Pre-deployment & Post-deployment: A Story In Between

Papa Bear and Baby Bear "In Iraq"

Papa Bear and Baby Bear "In Iraq"

Photos always tell a story.

I have a wonderful catalog of photos for the year 2009, as I'd tried to document everything for memories sake, just in case. 

I suppose it's natural to fear the what ifs as you take one last photo before your spouse leaves for war.

Will he come back to us? Will he come back whole?


It was early in 2009 when I'd taken Christopher out of the daycare on base to start Pre-K out in town. After Papa Bear's deployment later that year, I'd be the one taking Christopher to school and picking him up. So, I wanted the transition to be smooth. I didn't want two big changes happening at once. 

Christopher did not do well and a few times Papa Bear had to take the morning off just to witness the traumatic dramatic drop off at the new school.

It tore my heart into shreds to hear Christopher wailing as I practically threw him in the classroom. His teacher had advised me, "Just go. He'll be fine." 

Finally things got better, but I dreaded the big next.


We prepared Christopher as best as we could for the separation. We had bought a world map to show where we were in North Carolina, and where his daddy would be in Iraq. I thought the map would provide some perspective of the distance, but to a four-year-old Christopher, Iraq remained on base, where we dropped Papa Bear off. 


Still as we drove off that day, leaving Papa Bear "in Iraq" with the understanding that it was going to be a long time before we could pick him up, Christopher's heart broke into a million pieces.

It was unexpected.

He wailed to the top of his lungs for a great distance, and I tried to blink back tears so I could see to drive.

A few minutes into our drive we drove into a terrible thunderstorm, hard rain, lighting and loud claps of thunder. I could barely see as it was and I knew this was a flash flood kind of rain, so I had to find somewhere to pull over.

We drove into the parking lot of Best Buy to wait out the storm. Christopher was still crying, I had no plan for what we would do next to make this moment all better.

As quickly as the storm came, the clouds gave way to a beautiful rainbow. I said, "Look Christopher, it's a rainbow!"

And I knew everything was going to be fine.

Rainbows always show up when I need one. It's one of those, God if you're listening, give me a sign symbols. 

Just as the rain stopped, Christopher's tears did also. 


Christopher doesn't remember the lead up, switching schools or the separation. 

All he remembers from the time without Papa Bear is that we went home for Christmas and his daddy sent him presents "from Iraq".

We all survived the deployment and Papa Bear came back to us whole.


Sporadically Yours, 

This was a Share a Photo/Tell the Story Friday post. It's the Week 4 old school blogging prompt for the Finish the Sentence Friday writing community where I'm co-hosting with Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee

Join us for next week's FTSF prompt where we will finish the Sentence, "My favorite thing about my neighborhood is........."