“Well” … More of our deployment stories.

March 1, 2013

[I joined an online writing community recently and this was prompted from an assignment … but also, one of the primary purposes of this blog is to tell our story … our Army life in particular, deployments, and the unique challenges and blessings that come with it. This is one of those stories … the events here occurred in the summer of 2010.}

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry” {Psalm 40:1}.

I hate the word well … {I’ve mentioned that before} … that’s how he breaks the news, this husband of mine.

On an easy August evening in Alaska, sunlight still for hours, me thirteen weeks pregnant, and our bags halfway packed for Germany.

{We were moving to Germany in a month. We had orders. We had the movers scheduled. We had our house on the market. I started a blog. We were almost gone.} 

“Well … pause … I might have to go to Pakistan.”

Me in the dishwater, staring out the window. Him hovering over the counter, eyes half closed, head turned, waiting for my reaction … prepared for the fall-out.

Pakistan? There’s no war in Pakistan. But there are floods. Massive floods. And this Husband of mine flies helicopters that carry precious cargo, that cross swollen, raging rivers and matchstick bridges.

But I can still breath. Because he said might. Might. I can’t change plans on a might. I can’t come undone on a might. I have bags to pack for Germany.

So I don’t change plans. Our days march forward with toddler princess birthday parties and house showings. There are multiple obstacles preventing the Husband from jetting off to the Middle East. Bureaucratic roadblocks that will keep him stranded on the tarmac even if his soldiers respond to the humanitarian call. I take comfort in might. 

The big Army, moving at the speed of evolution, wait for a week to tell his battalion they are going to Pakistan.

And, well … {see, I hate that word} … despite orders, and bags to pack, and houses to show, and new branch managers, and pregnant wives … two days hence, his presence is officially required halfway around the world.

{Please note this is not a commentary or complaint on when and where he is called to duty. I was not, and am not angry that he had to go at all … in the moment I was simply reeling from the speed of events and the details surrounding this particular deployment}.

Two weeks. In two weeks, we travel from might to goodbye. Now he is getting on a plane. To Pakistan. I’m hanging off his neck in the sickly glow of airport lighting unsure of his return. Three months? Six? Nine? Pretending I’m not coming unhinged on the inside. There is a baby coming soon …

 

And oh … there is one t.i.n.y. little detail worth mentioning. 

 

I can’t make plans on might, remember? So we keep showing the house. And receive an offer. In a recession, with orders to move in a month. So we take it. Five days before they tell him he is on his way to Pakistan. On the advance party. In a week.

I search for rentals. No one wants a 90 pound chocolate lab and a cat. Wait list for on-post housing is 4 months. I’ll take anything – I don’t really even have four days to make a decision.

I lose weight.

I stress.

I throw up on the side of the highway … gasping between heaves to the denim clad legs in front of me that I am really okay … just pregnant. Just stressed.

Poor Good Samaritan.

I cry out. Help. {That’s really all the words I have left.}
And the Lord says wait. He says trust Me.

In a meeting {learning how to support a grieving spouse should their soldier not come home … gulp}, I happen to tell our story to the Battalion Commander’s wife.

She says, “Oh, I’ll talk to John.”

That’s nice, but … “John” {the Battalion Commander} has a billion and one things to do in three weeks. Lovely gesture. I doubt it will come to fruition and dismiss the conversation.

That’s the end of it. Except it isn’t. Mrs. Battalion Commander is a woman you should never take lightly. And you should never dismiss. She is formidable. Unbeknownst to me, “John” doesn’t stop hearing about my plight.

But doubting Thomas is alive and well in my heart. I keep looking for rentals.

And I find one. A three bedroom house in North Pole. Big backyard.  Expensive, too expensive, but they’ll take a 90 pound chocolate lab and I’m first in line. Amid dusty plastic ferns and teetering stacks of paper, I fill out the rental application. But I haven’t heard from Mrs. Battalion Commander.  And the Lord said wait. And the Husband said wait. So I ask the property manager to wait. {Just until Tuesday … still, I doubt.}

In a miraculous, post-wide game of telephone, our plight is spilled to the Post Sergeant Major’s secretary during an idle gossip session.

 

“Wait ‘til you hear about the pregnant lady with nowhere to live …” 

 

And on and upwards to the Post Commander.

Tuesday comes and goes. The Lord says wait. The Husband says wait. 

Thursday morning, the day of his departure, Husband calls. “We have a house. I gotta go. Base housing will contact you” … click.

Husband … I love you … that is not enough information. 

But ohhh, now I can breathe. And the Lord says {lovingly}, “See. I told you to wait.” 

Housing contacts me the next day {after our maudlin airport scene} and walks me through our residence for what will be the next ten months. It is more than “just a house” … it is standing empty … reserved for some important someone arriving the next June. The house our Wee Man will come home to during a historic blizzard … the house where God will provide more community in nine months than I have experienced for the previous three years combined.

Let me tell you about the house God asked me to wait for … my 1970’s mansion. I’ve never loved beige linoleum harder.

Our home was 2200 square feet … 700 more than our previous home, with four bedrooms and a full finished basement-one of the only seven or eight stand alone residences on base-typically reserved for full Colonels. Two car garage {also a Colonel privilege}. My next door neighbor was the Aviation Brigade commander. Who told me to call him by his first name {Ummm no. Never.}

I swear, I heard more than one heavenly “I told you so.” Humble pie never tasted so good.

It is disconcerting to receive so much and deserve so little.

And for an extra delicious helping of see what my God can do, the Battalion Commander spends his final day before leaving trudging from office to office with my paperwork until he ends up in the Post Commander’s ear, requesting that the Army move me and my household goods so that I didn’t have to. {This may or may not have been after he informs the Brigade Commander that if the Army says no, he will have every available tactical vehicle and unoccupied soldier in the battalion driving up and down his street with my paltry belongings.}

Mr. and Mrs. Battalion Commander … they know how to fight for families. I am ever grateful for the weave of their threads in our story.

The movers are there two days before I close on our house.

One month. Two weeks of wait, of might, then goodbye. Two more weeks of wait. I wish I had better, more beautiful words to tell you all the parts and pieces of our blessings in the midst of of it all … but I’ll just say …

See what my God can do. 

~M.

{ … He was home four months later … we made the front page of the local newspaper …  just before Christmas … two months before Wee Man made his appearance … }

Husband and his Wee Man just 8 hours old.
Husband and his Wee Man just 8 hours old.
19 inches of snow the night Wee Man was born. J is standing on our front walkway. Yeah ... we had to shovel that.
19 inches of snow the night Wee Man was born. J is standing on our front walkway. Yeah … we had to shovel that.
IMG_0497
My littles. Wee Man was one month old. Sweet memories.
More about Molly Huggins

I am an unrepentant extrovert with an ongoing, passionate affair with coffee, ellipses, and the written word. I write because it’s how I’m made to worship. I am a story teller, because redemption has a story to tell. And always, I want to be a story collector. So have a virtual seat at my beat-up kitchen table. Read my story. Tell me yours. Stay awhile. And P.S. ... for more about me, click on my mug in the sidebar;)

5 Comments
    1. I want to read more and moreand more – I know I am a little into your story (because I am GiGi) but your writing is in one word a.w.e.s.o.m.e – love you Molly!

    1. I love reading your story and I’m just a random person from the Internets! 😉 well, aside from our cool connection. Amazing story.

    1. I love, love, LOVE this! What a privilege to be able to read some of your story and to be part of a writer’s swap with you. You are an amazing writer and I can’t wait to read more of your story!

    1. Such an awesome testimony of god’s sovereignty! Loved learning a little bit more about your family!

I love to hear from you!