Speaking


I’m not very good at it. I’d rather run away than disagree or fight. But sometimes something is too important to me, too deeply felt. This situation has not come up for me in a real raw way that leads me to openly witness to someone yet, but maybe every-time a situation causes me to break my comfort barrier it will bring me more peace in witnessing about my faith. In the meantime I do try to live my life in a way that exhibits God’s love and thus witnesses indirectly. 

It’s not enough, but I hope to always be learning and growing.

Time

It’s funny, living this semi-nomadic life. We exist outside of place, not time but it often seem like time moves at a different pace for us. We come, we go – we sever ties, or just wrap them up and freeze them for later. We go and then come back and time has skipped along – we see it in new gas stations, the growth of children and in the new products lining store shelves but it seems wrong with time only having dabbled, dragged, dripped and scuttled along.  

But here it is, almost a new year. My baby is two, the big boys so big. And our stint overseas, initially a year, then near three – is almost over.


 There will be endings and new beginnings. We long for stability; a home where we can hang shelves and have pets. And a mini van to soothe the cramped car blues (not to mention the bad news from the mechanic about my aging Subaru). A homeschool co-op and my kitchen aid mixer from storage. All the little strings of our lives that have been stored here and there, shoved into nooks and crannies or merely a chest of hopes to await a day when it will all come together. Coming home is an exciting prospect! 

But there is fear here too – it comes unbidden and unwanted. Job change is scary enough but it’s that and everything else. The missing of beaches, and novelty. Job security and holding patterns. The unknown is scary but God knows and that does bring me peace. I’m no stranger to these periods of tumultuous change, these times when I am standing on a cliff in the dark with only faith to guide my next step. I guess I always hoped it would become easier with practice or time. Maybe to an extent it does. I don’t have the luxury of ruminating over the anxiety with three small needy boys. I just press onward. Onward. Ever onward. 
And so here we are greeting another new year. We hope to do so with grace, peace, trust, and joy. But I can’t promise there won’t a wee pinch of trepidation along the way. 

A break

Taking a Facebook break is freeing and annoying. To have vivid proof of ones addiction in the constant impulse to click on an app that is no longer there…

Also, it’s just an annoyance. I’d like to invite the homeschool group to the park today, but … no Facebook. I love the benefits though. Facebook is such a time suck and a distraction and it influences my mood far too often. 
Maybe this will be a more permanent thing. 

Sleeping, perchance

My youngest is a bad sleeper. My pediatrician has confirmed this as a diagnosis, ha. His non-sleeping habits have caused no little chaos to our family dynamic. I’ve been beyond tired. Combine this with tandem nursing until Connor turned three and hello extended postpartum hormonal land. Survival mode is my normal now. 

While big boys sleep, I try to fold laundry. Wesley helps by not only not sleeping but also unloading the recycling bin. Thanks dude.

Messy normal – the laundry I spent/wasted naptime folding? Baby unfolded it while I helped the toddler potty.

Some days my kids get organic meals crafted into fun designs. Sometimes things are more survival-y and they get cold canned chicken/beets on tupperware lids because there are no clean plates.

Some days this is my to-do list.

Connor weaning and potty training has made me feel somewhat more normal and this week I’ve set some new routines in place that just haven’t been possible in my baby and travel weary brain until now. A morning circle time routine should help with the noise complaints from our (late sleeping) downstairs landlords. And finally making the decision to crawl out of bed and run before the kids are up: this is a big one. When you feel like you’re drowning in exhaustion, every minute in bed is golden. But somehow making the decision to get up on your own and do something in the quiet pre-kid calm is worth every lost moment with my cozy blanket nest. Not to mention the mood and energy enhancements from the run itself. It’s good stuff. 
None of that means I won’t still be tired, pants-less, disorganized and grumpy with my kids… But it’s a start. 

A long time.

