Deployment: Worrying About The Without-Yous

A photo posted by Allison Wilhelm (@alliegirl428) on

I thought we’d flown under the radar. A year on GRF (Global Response Force) and nary a deployment order to be found. I breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated during November — the birth of our son, Thanksgiving and finally being free to travel to family for the upcoming holidays. But just weeks before our flight to Oregon was to take off, the rumors started trickling in. “It doesn’t look likely, but…” “Well, they’re talking about it, but…” “They still haven’t cut orders, but…” And just days before we left for Christmas leave, the orders came down. Iraq. Nine months. Leaving in early 2015.

The holidays were a hard pill to swallow when every precious moment was tainted by my worrying about the without-yous. More than once I had to hold back tears. When he hiked through the woods with our daughter on his shoulders and our son strapped to his chest. As he attempted to tame her curly locks and fastened her black patent leather shoes on Christmas Eve, getting ready for church. As we shared an oatmeal stout in the library, after taking bites out of the cookies left out for Santa Claus — Madeline asleep upstairs and Benjamin in the ring sling on Andrew’s lap, dreaming of Christmas morning.

Each day crossed off of the new year brings reality of our situation closer and closer. And while I’ve accepted it, the heartache hasn’t gotten any easier to bear. During the nights when Benjamin refuses to be consoled, as we pass him back and forth, short on patience and short with each other, I find myself dreading the nights when he won’t be here to help. After a long day alone with the children (Andrew having busted his bottom to make it home just minutes before Madeline’s bedtime), I’ll sit nursing the baby and listening to their nightly tickle fight over the baby monitor, wondering how she will possibly comprehend his absence. And when he comes down the stairs frowning — “That was so hard,” he says, “What if she’s not the same with me when I get back?” — my stomach rolls over, and I swallow hard to send the lump in my throat away.

40 weeks. The length of a pregnancy. I know just how long that is. I’ve done this (and more) before, but not with babies. Worrying about them makes it more difficult. So much will happen between now and then without him. So many firsts. So many tears. So many hugs. So many memories. He’ll miss it all, and we’ll miss him more. There’s no getting around that part of deployment. It’s sad.

But we’re a strong family, and we will keep calm and soldier on. Together. Again. Until we are together again.

#1 Parents In The Pumpkin Patch

Mommy Daddy and Maddie at Gross Farms Last weekend, we ventured out into the pumpkin patch on a rather fall-like Sunday. We were on the hunt for some pumpkin pies (as Madeline calls them — better known to the rest of the world as pumpkins). We decided that at 36 weeks pregnant, it wouldn’t be that fun for us to drive the two hours up to Hillridge Farms for a repeat of last year’s festivities (wonderful though they were), so we stayed local and headed to Gross Farms. Along with the rest of central North Carolina. The farm was packed full of families clinging onto what little we have in the way of autumn weather and festivities down here in the South.

We waited for about 15 minutes in line for some pumpkin flavored ice cream and then snagged a wagon and headed into the patch.

Let me tell you, pumpkin patching with a two year old is much different than pumpkin patching with a one year old. Gone are the days of adorably posed shots and sweet smiles. This year Madeline was all about pulling the wagon herself — “MY do it!” She even yelled at a few passers by who apparently threatened her — “NO tata, girl! Dis is MY wagon!” Girl’s dad looked at Andrew and me and said, “Really!?!” At that point I looked over at Andy wide-eyed and then proceeded to “discipline” my child. “Madeline that little girl doesn’t want your wagon and there is no reason to yell at her. Please be respectful and kind.” Madeline responded with a look of incredulity (how could I not understand all the unspoken fighting words girl had spit at her and that she was just defending what was rightfully hers!), turned on her heel and pulled her wagon away while muttering “no” under her breath. Super fun. #1 parents in the pumpkin patch.

As our time at the farm wore on, the South began to rear it’s ugly head and everyone started sweating at the suddenly sky-high temperatures. Not to be dissuaded, I forced my sweet family into taking some obligatory photos — “These will probably be our last photos as a family of three!!!” And though there was tons of push back and even more sweating, I’m glad I insisted.

This year, we brought home one huge orange pumpkin for carving, a weird squat pumpkin, a white small pumpkin and some gourds. We also brought home some of my most favorite memories of our final days as parents of just one little punkin. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us at the pumpkin patch next year!

Pumpkin Pie

Wagon Full of Pumpkins

Night Night Sleepy

Two Little Pumpkins

36 Weeks Pregnant

M+M

Daddy and Maddie in the pumpkin patch

Mommy and Madeline in the pumpkin patch

The Wilhelms at Gross Farms

number one mom.

Baby's first MacbookThe first words she spoke to me today were, “No, Mommy! I don’t LIKE that!” I had asked her for a hug. I’d say I’ve got this parenting thing down. #independentwoman #almosttwo