us just as much as we missed him. Maybe more, if that's possible.
I'll spare you all the details, but trust me...
Absence can definitely make the heart grow fonder.