The final months, then weeks, of Matt's deployment feel like the last leg of a marathon. I can start to see the end. The finish line is still a ways off, but, just barely, I can make it out. It's there; I'm close.
I look back and think, "Wow! I really did all that?!"
My legs feel every mile, but I'm feeling hopeful. I'm going to finish!
Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, I begin to feel fatigued. I start running out of breath. My hopefulness wanes; my optimism stumbles. Maybe I should quit. I'm close enough. I've done good enough.
But, no — I'm not a quitter. Every step brings me closer. Even when my stride has slowed, I'm still moving forward.
I begin to breathe deep, pulling every ounce of energy left from every part of my body. I can do this. I have to. Everyone is counting on me.
I'm going to finish strong. Before I know it, I'll be in the last stretch of this deployment and I'll get that adrenaline rush that pushed me through to the end. Hang on, lungs. Keep breathing.
We're almost to the finish line.
Tasha Lehman is a mother of three boys living in Vermont. Her husband, Matt, is a first lieutenant in the Vermont Air National Guard who recently headed overseas for his first deployment. The “Home Front: Diaries of a Vermont military family” series chronicles their journey. Read more about their story in February’s “Use Your Words” essay.
This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.