Today marked the six month point since Richard left to train and then deploy. We are not quite at our half way point for the deployment, but being that today marks a half of a year that we've been separated is something to reflect upon. If there is one word I could use to describe the past six months, it would be the word, "busy."
Wednesdays are the only day of the week that both Kate and Olivia attend preschool. Wednesdays are also the only day of the week that we have zero afternoon activities. To put it simply, I like Wednesdays.
I heard from Richard today, finally, via phone. A wave of emotion hit me about half way through the call. Hearing his voice, from a combat zone, just sounding like he always has any other day is surreal. I love the way he always seems to have to clear his throat:). I love how I haven't talked to him in forever, and yet he starts out with "Hey. I love you. Whatcha doin'?" just like it is any ol' day. Richard's ability to maintain a constant normalcy in all situations, is so comforting to me. He is who he is no matter where he is or what's going on. With so much separation over the years ... with so much change during them ... it is nice to be reminded that somethings, the basic things, the core things are changeless.
I found this photo of Parker, our 9 year old, recently. It was taken at our home on North Churchill Drive in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Our house there was in the historic section of Fayetteville, well, okay on the edge of this section known as Haymount. A beautiful area with great older homes. This house was so tiny and had really only two true bedrooms. By the time we moved out of it, we had made four bedrooms out of it ... it was cozy for sure! Richard started his traveling/deploying six months after we moved there. I remember sitting on that couch alone watching the start of the Iraq war on Fox News, really having no idea what changes the next years would bring our family. I wish I could say that it's all been fine. It hasn't. There have been so many ups and downs. But God has been so faithful to our family. We are stronger (and bigger) than we were when 9/11 happened, and we have more wonderful memories than tough ones.
I look at this photo and I can't help but smile. It reminds me of a simpler time in the Davenport family and a time I hold so dear to my heart. It reminds me also how time doesn't necessarily go by quickly, but you do really wake up one morning and realize how far you've come. It reminds me to embrace the little things, even if they aren't perfect and even if times are tough. And it reminds me most that when I feel beyond inadequate to raise our five girls alone, I just need to remember the simple advice Richard always gives me, "They just need you to love them, Mary Katharine. Just love them." Yeah, he's so right ... having a perfect school day for them everyday and enrolling them in fun dance classes and making sure they make every church get together, and every homeschool field trip, etc. ... that's all great, but sometimes it's just not doable and it never really is, or should be, the bottom line. They are happiest and most content not when things are "perfect" but when they are loved. When I look at this photo, I am reminded of that.
Wednesdays are my favorite days of the week because on them I get a glimpse with each of my girls of a simpler time when things weren't so busy and I had time to just enjoy the day. We had a full day of school, I got the house cleaned up and laundry done, I made a good dinner, Hanson Ellis made cookies, I got a great run in, and most of all, I sat between two sets of girls for two separate story times tonight before bed. The house was quiet, heads were leaning on my shoulders and for an hour or so, the worries and stresses of the days ahead seemed completely nonexistent.
Richard is doing great. Learning his job and enjoying so much the relationship that he already has with his Afghan counterparts. Richard is kind and has such a heart for what he does. It gives me so much joy to hear the contentment and motivation in his voice and read it in his words. I know it's a combat zone, but oh what I wouldn't give to walk along beside him behind the lens of my camera ... He knows that and assures me he's doing his best to capture at least a little something each day for me. Who knows, maybe one day he'll share his story with you, too.
For all of you who pray for our family, thank you.
Just eight more months to go!
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him.