Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time goes so slowly

       We have gotten through a vast majority of my husband's second deployment. The kids and I are on edge. We just can not wait for the couple months to go by. But it seems like the days just arent moving. I have done the countdown the days thing for myself and it feels like we are on the same number of days we were a few weeks ago. Ugh. The kids constantly ask for him. Now the baby is climbing up to my desk and smacking at my computer saying "Daddy" over and over again. She knows we see daddy through the computer. I have gotten up with each  child over the last few weeks because they have been awake in the middle of the night crying for him. It is hard to stay positive and provide comfort for them when I am just so darn upset myself.
         Things are continuously getting worse in the country he is deployed to. It worries the heck out of me. I have to make sure I turn off the news when the kids are in the room. I have to be sure I dont talk about any of it on the phone with anyone while they are in earshot. It makes it tough to deal with sometimes. I just want to be able to talk about things to get them off of my chest, but I cant. I have to protect them. My oldest knows daddy is fighting in a war. And she doesnt exactly know what that means. But she knows it isnt a good thing. She knows there are bad guys there and often asks if the bad guys are going to get daddy. My son just knows his daddy is gone and he wants him back.
         When I cook for the kids, I miss cooking for my husband. When we go to bed at night, I miss hearing his breathing and even snoring next to me. I miss smelling his soap and cologne when he gets ready for work in the morning. Most of all I miss his hugs.
        His homecoming is close enough to see on the horizon, but still too far away to get into preparing for it or even letting the kids know it is close. The days feel like 3 instead of one, the weeks feel like months, and the months feel like years. Dear deployment you have overstayed your welcome, please go away so I can have my husband back! GRRRR

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Missing the Holidays

This week is Thanksgiving. I have been to the store, purchased my turkey and all the fixin's. We are going to have a spread to rival the best. We are going to have dinner with friends and enjoy the holiday. Well, enjoy it the best we can. This Thanksgiving, like so many other holidays and important dates, there will be an empty chair at the table. My husband, the most important person in my life, isnt going to be here. He will be having his turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce almost ten thousand miles away. This is unfortunately the life so many people lead. It is difficult to get excited for the holidays like I used to. Even with the kids, they dont mean nearly as much to me as they did when I got to spend every one with my husband.
I keep trying to write this. I have been for three entire days. But I just cant seem to get the words out before I break down in tears. I wanted it to be an eloquent article. Something worth reading, inspirational to someone, but I just cant make that happen this time.
I cant believe I am still getting so upset when I have been dealing with this for as long as I have. Despite the four years my husband has been in the army and despite this being his second deployment, I still cant get over it. I still cant explain it to my kids when they are hurting because Daddy is missing their birthdays, missing Halloween and wont see them in their costumes or take them trick or treating, they want to know what there is to be thankful for when their dad cant be here for Thanksgiving. I have to explain to them and I just dont know how. They dont realize Daddy is going to miss Christmas (very likely this year) Nothing makes sense to them. They dont care if there is a war going on that he must be there for, they just want their father home.
To be honest, I cant blame them. All i want is to wake up with my husband everyday. Not just holidays. but I love how he hugs and kisses me and tells me how good everything smells that I am cooking. I love the smiles we share and the moments alone we sneak on plain old regular days.
When he misses the holidays though, it hits a bit harder. When the kids were smaller they didnt seem to notice until the day of. Now they know and look forward to it and remind me all the time that daddy isnt going to be here. So again I have to suck it up and put on my big girl panties and deal with it. Ugh sometimes I hate having to be strong

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Being selfish

I have recently learned it is ok to selfish. Seriously it is. For as long as I can remember I have always put others over myself. Family, friends, strangers, whomever. I always gave and gave until there was nothing left for myself. My kids were the ones I gave the most to. And as a mom, that is just how it is supposed to be. However, I didnt see the impact putting others first had on me. When I made the decision to have a healthier life 2 months ago, it meant I had to start working out and doing for myself. I hated going for walks with my kids because Korey would cry in the stroller and Shawn and Kayleigh couldnt keep up. And when I tried to put Little man in the stroller, he would just screech and cry and scream. I felt bad for him. He thought I was trying to make him a baby. My friend Teresa told me about a room in one of the fitness centers where I could take my kids. They would be in the same room with me and I could watch them as I worked my butt off. I made a pledge to go at least 6 times a week and I have kept that pledge to myself. Everything I do now is scheduled around my gym time, not squeezing gym time in my schedule. It feels good to make myself a priority. That is my time. The 60-90 minutes a day I get to work out my frustration, anger and insecurities. It is my time to do something beneficial for me. I love that time. On my off days I feel a difference. And i dont know if it is the rush from working out or the making me time part. It is ok to be selfish. it is ok to tell someone you cant do something or help them when you never do for yourself. It is ok to think about yourself once in awhile. I wish I had known this before. But a lesson learned late is better than one never learned at all.  So go take a break and do for yourself. Im thinking I might go grab a skinny peppermint mocha on the way to the gym and indulge a bit. Yep something else for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights."

