…the red blanket…

…my girl is growing…

She just made her way past me carrying her red blanket out to the fire pit where she and her daddy are quietly taking in a bon fire.  Her sweet (and loud) voice carry through the night air, through our windows where I sit plucking away at my computer.  I should be working on a report right now, but I’m caught by the desire to catch this moment.

I look out to see their faces smiling and warmed by the orange glow.  His strong arms wrapped around her, snuggling in the last of her baby-ness.  Her curls framing her sleepy face, as she babbles on-and-on-and-on-and-on (ah…being 3 and having language skills can be so very tiring at times).

She’s asking a million questions in rapid-fire succession, interspersed with “LOOK DADDY!!!” before she’s shooting off about something else.  He’s so patient with her, taking time to answer her questions, calmly reminding her “shush” and “calm down, just a little” when she becomes just a little too exuberant.

Be still, my heart.

Joe’s been home for the last week, and I find myself wrapped in that “just-home-from-deployment” glow.

For anyone not in the military, there is something I refer to as the “post-deployment glow.”  It’s the period of time right after they’ve gotten back and everything is just wonderful…they usually have time off, they pop up in the morning and let you sleep in (after months of not being able to defer to anyone), they buckle the kid in the car (…hey, it’s the little things), hugs and kisses linger, and you don’t have to cook every single meal.

It’s one of the hidden gems associate with being a military spouse.  Granted, it’s not that way for everyone…every couple has their own areas of strength and weakness…some couples struggle when they come back together.

For all of our faults or areas of weakness, Joe and I absolutely rock post-deployment.

As unicorn-y as it sounds (and yes, I will be quoting Journey…brace yourself), there is a line in “Faithfully” that sums it up perfectly:

“…I get the joy of rediscovering you…”

I know, I know…get me a glitter pen and some heart stickers and I might as well just go off drawing JW + NJ all over my trapper-keeper.  Bring in the fairies and rainbow-flavored ice cream while you’re at it.

But if we’re being honest, after 8 years of knowing this man, I still get butterflies…

…I look out at him snuggling our baby while I’m writing this (and not working) and it makes my stomach go all flip-floppy.

This is my life. 

Not to downplay the toll that being away from each other takes on our relationship, and our child (let me tell you, it can be super rough)…but basking in this, not taking for granted nights like tonight, takes that edge off and makes those times away from each other a little more worth it.

Thankfully, most people don’t have to go through the extreme negative emotions that come with a husband deploying…but on the opposite end of the emotion spectrum…I doubt a lot of people go through periods of time where it still feels like you’re dating.

He’s escorting her in now, holding hands and discussing important things like what princess book he’s going to read her tonight.

…back to the red blanket…

Ellie is dragging around this red blanket that has become hers.  Shortly after Joe left, she dug it out of the closet and seems to remember him using it at one point in time.  It was her “daddy blanket.”  She’s been sleeping with it since and constantly drags it around the house.

Truth be told, my mom got me this blanket years ago (right after Joe and I started dating) for Christmas (and I don’t think Joe has ever actually used it).  It’s one of those super warm throw blankets that are perfect for Michigan winters in drafty homes.  I remember opening it and thinking that it was a perfect blanket for snuggling next to a fire on a crisp night…

…at that time, I was envisioning myself and Joe and a cabin somewhere with snow…

…but even sweeter is a toddler and her daddy…by the bonfire.  And listening to them as they reconnect and learn about each other…and laugh, as if the last number of months never happened.

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