Blegh. On More than One Level

Blegh.

There. I said it. I’m feeling a little blue as the reality of going it alone for 9 months sinks in. I know I’m not  ALONE alone. There are plenty of people to help out, offer support and are just there for me and the kids. But, it isn’t Eric. There isn’t a replacement for a member of our family.

I’m starting to do the thing I think we all do as military spouses – I count down.
“This is the last box of his Shredded Wheat I’ll buy before he leaves….”
“This is the last gallon of milk he will drink before he goes”
“One more race to run without the kids before deployment”
“We have 2 more date nights before I won’t have a date for 9 months” etc.

And then there are other things too, like – “Only 3 3-month deployments”
“Only 9 times of paying the rent until he gets back”
“Only 1 Christmas….”

And on it goes. I think, for me at least, numbers help me not to feel overwhelmed. Today was a long day in general, and it’s days like this when I think about 9 whole months of these kinds of long days –  that’s when this whole deal seems incredibly daunting.

We will get through it. We don’t have any other choice. I know we’ll be fine, but it sucks just the same.

In other news – I think I sprained my toe. Ridiculous, I know. I rammed my foot into the staircase bannister in the dark last night and this morning it was difficult to even walk on it! It’s a nice shade of light blue/purple and when I put on shoes this morning I saw stars.

Not good.

Especially when I have a half marathon to run one week from Saturday. Hmmmm. Perhaps I won’t be running….we will see how fast it heals. What really ticks me off is the fact that it’s the 4th toe – you know, the really useless one that doesn’t do much.

I hate it when I can’t run. It’s one thing to take a day off, but to NOT be able to just makes me want to run that much more! Grrr.

Ok, blegh-ness over.

Ready to feel like myself tomorrow!

Heal toe, heal!!

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Positives of a deployment…

With deployment looming in the not-so-distant future, I was thinking yesterday about some of the things I actually look forward to during a deployment.

Things like mowing the lawn.
Yep. I actually LOVE mowing the lawn. There is something so gratifying about seeing those freshly made tracks on the grass, the smell of it mixed with gasoline (gross, I know – but I like it!) and doing something physical, getting a little sweaty and being outside! The other added bonus is that my kids see a strong mom that can handle so-called “man jobs”.

Independence
On the tail of the “man jobs”, I find self reliance extremely gratifying. I know that every time I look back at deployments, losing weight, running marathons or any difficult challenges – I am so proud of myself for sticking it out and getting through it.

Other Stuff To Do….
The kids will also learn that while we miss Daddy terribly while he is gone – we can talk about our feelings, cry, get mad – feel our feelings, whatever they may be. And while we are feeling those emotions, still have things to look forward to. Like preschool, play dates and potty training!! (Hannah, not Jake 😉 By the time he returns we will be a diaper-free household!! Hallelujah!!
We are also planting a garden so there will be all kinds of fun with harvesting come this fall! And we’ll (hopefully) get to carve a pumpkin that we grew for Halloween! So fun!

Being “queen of the castle”.
Of course we will be able to make any big decisions together via email or occasional phone calls, but for the “littles”- the daily little decisions, there is no one else I have to check in with. The kids and I can do our own thing when, and if, we want. Or not. 😉

Being over the “everyone’s-crabby-we-know-it’s-coming-pick-a-fight-phase”
Before our first deployment and newly married some 11 years ago, we attended a pre-deployment briefing led by a chaplain. He talked about the emotional stages of deployment, things to be aware of, things to say/not say, etc.  One thing he discussed was this phase about 2-4 weeks before a deployment, most couples will start to emotionally separate, knowing that the deployment is imminent. We would pick fights over silly things, be extra sensitive, etc. I laughed. Surely I am (ahem) mature enough to not act like such a child (she says with her nose in the air).
I was so wrong. It happened and still happens. Every. Single. Deployment. Luckily, we can laugh about it, even as we are in the midst of it, knowing it’s just this yucky phase, and that it will pass. And both of us are looking forward to it being over!

LESS LAUNDRY!
Whew! It’s amazing how one less person makes WAY less laundry! Not that I mind doing laundry (I mean really…. throwing it into a machine is pretty hard, right?!) but it is significantly less clothing to fold and put away. And of course with two kiddos – I have enough already! HA!

Romance.
I’ve often said this isn’t the life for everyone. I think it takes special commitment and dedication to making the best of a separation. (I have to laugh when I watch shows like The Biggest Loser and they get all freaked out from being away from their spouses for a few weeks!) There is truth to the statement that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Deployments aren’t easy.  In fact, I’m finding that the longer we are married, the harder they become, for various reasons. I love my hubbs. And I love looking forward to homecoming!!!