            I scoffed at this scripture. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, 1 Corinthians 7:4. ¤Bible"   I thought if I didn't have the control in my marriage, I was failing as a woman. I thought that I was supposed to 'be the boss' all the time. I was never going to let any man tell me what to do. There was no way I was going to be submissive or subservient to my husband. I didn't care WHAT I was told was right. I was going to do marriage the way I saw fit, not matter what happened to my marriage. I knew marriage was "SUPPOSED" to be forever, but hey that is why 1 of every 2 couples end up divorced, right? Simply because they couldn't be married. And no one is looked down upon for divorcing anymore because it does happen so much. So if my husband couldnt live by my rules and let me be the boss, he didnt need to stick around. 
                 This morning a friend of mine posted that scripture as her status on FB. When I read it, it was like  being punched in the gut. It held so much power for me that I immediately sat down to write this. As I have gotten a bit older, I have become wiser. I know my marriage is where I belong, but more importantly, where I truly want to be. Marriage is not easy. It takes a lot of work. It is easy to give up. There were numerous times I wanted to throw my hands in the air and walk away. Some of the times I wanted to do that, I wouldnt have looked back or even questioned my decision. Neither would many of the people I know. Everyone knew just how miserable we were together and just how badly the kids were doing because of our miserable existence. 
                    After a particularly horrid fight between the husband and I, he left to stay with friends for the weekend. He came home the following Monday evening and I could see something different in the way he interacted with me. When he hugged me, he actually squeezed me. When he kissed me hello, he lingered for a second or two longer than he used to. It wasnt just a sweep across my lips, but heartfelt. 
                   I have known this man for half of my life and his behavior was completely out of the norm. I asked him what was going on. He made the decision to be nicer to me, he said. He made the decision to quit drinking. This had always been a source of fights. He was a lousy drunk and he spent tons of money we didnt have to spend, he was always drunk in front of our children. It caused a lot of problems! I had begged him for the longest time to quit drinking, told him to quit, demanded and ordered him to quit drinking. The harder I pushed, the harder he pushed back, maintaining his right to do what he wanted to do. By God, he wasnt about to let any woman tell him what he could or could not do! I demanded so much from him, always insisting he do different than he wanted to do. It wasnt just the drinking, it was everything. It was his desire to be with friends and have some 'guy time' I called him names, he called me names. It was ugly. I thought I was 'standing up for my rights' as a wife. Damn it, spend time with me! Pay attention to me! Take me places! I thought it was my right to make such demands because I am his wife. I stay home every day with our kids. Dont I deserve something???
                    As I said, one day he decided to make a concentrated effort to be a better husband. I noticed it right away. When I realized he was doing what he could, everything he could, I saw it was time to make a change in my life. The first step for me was letting go of the need to always be in control. I had to stop trying to 'stand up for my rights'. I had to let myself be submissive to my husband. And I had to do it with blind faith as well. I had to have faith that the man I love and trust would do the same for me. 
                     It was not easy. In fact, it was a terrifying process. Like falling backwards with my eyes closed  arms folded across my chest, hoping he was going to be there to catch me, or like jumping off the high dive board. My heart jumped to my throat. I was so afraid. I was frightened I was doing the wrong thing. But now, nearly a year later, several months of a deployment behind us, I know I couldnt have made a wiser choice. My marriage is meant to be. But it had no chance of survival when all I had in mind was me. When I put myself first. My husband had to be my priority. 
                     I am happy I made the changes I did. Im happy my husband made the changes he did. When we stopped trying to 'stand up for our rights' and and became submissive to one another, we became so much happier. I love my husband. And I hope he knows it. I appreciate all the effort he has put into our marriage. I know it wasnt easy, because it hasnt been for me. I do know the effort is 100% worth it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The best part of wakin' up

