I thought I knew what it meant to be in a true combat zone. Then I became a mom and learned what it truly means to be in a combat zone all the time. No relief, no end in sight. Motherhood changed everything.
I always thought deploying to Afghanistan would be the hardest thing I would have to do. Away from my family, my country, all that was familiar and there were people who wanted to kill me just outside the fence line. I was a female, an engineer and pretty much everything you were not supposed to be.
But deploying was just an experience.
An undertaking, not small by any means, but now that it is over and years later maybe it wasn’t so overwhelming or maybe that is what my mind now tells me to believe.
I wonder if that is how I will look back on those early years of being a Mom. It is already happening. I can’t put my finger on what was so hard about those first few months. All I can remember is the joy when he learned to latch or roll over. The first giggles when Daddy said “Boo!” A year of so much struggle and change and all I think to call it is blessed.
The same thing can be said of my memories from my deployment. I remember fun e-mail exchanges, pizza at the Italian store (a Sunday night tradition), a helicopter flight during the day, deep friendships that still carry on.
Who would have thought there was such a deep connection between living in a combat zone and surviving your first year of parenting? Had you told me that the two could be evaluated some months down the road, I would have told you that you were crazy. But now I know. There something so much deeper than being a parent that can not be put into words.
If you are a Mom and think what you are doing isn’t monumental. Know that isn’t true. There is nothing that compares to who you are and what you do.