I’d heard it before, other army spouses telling me that they were almost grateful for said deployment because it brought them closer to their children. I definitely thought they were a little nuts… at the time.
Now that my battle buddy, my son, and I are nearly done with 9 months of challenge after challenge; I can strongly attest to the fact that this deployment has not only brought me closer to my son but it has taught me to love him deeper.
Like most families left behind, deployments pose countless expected challenges but then there’s Murphy’s Law - inviting more challenge into your already challenging season of life. We experienced just that. You’ve already read about a lot of them so I won’t bore you with my “my life is horrible” rant, again.
I’ve taken on more roles than a non-military mom would need to. Being mom and “dad” has pushed me to be more for my son than I naturally would be. This means everything from letting him be a risk-taking, dirty, mischievous boy to wrestling him till he’s laughed every laugh in his little body. Taking on this extra role has pushed me to be (mostly) a better mom. I’ll never forget one day sitting in my son’s room trying to figure out how to use a drill to hang some shelves. He grabbed his kid tools and we worked side-by-side figuring it out.
We needed each other more. He needed me to be more and I needed him to give me extra hugs (and cuddles). Because we needed each other more, we nuzzled our way deeper into each other's hearts.
We haven’t always liked each other. I like to tell people that my son and I live and breathe each other because Dad isn’t around to step in and create (healthy) space between us. Because we haven’t always liked each other, we’ve had to lean into the deep love we have for one another and find a way through the hard days.
The hardships of life has pushed us to more intentionally find the joy in our day-to-day lives together. Sometimes this means spontaneous ice cream and park dates and other times it means making popcorn and watching it fly out of the air popper together.
There wasn’t much space. Because there was less space than normal between us, my son saw more of my broken, sinful side. He saw me cry more than I’d like. He saw me break down more than I’d like. And although I wish my son could say I was always happy and “perfect”, showing him my broken side allowed for him to see me humbled before God. Numerous situations have come up where I’ve apologized to my son for being impatient or have had to explain to him my feelings. I pray that my example in hardships grows my son to be a man to seek God in all things, days, and seasons.
So, if the only good I walk away from this wretched deployment with turns out to be is a deeper love and bond between me and my son, yea, it was worth it.
Bloom where you are planted my friends and allow God to use everything for His glory.