As many of you know, my husband is in the Coast Guard. Yes, the CG is a real branch of the military. Yes, it is just like all of the other branches except that we are mostly a domestic service, though there are still parts of the CG that can and do serve overseas. We get the same shitty pay, the same medical insurance, we get to get our lives interrupted by what the military lovingly terms "permanent changes of station"(meaning that we get to move every three to four years), my husband will sometimes have to leave us for weeks at a time for training or assignments.
While we are living here in Florida, my husband's duty is on an 87 Foot Patrol Boat. The guys have an area of responsibility that reaches from Fort Myers Beach, out into the Gulf and down into the Keys. The Boat goes out on Patrols that can take up to 24-48 hours or a week. While they are out, they are performing various jobs; checking for fishing violations, possible drug interdictions, they can be called on for search and rescue operations, and they search for illegal immigrants. I am very proud of my husband and the fact that we are a military family, don't ever doubt that, but it comes with a set of challenges, that's for sure.
Right now, my husband is gone with the boat. He will be home in 18 days. By the time he gets home, he will have been gone for 30 (this trip is a sort of one off and we don't expect there will be another trip this long again- while we are stationed here). Now, I know that he isn't in the Middle East. I know that some families have it much worse- trust me, I get that. At least I know he isn't being shot at and I only have to worry about that fickle mistress, the ocean, but its hard. HARD.
We had a rough night tonight, the kids and I. Some nights are just harder than others. It's about the halfway point of this long trip of Les' and my Dad just left today, so it was our first night alone again. Bedtime rolled around and Ev got her worried, tense look on her face but she refuses to talk or let me in right now. Liam came out of his bedroom with his Kindle, scrolling through his pictures of him and his Papa being silly together, telling me how much he missed his Papa. I have to tell you, I just sat there and cried. Then we all talked a bit and I had to tell them that it was okay that we all felt pretty sad and lonely and heartsick. Of course they wanted to know what "heartsick" meant and we talked about that for a bit, I think that helped. We ended up goofing off for a bit and talking and laughing and going to bed on a much lighter note because I just couldn't send everyone off to bed all sad and lonely.
So, we will hold on for those 18 days and keep each other laughing and keep talking and keep ripping the links off of our paper chain, counting down the days until the boat moors up and Papa comes back home.