In January of 2008, after we moved from San Diego to Washington, Ahron left for an advanced school back in Maryland, while I held down the fort (finally out of an apartment and into a rental house). He finished his school with honors on our son's first birthday and flew home to be with us for the party.
We knew after his school he'd be flying out to meet his ship in the Persian Gulf. During this time, my parents and family were a huge source of support. I stayed very busy through the summer and we were reunited in October.
At that time we also decided to make the move closer to base, so we could actually all live together while Ahron's ship was in port. That first deployment was the precursor to our current reality. In many ways, it set us up for what is about to come. In 2008, we spent a total of about 8.5 months apart.