Pre Deployment Blahs

Tonight we went to a pre-deployment “fair”. Basically it’s some tables set up in the base chapel and you go from table to table where they give you little handouts, phone numbers, and support contacts for “dealing with deployment”. Ugh. This is the part of military life I detest.

The information is needed, but I am still in the “head-in-the-sand-no-you-are-NOT-leaving-me-alone-with-two-kids-for-9-months-ignore-it-it-will-go-away-blah-blah-blah-I-can’t-hear-you!” phase. Yes, that is a phase of the process! And going to this “fair”, as they call it, makes me have to pull my head out (of the sand) and have to deal.

I just don’t wanna!

Okay, crybaby tantrum now complete, I do have to say I am REALLY excited about a video they gave us for the kiddos! It’s an Elmo video for military kids. It talks about deployment at their level so they might get a little more understanding on why Daddy has to go away for a while. I have to give a huge BRAVO to Sesame Street for producing this! Check out their site – www.sesameworkshop.org

Random Thoughts…

I’m feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to live in so many wonderful places and so grateful for the AMAZING people I have met along the way. I remember thinking not too long ago that I felt like this last year has been especially great and I was wishing I hadn’t “wasted” so much time the first two years or that I had found bootcamp earlier.
Then I came across this:
So true. I don’t think I was ready when we first got here.
Now is right on time.
I like that.
And while part of me wishes that I did have a few more months of these great people and fantastic experiences….it would simply prolong the inevitable “goodbyes” that I just wish we didn’t have to say.
Now is right on time.
I have the tools in my tool belt. There is only excitement at what lies ahead.

Commissary

So I have a, shall we say, love/rage relationship with the commissary. Here on the island it is by far the most economical place to shop. It does have its drawbacks though: EVERYONE and their mother is there on the same day since department of defense employees all get paid ON THE SAME DAY. The produce can be very lacking in terms of quality. And there is a very weird smell in the fish section. Yuck.

Well today I left my brain at the house and decided to brave it – on payday. Did I mention it was crowded? Oy. So I’m behind two ladies in the produce section waiting very impatiently for my crack at the red peppers. Meanwhile, both of my children seem to turn into octopi the instant we walk through the sliding doors grasping at every carefully arranged pile of fruit just threatening to create a lovely spectacle just for me to clean up! So back to the peppers and the ladies having a very in depth conversation (who knew bell peppers were so dang fascinating?!) completely oblivious to my impatience. So I spy a stray red pepper in the green pepper section and I grab it thinking, “okay, I’ll just grab that one and be on my way” – when suddenly out of nowhere,this “lady” SLAPS MY HAND and says “nananana!” or something. It really sounded like some kind of primal pepper scream! REALLY!? Apparently the green peppers are the holding area for this lady’s red pepper selections.

Based on years of obtaining food for my family, as well as my personal pet peeves (aka rage inducers), let me just offer a few words of advice to my fellow grocery getters:

1. If you see a mom in the store struggling with her kids – she is in fact struggling and REALLY does not want or need your look of disdain that plainly says she is doing it all wrong. As moms, we think we are getting it wrong half the time anyway. Your look helps no one.

2. Be aware. When traveling down an aisle – STICK TO YOUR SIDE! There are other people trying to get through and yes, you are in the way!

3. I love looking at ingredients and discovering new product, but does it need to take you an hour to read the bag of marshmallows? It’s sugar. Put the bag down you don’t need it and move on!

4. Watch where your cart is. My heels and my rear do not appreciate being biffed and bashed. (Although a case may be made for not seeing my rear as it has shrunk considerably! 😉

5. There will be enough meat. Knocking me down to get that t-bone really isn’t necessary. Maybe the 500 other packs of steaks are somehow invisible.

6. When my kid is having a meltdown, please don’t offer to “help” or give advice. Mostly it just makes it worse.

7. Don’t park your motorized ride-on cart in front of 3 doors of milk while you peruse your shopping list. Really?!

8. Do you really need to inspect (and by inspect, I mean touch, finger, and massage) every piece of produce after I just watched you not-so-discreetly pick your nose! Gross!

9. Definitely do not tribal scream at me and slap my hand! A bell pepper is simply not worth me giving you a beat down! (and I could’ve totally taken her! I’ve been working out you know!)

10. And finally, to the very kind lady at the checkout – thank you so much for saying how beautiful my children are. You made my day!! And after I got slapped, I really needed that!! 😉