Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Single Parent?

Does the fact that CC is gone mean that I am currently a single parent?  People toss the phrase "single parent" around like it should be some term that I indentify with.  Well, I would like to set the record straight.

Though I am the only parent present in our home currently, I am not a single parent.  That's right, not.  N-O-T.  If you were to ask if my kids were being raised in a single parent home, I would say no every day, deployment or not.

At the moment, however, I am a "double parent."  I, as part of my promise to love my husband, am currently doubling up on the things I need to do as a parent.  Usually, when Bubba needs a haircut, Daddy takes him - the barber shop does lend itself to a boys-only zone.  Fixing things around the house, taking care of the cars, taking out the trash, wrestling with the kids - those tasks are usually under CC's domain.  I need to take special care to pay attention to my kids and give them more of me because Dad isn't here to talk to them about their days, too.

But, even as I write this, it seems as though I am taking something away from CC.  He is still Daddy even though he's far away.  I don't see myself as "Mom and Dad," I see myself as Mom times 2.  I can not replace CC's presence in the kids' lives but I can work to make his absence easier for them to manage.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Invisible

I am proud of our family.  I am proud that we go through trials and come out stronger on the other side.  I am proud that my husband is a member of the military.  I am proud of each and every accomplishment that my children achieve.

BUT, I am a quiet-type of proud.  I tend not to make a big deal of things that go on and certainly do not wish for any sort of recognition.  Military spouses are often referred to as the "silent ranks" - I get that, I do.  Yet, I wish to be more than that - invisible.

I don't need to make known how long my husband's been gone or to where or when he'll be home.  I don't want to talk about being a "single" parent as the kind woman I work with yesterday brought up.  I don't care for thanks for all that my family does -this is our life, you are thanking us for being ourselves which feels so awkward.  I almost wish they would all forget that CC is gone and treat me like a whole person and not like someone to be pitied...or that I were invisible in this way.

I know, I sound so unappreciative of the efforts to connect to me.  But, that's just it - they aren't trying to connect to ME, just the idea of what I should be as the wife of a deployed airman.  It seems like whenever there needs to be attention brought to someone or something, the information becomes assembled into this nice, neat package to deliver to everyone.  I don't fit into a pre-assigned notion of a military wife, not by a longshot.  There are some that do but I'm not one of them.

I am a strong, rather silent, take-care-of-it-all kind of woman.  I want to be reminded that I am more than a deployment (because, hell yes I am!).  I want to you to go out of your way to get to know me and, please, do it when CC's home because that shows me you're doing it for genuine reasons.  My best friends (that, by the way, are not military spouses) don't ask me how "single" parenting is going.  They don't ask me when he'll be home or count down since he's gone.  They love me for me.  They text or call to ask how my day was and listen to me fuss about the mess/kids/bills/car.  They encourage me without patronizing and mean it.  They remind me that I am strong when I don't feel like I am.  They let me be invisible when I need it because they understand me.

I guess this is just a bunch of rambling but this has been eating at me...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Weighty Issues

SO, in the time that CC has been gone, I have been trying to lose weight.  So far, I'm down about 3 pounds.  It was 5 then stress hit.  Yes, that's right, I admit it.  When I get overwhelmed, I am known to grab ice cream or chocolate or fast food instead of cooking.  I am working diligently to change this though.  I have tried very hard to ensure that I cook dinner and rarely eat out.

In addition, with 3 kiddos, I feel like there is little time to work out.  I have been making a conscious effort to work out after they go to bed in the evening or early in the morning.  My routine is getting more solid and I have seen inches come off.

But, I know that the scale needs to budge, too.  The amount I weigh is not the only important thing and I truly know that.  Yet, I know my weight before I had kids and my weight now is about 30 pounds more than that.  I was strong then.  I was by no means "skinny" and that is simply not realistic for my body type.  I want to be fit and that is my main goal but I know that I need to focus on eating right and exercising in a manner that will help take some weight off of my frame, too.

