The breakdown that didn’t break us

There’s a phenomenon in military spouse circles that anyone who has been through a deployment understands…

It’s something we fear and yet something at which we all have to laugh; something others refuse to speak of, as if the quiet deference will leave them unscathed. Whatever the approach, “Murphy’s Law of Deployment” somehow always finds a way to strike.

This time, it was in the way of a flat tire, one hour into a four hour road trip, with two kids in the backseat, and of course, in the rain.

Roadside assistance made their way and replaced the flat with a spare, with instructions not to risk the rest of the drive and to head home instead. I called the Director of the Board whose meeting I’m supposed to be attending tomorrow, and I could feel the tears coming. As I apologized profusely for not being able to make it, I could hear my voice crack. The car breakdown was quickly escalating to a Mommy breakdown.

I hung up the phone, still parked at a gas station when I realized both of my kiddos had started to cry. “We’re not going on our epic adventure,” our 7 year old said quietly. “Is that TRUE?!” sobbed the 5 year old. They’ve been – we’ve all been – looking forward to this for weeks.

I put my head in my hands, ready to give into the last few weeks that’s handed us a snowstorm, frozen pipes, walking pneumonia and now a flat tire – Murphy at his finest. But these are the moments military spouses are made for.

We find adventure in the face of adversity.

We change plans with a minute’s notice and (almost) make it look seamless.

We turn lemons into lemonade and we know how to “embrace the suck.”

When everything around us is falling apart – during deployments, moves, missed birthdays, holidays, big days and little days, we find a way to build something beautiful.

I had a quick pity party – literally a 10 second cry – and then put plans in motion. I took the babysitting money I had planned for tomorrow and found a hotel not too far away, and together, we plotted our new epic trip.

This is what I hope our kids will remember about life on the Homefront while their dad was away. How we managed to find joy in the rain. The “midnight” swim (at 9:00). Falling asleep to the Olympic snowboarding trials. The snuggles in the bed with a million pillows.

The car breakdown that didn’t break us.

Leave a Reply