It is Sunday and I am awakened by the sound of whistling coming from the kitchen. A song that I cannot quite figure out, but I love it!
I push my head back deep into my pillow and close my eyes soaking up every second of that moment. The gratefulness I feel is beaming from every single part of me. The feeling I had at that moment is more than anyone could ever imagine.
Everything outside of this house seems like it is falling into the depths. A pandemic is riddling the world around me, and I cannot even begin to imagine its true profound effect. But here I am, in my house surrounded by the sound of something that would not be here if it were not for this harsh reality we are currently living through.
A little more than a month ago the course of this life had a different path. One where I was preparing for nine months without my husband. Things were falling into place and our minds were in that mode of saying see you later. Our children had already begun to accept the fact that their daddy would be gone for some time, but hopefully back before Christmas. But here we are, and he is standing in the kitchen making me breakfast, while whistling a random song he has had stuck in his head.
This life is always in constant motion. One that sometimes feels like a free fall while hitting just about every obstacle that is pushed out there on the way down. There is never really a pause in this military life where you can say that your service member has been home for a continuous amount of time. The constant trips away, field time, rotations, and rapid deployments leave you dreaming of a time when they will be there more permanently. Frequently missing dinners, weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Sometimes it takes a special broadening assignment or retirement to actually experience a constant presence.
We all have that longing for downtime which is rarely seen. The kind of downtime where dinner is eaten as a family, and there is a big breakfast on the weekends. Those moments that you can soak up knowing your children are finally getting that quality time they so desperately long for. The time to truly focus on one another. It is the kind of downtime that builds strength in the foundation of your family. Something that should be seen more often but is not. Now here we are, and the world has paused, and somehow, I am one of the lucky ones. The downtime that so many of us have longed for is actually here. That same gratefulness that I feel in having my whole family at home is radiating across many parts of the military community. Families seeing a small glimpse of normal life that moves at a slow pace. The kind of life where you do not have to build up the courage to do it alone, or constantly remind yourself that you are strong enough to push through it. The kind of life that at the end of the day we all dream of having.
Time is often taken for granted and it moves past us so quickly. Now more than ever military families are taking full advantage of these rare moments that we are getting. A time that at some point in the near future will just be a distant memory in the past. Something that will be gone as soon as they hit the ground running again. Back to the grind of the reality that this life brings…
We are already seeing glimpses of that “normalcy” happening. But until it fully returns, I will continue to soak up every second of this given blessing. Making sure that every time I hear the sound of my husband whistling random songs it will put a smile on my face, and that the laughter that radiates throughout our home will be deeply cherished. Maybe one day that downtime will happen more often and those who are still in free fall will get to experience what they also so desperately long for.
If anything, this pandemic pause should readjust everyone’s perspective on how we should be living after Covid-19. The realization of just how little time we are afforded together should bring us to cherish those moments more deeply. It should be spent growing the love you have with your family. Taking time to get to know each other and the things that were missed when you were apart. Building onto the relationship the service member in your life has with your children, as they have missed years of memories. Growing together, being there for each other, and making sure that not even the smallest amount of time is taken for granted.