I am working on sticking to fresh fruits, veggies, and lean protein.  I have cut out soda (and I miss it!) and am drinking green tea and water.  I am working out every day.

I am trying and giving my best, every day.  I hope that I can lose at least 20 more pounds before CC comes home.  In an ideal world, I could lose all 30 before then but I don't want to set myself up to fail.  So, here's to trying...

Friday, June 1, 2012

They think they know.

For many of us, it's our nature to attempt to understand the things around us.  To show some sort of comprehension and empathy for those with circumstances different from our own.  For those living lives not directly connected to the military or consumed by the world of deployment, I appreciate the want to show me that you get it and that you "understand."  BUT...

You don't.  I can try to sugar coat that and make you feel better about your lack of understanding yet I am so thankful (and jealous) that you do not have to get it, that you do not have to know what this life is like.  A lack of understanding of this lifestyle does not make you less of a person.  There are so many situations that I do not know and therefore cannot comprehend...I have never lost my husband, nor a child, I have never suffered through a life-threatening illness, or a divorce, the list goes on.  I am positive that there are things that have gone on in your life that I would not be able to fathom, which is as it should be, we are all unique and see the world through lenses tinted with our personal experiences.

That being said, there are no two military wives that approach a deployment in exactly the same manner.  Please, respect that.  Each day is new and the pain, or lack thereof, is our own.  There are days that I wake up and am ready to tackle every obstacle in front of me and it would appear that I do not miss CC.  I assure you that the pain of separation is constantly there but, some days, I am in denial, just numb or simply too overwhelmed to give in and recognize it.  There are days when I seriously consider not getting out of bed at all.  That's the truth.  Is it a truth that I wear on my sleeve for everyone to see?  Absolutely not because I want my husband to be proud of how I handle myself in all situations.

Sadly, though, so many think they know how I must feel.  If I'm not crying and falling apart, I must not miss him enough.  If I need a break to just breathe and catch up, I must be on the verge of falling apart because I miss him too much.  It is not that simple, I promise.  I also promise you that I miss my love with all that I am but love him more than that - I don't need to pronounce it publicly every day because I live my promise to love him through it all.  If you see nothing else when you look at me, see that.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More kids?

Okay, so, I need to talk about something that it definitely personal but also just never seems to resolve itself for me.  CC and I have 3 beautiful kids.  The age difference between the oldest and the youngest is 3 years...yes, that means that I gave birth 3 times in 3 years.  I never planned on 3 kids.  I had two, I was content and thought, hey, we're good with this.  But, then baby #3 came along and swept me away by surprise.  They all bring such joy to my life and I am so thankful for them...they also require a great deal from me when CC is away.

So, how do I know if I want or don't want more?

I go back and forth on an almost daily basis.  At this point, I hate to wait too much longer because then there would be such a big gap (compared to the gaps I currently have) between the youngest and any new baby.  But, then, I just don't feel ready for another.  I was anxious for the first for many reasons, and so ready for my second.  The  third, she shocked me and I had no time to contemplate having another or not.  Now, I have this time to think and wonder.

Can I handle another?  4 kids in a grocery store? doctor's appointments? sports?

Can I afford another?  4 kids to feed and clothe = $$$$


Can I provide emotionally for another?  4 kids to nurture...realistically, often alone.

Then, I think of other things.  My girls have each other.  My son could surely use a brother, right?  But, a brother 10 years younger (which is what would happen if I keep debating this and then decide yes)?  Even number of kids makes it easy to pair everybody up...silly, I know, but this is what I think of.

I just don't know.  I do know that I rambled quite a bit here, but I put some of it out there, which I needed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dear CC

Dear CC,

It's been more than 10 years since we started on this crazy ride together...at first as two crazy-in-love young people, then as the crazy-in-love husband and wife.  You would think that after all this time that the separations and goodbyes would be easier.  It's not.  The hurt is overwhelming each and every TDY and deployment.  The loneliness is dark and intimidating...the tears still come as I watch you walk away, lie awake without you, and have to face each day alone.  There are days when I don't know how to keep going - but I do.  Would you like to know why?

