Wednesday, August 22, 2018



With bellies full from pancakes, we said good-bye to Flyboy last Saturday as he departed on a five-day work trip. Just as the Touareg was no longer in our sight, Max came over and leaned his head into my thigh and said "When daddy leaves, my heart breaks into a thousand pieces." With a giant lump in my throat and very aware of what next year will bring, I put on a brave face and reassured him that our favorite person would be home in a few days and that it would be alright. We would be alright, right?! Then, a few hours later while Max was napping, I finally gave myself a chance to digest what our three year old expressed to me earlier that morning. It was so sweet and earnest, but it left me panicked. How on Earth will we explain the impending six-month deployment to him when it's time? I breathe and begin to talk myself through it. The three months we spent apart earlier this year weren't easy by any means, but we survived. It will be just like that, times two. Ugh. Yes, WE signed up for this when we chose the lifestyle, but I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that adding a child to the equation definitely complicates things. We've been down this road before, just as thousands of other military families have experienced or are experiencing something similar, but this time we'll navigate it with a very intuitive and emotionally aware child involved.

The pulled-together, can-do version of myself knows the next 3.5 months will give us time to prepare for the upcoming chapter apart, and leaves me feeling incredibly grateful to celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas together. But then there's also the overly emotional and uncertain Ashley that knows being separated is hard enough for adults. Now what about Max?

I share this with you not for you to feel pity, but for you to better understand where my head will be at in the coming months. We anticipated this would happen when we moved East and our time has come. Now we have the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and do the work. I may *occasionally* hide in my closet to ugly cry like I did this weekend, but I'll regroup, and take stock in the moments I'll miss like watching Flyboy assess his mow job from the windows in the guest bedroom and every night we get to tuck Maxwell into bed together. I imagine it's little details like these that I'll look forward to the most when it's all said and done.

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