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...

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.