Thursday, July 31, 2014

When He gets Home

As with any deployment plans have changed again.  This news is better than the last, but I am being cautiously optimistic CJ and the rest of his unit will be home by Mid-September.  While I am ecstatic CJ will be home and we can begin the next chapter in our lives, I am a little sad as well.  CJ coming home means some of the things I have enjoyed with him gone will come to an end.

1. I love bedtime with the kids.  Some nights it is stressful, but it is our time to cuddle, read books and really be close.  When CJ is home I will have to share the kids again, and I'm not sure I want to all the time.

2. There is a sense of pride that I get whenever I accomplish the littlest of things.  High-five to me when I go to the store with both kids, get everything I need and have no meltdowns.  Plus I'm getting better at this doing it alone stuff so there are more and more high-five moments.

3. The paycheck will be missed.  Let's face it a deployed soldier makes a lot more than a cop.  Good bye morning latte and breakfast burrito at the coffee place by my office.  Hello breakfast bar and break room coffee.  The good news is we are now credit card free thanks to the deployment, CJ has a newer pickup, I had LASIK eye surgery (terrifying) and I got a sprinkler system installed in our big ass yard.  It would still be nice to have the extra money coming in, but I will take having my husband back over cash.  We got our financial goals accomplished for this deployment so we are both happy.

4. I'm really concerned I may gain back some of my weight.  With all the stress and constantly bing on the  move I have melted.  I have lost 50 lbs in the past 2 years.  The last 30 has been since November.  I really do not want to gain any.  As a precaution I ordered a fitbit the other day so we will see if it can keep me in check once it gets here in a couple of days.

5. Not only will I have to share the kids I will have to share my bed, shower, bathroom and everything else I have gotten used to having all to myself.  Boo!  I now have the mindset that I should not have to wait to take a shower, and I should be able to shower for as long as I damn well please on the weekends.  

6. There will be gross boy stuff again.  I can't quite put my finger on this one, but after CJ was gone for a while there was just less gross.  I've gotten used to no farting and no spit cups around.  I don't want gross to creep back into my house.  I doubt it creeps back anyway.  He has been eating army food for a while, and I'm sure home-cooked meals will bring the gross back in full force.

I hope you can tell two things from this.  First I am pretty sarcastic, and second that there are little hurdles that military families have to overcome once they are reunited.  CJ's life stopped for a year.  He left his job, his friends and his family; but we didn't put life on pause for him.  When he comes home things will be different.  The kids have grown and changed.  I have had to change in order to deal physically and emotionally with all the obstacles that have been thrown at me.  CJ coming home is great, but it will also be work for our family.  The good thing is that we both understand that and have talked about it.  We know there will be bumps in the road for us, but we are willing to take on that challenge.  (I will still miss my expensive coffee...tear)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How do You do it?

How do I do it?  I get asked this more than I get asked how I'm doing.  I think it is because people are afraid I'm just going to break down and sob.

I find the question funny.  How would I not do it?  This is my situation.  I'm alone with my kiddos while my husband is at war.  I don't have time to break down or feel sorry for myself.  I don't have time to drink my worries away.  I typically only finish about half a glass of wine between all my distractions.

Tonight I'm sitting on the one couch that isn't covered in unfolded laundry with my back purposely facing away from my sink full of dirty dishes.  I guess that's how I do it.  I don't stress the small stuff.  I will get to it eventually.....maybe, but I know my limits.  I'm exhausted, and I need to sit this evening.

I do it by not doing everything, and being content with not being perfect.  I still push myself to the very limits of my physical and emotional capabilities, but I know when to stop.  I know that tonight dishes and laundry won't get done.  I'm sure there are I some who would judge and say my pool time with the kids today could have been used better, but I beg to differ.  They only have one parent.  If I have to choose between wrinkles in my clothes or ignored kiddos I choose wrinkles every time!

My advice to anyone feeling the pressures of being the perfect wife, mom and employee during a deployment is to give up.  Don't give it all up, but know that you're not perfect.  Those that are expecting a sparkling house, clean and well behaved kids at all times and tons of overtime at work are living in a dream.  When you give up your spouse for a year or more you have to give up on a few other things as well.  I'm not advocating for living in filth, never bathing your children and quitting your job.  I'm just advising you should keep things in perspective. Know what is important and what isn't, and don't let yourself get too run down especially in the beginning.  That's how I do it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Forged by Fire

This Sunday I was at the church I grew up in.  While the preacher was new, nearly everything else remained the same.  It was hard sitting there with my parents and kids.  Church is supposed to be a family thing, and I am missing a huge part of mine.  It was in that loneliness and despair from learning of CJ's extension that God decided to speak to me through the sermon.  

Forged by fire.  What does it meant exactly?  When a metal is forged by fire it is placed in hot flames, shaped then cooled down.  The intense heat makes the metal playable and easily shaped by the right person.  As the metal cools it is transformed into a much harder, stronger and more pure piece of metal.

How does that pertain to a deployment or church one may ask.  Read the scripture below from 1 Peter 1:6-7.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 )

There you have it.  This is my test.  This is where my faith will be strengthened and purified.  It is through this deployment that I have learned to completely rely on God.  Most nights I have no clue how I made it through the day or how I'm going to make it through the next.  As I lay in my bed I pray for strength, support, comfort and a whole load of other things.  

I pride myself on being hugely independent.  This deployment has shown me that I am completely reliant on God.  To the outside world I may look like I'm doing it nearly all alone, but I know I'm not.  I know I would have failed by week 3 without God pushing, pulling and dragging me through.  Words can not express my gratitude in God for this.  

It amazes me every day how God knows exactly what little boost I need to make it through.  On Sunday it was a sermon that I swear was written just for me.  That may seem a bit odd since I already mentioned the only thing in my old church that has changed is the pastor.  God used a man who I've never met to push me through when I was at one of my lowest points right after learning CJ will be gone for much longer than expected.  

My trials aren't over, but the promise of joy ahead will keep me going.  The fire around me will not melt me.  It will only purify and strengthen my faith.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Rolling with the Punches

I've gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches.  I've had a lot of ups and downs in life.  This deployment has shown me a handful more, but not much could prepare me for what I learned on Thursday.  It rocked me to the point of tears which does not typically happen.  I cried in front of coworkers for the first time ever.

I had been at work for a mere 2 hours when CJ asked me if we could FaceTime.  I knew it was going to be bad since he wanted to tell me as close to face to face as possible.  I found a quiet room and quickly called.  The news that followed made me want to puke.  His unit is being reassigned.  Instead of coming home in August they will go to Kuwait.  There is no word on what exactly they will do from there, and more importantly no word on when they will be home.  They may be released when their original orders are up in October, but there is a highly probable chance their orders will be extended.  This could push their homecoming back to next summer. 

We all know it's possible for a unit with one foot out of country to end up staying, but I was beginning to get past my pessimism and believe he may actually be home by mid August.  

The saving grace for me is my kids.  When I told them my daughter asked if there was still more work to be done.  I told her yes, and she turned to my son and said Daddy needed to do more work but would be home when it was done.  I told her he might not be home for her birthday or Christmas, and she just said he is hurrying and it is ok.  How amazing from preschooler.  If my children can handle this so well I guess I can too.

Rolling with the punches doesn't mean we have to like them, and it doesn't mean we won't shed a tear or two.  It means we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward.  I will not be knocked out by any punches this deployment brings me.  I will make it to the end whenever that may be.