I’ve heard it far too many times from too many spouses who are just doing their best holding down the fort during deployment. I’m sorry my house is so messy. I’m sorry we were late. I’m sorry I’m just so darn tired.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
Well, I’M SORRY, but just stop it! I’m sick of your I’m sorry’s because … you have nothing to be sorry for.
I was recently sitting with a spouse who apologized for the late hour, the messy house, and a litany of other imagined offenses, and then she said, “I don’t know what to do. I’m just trying to hold down the fort until he comes home.”
My heart just broke for her. It wasn’t enough that she was in a tough moment. She was also beating herself up over a few dirty dishes and a basket of laundry.
I turned to her and said, “Ummm … are the kids doing alright?”
“Oh yeah!” she nodded.
“Is everybody eating well?”
“Of course!” she grinned.
“Are you halfway caught up on laundry and dishes and still getting homework done and wrangling all those happy babies?”
Her smile broke a little then and she said, “Yes, but not like if he was here…”
Imagine that! The work of two people isn’t done perfectly when only one person is doing it!!! What a revelation!
I said it to her, and I’ll say to you now. Stop being sorry for only being one person. Stop apologizing for your fort when it appears to me you’re holding it down just fine. Would the wash be caught up and the dishes put away if your sailor was home? Probably! It’s easier to do those things when the kids can bug someone else for a change! Would the broken dishwasher or the missing keys be a big deal if he was here? Probably not! Because two people working together usually have more success than just the one.
Sometimes we idealize our sailors because it seems that things just go more smoothly when they are home, but what we don’t realize is that WE are a PART of that smoothness. We are a part of the solutions. We are HALF of a whole, and when one half is missing, it stands to reason that things might not work out quite the same way.
Now don’t get me wrong … our sailors are pretty great. They come home from a long deployment and just jump right back into the mix, and it is wonderful when they can shoulder some of the burden that we’ve been carrying for so long.
But … I think we’re pretty great, too. I think we’re doing okay, and I think those pretty great sailors are pretty darn proud of everything we do and how we hold down these forts while they are gone.
And I’m sorry, but that’s nothing to be sorry about.