Because I love you.  I would wait years to see you for one day.  You are the other piece of me that is always there no matter how far apart we are.  You were meant for me and I knew it the first time I looked in your eyes.  I am blessed to have someone to love so much that it hurts to watch you walk away - how unlucky would I be to just wave goodbye and move on with my day?  Yes, it hurts, but after months apart, I know that I will have an amazing day filled with butterflies in my stomach and the wonder of a first kiss...the overwhelming comfort of an embrace...the mixed blessing of no sleep as I marvel that you are in fact home with me.

I keep going because I am proud of all you do.  I am proud that you give your all to your job - a job you love and are so passionate about.

I make it through because I need to.  I need you. 

I love you, always.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oh my.

So, in our world, Saturday mornings mean soccer for Bubba.  And, usually, that is Daddy and son activity where us ladies observe and encourage.  This morning, I say "Time to get ready for soccer!" and hear "Is Dad here?" 
"Uh, no, son, he's not." 
"Who's taking me to soccer?" 
"I am." 
"Oh."

Ouch.  He then tells me that he doesn't want to go.  We get ready anyway, we get there and he halfway pays attention.  I attempt to assist in coaching him and participate in the drills as his partner while toting a toddler and watching a preschooler out of the corner of my eye.  I think I am more tired than he is and he kept telling me he wanted to quit.  This is heartbreaking for me.  I want to make everything okay for him.  I want his dad here, too.  And, we have just started this journey...the next few months are going to be trying.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pity party? No, thank you.

So, in preparing to deal with CC's deployment, I needed to talk to my supervisor about taking a day off work and chat with a few other coworkers about things that needed taken care of.  Blah, blah, blah.  The part that drives me crazy is that I feel as though they think I am going to fall apart right then and burst out in tears and wail about how I will never make it through.  The pitiful looks that I get make me so uncomfortable, especially when it appears that I further disappoint them by straightening up just a little more and saying, "No need to be sorry.  This is our life.  We can do this."

I know that non-military families do not understand how this is for us; I know that they have the best intentions, I really do.  But, I hate sharing what is going on when I feel like they are waiting on me to fall apart so that they can sweep in and rescue me.  I am a private person, I handle my business and I have great friends that are there when I need some extra support.  And, if I threw myself a pity party every time our lives were difficult, I would be curled up in bed most days feeling bad for myself.

And, truly, it does hurt and I do want to break down in tears in the middle of the most random things and conversations.  But, I know that I can't.  I know that I need to hold myself together and make it through.  Make him proud of me and support him through this. 

Strength party?  I'll take one of those.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What's military life without changes?

So, whilst enjoying a much needed vacation, CC received word that he would not be deploying for 6 months...only 4.  Yeah, see, I thought if I typed only 4 it would seem so much easier to swallow but it still stings.  The truth of it is that I am relieved to hear that we may get a reprieve on the length of separation (and I say may with the tone of a woman who has done this long enough to know that the moment I say: we will, the universe feels the need to slap me with another change).  Oh, and he's leaving SOON.  Yes, the time frame I was working with gave us some more family time and time to plan, adjust, and hug a bit longer. 

And, yeah, I was highly perturbed that my family vacation was interrupted with news of deployment.  I was enjoying my bubble of serenity (read: denial) which promptly burst with that phone call.  I had to work a little bit harder at forgetting what is coming and cherishing our family time together.

But, this is the life we live.  I am the wife who recognizes the tone of voice that goes with this type of call and hurries the kids off to distract them.  I don't ask questions and I don't ask why - but I am honest and I will say that it sucks.  And, I do say sarcastic things like: "I'm so glad they called during our vacation to give us this news, awesome!" Because, sarcasm is my defense against the pain.  Among all of that though, I also support my husband with "I know you want this and I am proud of you.  I will be fine."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's not fair.