Most mornings I wake involuntarily. One child or another crawling on me or screeching in my ear for me to turn on the television or get them something to eat. This doesn't  happen at normal times, often it is in the predawn hours.
But sometimes, days like today, I am awakened by something that makes the rest of my day incredible. I end up floating on air. And that is a feat considering just how big I am! This morning my phone was ringing and I was getting a call from my husband! He was calling to talk to us on skype. I love when I get to wake up and see him.
The baby pushes everyone out of the way so she can talk to him. She is only 14 months old. Her vocabulary is limited to say the least, but she knows who her Daddy is. She screams at the screen and tries to grab him. "DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA" over and over again. The first word she spoke was Dada and the first time she said it was when we were on skype with him. She was only 8 months old when he left, but still knows him. I love it. It amazes me how well she knows him just by hearing his voice and seeing the terribly distorted and blurry video of him. In fact, whenever grandma and grandpa call us on skype, she pokes her head around the scream saying "Dada", certain it is him calling.
Buddy is always next to talk to daddy. He yells at me  until I put the baby down and he gets to see his dad. The very first thing buddy does is reach up and hug and kiss the screen of the laptop. Planting his lips smack dab over the camera. He wants to give his daddy love and will do so any way he can. He spends his time on skype with daddy sending him little emoticons, his favorite to send is the birthday cake and asks daddy to send him a root beer. The emoticon is actually a frosty and frothy beer mug, but Junior thinks it is root beer so who am I to burst his bubble? Shawn Jr is having an incredible rough time dealing with his dad being gone. He acts out and is often mean to the other kids when we have a long period of time between calls from his dad. I understand this is completely normal for some kids, it is just so hard to deal with.
Kayleigh loves talking to her dad. She wants to show him just how smart she is and everything she has learned while he is gone. For the last several weeks they have been "playing school" whenever they get to video chat on skype. He tells her to spell out words and she sounds the words out and types them and sends them to him. He tells her what an incredible job she is doing and she lights up like a Christmas tree. She wants to show him a new dance she has made up or stand on her head for him. She always asks "Daddy are you proud of my new (insert whatever she does here)?"
When it is finally mommy's turn to see and talk to daddy, we usually have to type. The kids see him and are so excited he is there, they are loud in the background, yelling and doing cartwheels and screaming "LOOK AT ME DADDY". So loud in fact he and I cant hear each other. As much as I love hearing his voice, I'm OK with that. I love seeing my children so animated. It means so much to me. We are lucky. Even though he is on the other side of the world, we still get to see him.
It wasn't long ago soldiers and their families had to rely on snail mail and cost prohibitive long distance calls to communicate with each other. Skype has been a life save for us. I wish we had known about it the last deployment. It makes me feel closer to my husband. We get to deal with issues with the kids together. We get to parent together even though he isn't here. We get to have snack time or meal time together. It bridges the gap. Last deployment, communication was sporadic at best. Even when he was able to call home, often times he didn't. He said it made it hard for him being so far away from us. This deployment, he said he could never make it without skype.
He isn't missing the little things people take for granted. He is seeing just how the kids are growing and maturing day to day (or week to week depending on how often we get to talk) instead of coming home for R&R and the end of the deployment feeling like he doesn't know them. Our relationship is growing and improving. We still have our tiffs, but they don't last and each of us will now admit when we are at fault. Something we have never done before.
I Love my husband and I appreciate all the effort he puts into seeing and talking to us from half a world away.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How do i do this?

Every day I wake up and look in the mirror. Every day he is gone I swear I see more lines form in the corners of my eyes and mouth and more carving deeply into my forehead. I wash my face and force myself to smile. I have to keep going on with every day like it isn't a big deal he is gone. I have to keep our three children happy. They have to believe this is just part of life. Well for us it is part of life. Daddy is a soldier. He is currently serving his second tour of duty. The first time was to Iraq a few years ago. And now we are halfway through his tour to Afghanistan. My children miss him so badly. They talk about him all the time. The carry around their 'daddy dolls', sleep on their 'daddy pillows', and look forward to the times we get to Skype with him. He has missed birthdays and holidays so many times we have learned to get through it without him. He missed the birth of his only son while he was fighting in the war in Iraq. But this is the life of a service member during war time. I cant complain despite how sad I am. i cant let it get me down. My husband is a hero. He volunteers to do what 99% of other people in our country will not do. And he is good at it. I respect him more than I can explain. Our children will grow up knowing the meaning of honor and integrity. So what do I do when I get down about him being gone? How do I keep my children from seeing me so upset? I look in the mirror and make the tears stop, washing them away with warm water. I clear my throat, stand up straight, smooth out the wrinkles in my clothes and put on my game face. No matter how badly I want to hide in a corner, crying, I cant. I have to be strong. I have to be the rock my children depend on to get them through this. I love my husband for the life he is giving to us.