Prepping for deployment is shaky ground.  There are conversations to have, paperwork to get in order, and time to spend as a family, without letting life get in the way.  Over the years, there is one phrase that sticks with me: It's not fair.

As CC and I were attempting to sort through a disagreement about some things, he asked me to tell him deep down what I want from him.  That's simple: don't go.  Ever.  Yes, I said it.  Yes, it's selfish (he asked for deep down).  But, truly, I don't know a military wife that wouldn't love to see her husband as fulfilled in his career at home as he is when he's deployed.  We know what it means and understand it's necessity.  We support our husbands through it.

But, still, it's not fair.  It's not fair that I love someone who has to leave me, who has to leave our kids.  It's not fair all of the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, Mondays that he will miss here at home and will feel just a bit empty for us.

I know that, at this point, there are wives out there shaking their heads at me that I would dare to suggest or, *gasp* tell my husband that it's not fair.  But, guess what?  That's the honest truth.  Not the truth I have rationalized to make it through the days, but the deep down truth of how it feels when CC has to go.  As an adult, I understand that just because it's not fair does not mean that I am any less blessed. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's hard.

Marrying CC is one of the best things I have done with my life.  That does not, however, mean that it is easy every day.  Do I love him every day?  Yes, though sometimes the "I like you" meter runs a little low.  It is difficult to have a marriage that is centered around a military career, in addition to all of the other day-to-day things that go on/wrong.

So, yes, I'm saying that it is hard to be married.  It's hard to remember that bad times don't last forever.  It's hard to have strings of days where talking is essentially nonexistent, followed by days, weeks, months of geographical separation that add fuel to the fire of discontent.  It's hard to not to take each other for granted.  It's hard for a million reasons.

But, it's easy for one: I love him.  Deep down, through everything, I love him.  I have loved him since the first moment I looked into his eyes when I was barely a teenager.  He is the missing piece of my life.  As I continue to watch the days on the calendar tick away so quickly, with D-day sneaking up silently, I remind myself that I love him.  And, I work on our marriage, making sure it's strong and solid for the next set of rough, lonely months.

It's hard...loving someone that has to leave...but if I had to decide to wait 10 years to see him for only one day or to give up and start a new life without him...that's an easy choice...I can do distance, I can't do losing him.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

D-Time

Depolyment is rapidly sneaking up on us.  6 months of separation is, oddly, not that daunting to me - I never thought that I would be doing this long enough to say, "Hey, 6 months, I got this."  Now, please, understand that does not mean that I am thrilled to see CC go - I just realize my energy is better spent looking at the light at end of the tunnel than focusing on the long, dark tunnel itself.

To me, the worst part of deployment is goodbye.  The time leading up to it when you know it's coming and you want to cherish every minute and time is not cooperating with you.  Someone asked on their blog not too long ago, I apologize but I can not remember who, would you rather have a long deployment or a lot of short trips that add up to the same amount of time?  I wholeheartedly stand by my response of: give me the deployment.  It's one goodbye and one re-integration.  That is far easier for me emotionally and for my kids; the coming and going (which by the way is also a part of the crew chief life) is more taxing on everyone.

I am dreading another goodbye and another set of months where he will miss everything.  Yep, everything.  All 5 of our birthdays, our anniversary, etc.  I'm sad to think of all the milestones he will miss with the kids.  Bubba will be starting big boy school in the fall.  Sissy will move up to preschool.  Liss is really starting to talk.

Yet, I have already set my list of goals and laid out how I will make it through these months.  I know it will fly by, once it gets started.  And, that's my struggle.  I truly don't want him to go but at the same time, deep down, my heart is screaming "Please, just go so you can come home!"  It's a crazy feeling.  Oh well, such is the life of a military wife.