It has been a long time since I blogged. Life has raced forward, as it has a tendency to do. When you last saw your heroine…there were only two wee ones and it was post deployment/reintegration. So, obviously that went well…and now we have three boys. Hubby got orders overseas, which we never in a million years thought would actually happen. We are now 1.5 years into his 2 year tour in Crete, Greece. It is lovely, alien, and already familiar. Closing time is near enough for me to be anxious about leaving this island, which has become our home. We don’t know yet where we will be blown next by that silly north wind but stay tuned and I will try to write more frequently, as I did in the past. The old anxiety monster has tapped me on the shoulder again and has necessitated that counter measures be taken. So, I will be right here; writing, running, praying, swimming, loving, raising my voice and then apologizing, wiping bottoms and boogers, traveling, and all of the rest of the things that make up my crazy beautiful life. I hope you’ll read along with me 🙂

The acquisition

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories.”

 – Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey

And this deployment has given me many. It was hard but I have absolutely grown and our family is even stronger. Yes, it was a bittersweet holiday season but far after the memories of lonely days and missed milestones have faded I’m betting I will remember the excitement at homecoming. It was one of the most emotionally charged days of my life; exquisitely tangible anticipation and joy.

And nervousness – oh, I was so nervous. What if I didn’t recognize him? What if the baby cried? What if Rowan acted up? What if everyone thought I was making too big a fuss? Not big enough? What if, what if, what if.

And as it often turns out, the day wasn’t perfect. Connor had been running a 103 fever since the day before.

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He was sick and I was tired.

The plane was scheduled to land super early in the morning – and neither kid wanted to be roused. But my wonderful Aunt showed up long before the crack of dawn with breakfast and coffee and we made our way out. We met with my awesome friend, who had volunteered her hands for holding and her camera for memory catching. We hurried up…to wait.

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And waited.

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I was shaking with nervous excitement.

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The kids started to get antsy.

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And then…nothing else mattered any more. It didn’t matter that the baby was cranky or that I actually didn’t recognize him at first. The only thing that mattered was this.

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We were together again.

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Bliss.

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Stability and subtext

The deployment literature says the first 6 weeks are the “emotional confusion/disorganization stage”: where you feel abandoned, lost and overwhelmed. Crying frequently. Insomnia.
We are 7 weeks in and and I’ve been there, done that (still not sleeping).
The next stage is billed as “adjustment/recovery” where we have established routines, communication and I feel confident and less angry/despairing. A couple of weeks ago I told a friend that I didn’t think we would ever get to that point – that I would probably just cry the whole time. That may well be true: to an extent. The holidays are upon us and he is missing out. We are missing him. But. We are…well…stabilizing. I don’t cry while making pancakes or driving much now. The tears have been traded for a constant dull ache. Something is missing. He is missing.

But we go on.

I threw a Halloween get-together.

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Mad props to my mom and aunt Char, who helped soooo much with party prep and kid wrangling that day!

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We are planning for the holidays and for my upcoming birthday. We text and Skype. Boxes are being sent both ways. I am happy. I enjoy my boys and life is good. I am acutely aware on a daily basis of how very blessed I am. Still, his absence is the elephant in every room – the unvoiced subtext in every conversation. And that is where he will stay – always in my thoughts – until he is in my arms again.

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And the picture was crystal clear

Several weeks ago, this happened.standingdad

We waited in a room for two hours and then in a few quick moments we cleared the room and they were rushed onto a bus. A quick kiss. A few waves of a baby’s chubby hand. A frustrated preschooler who just wanted his dinner – not really understanding the import of that moment. And then he was gone.

We’ve been fine in the weeks since. Sure, there was the stomach virus that knocked us flat. And there have been the tantrums and nightmares, but I was prepared for all of that: I figured it was coming. After all, it was in the deployment literature.
We are keeping busy. Connor has gotten his first teeth and Rowan is quickly improving at soccer. We are having play dates and doing some preschool with Rowan. I am delighting in our precious boys and praying for my husband. It’s all good.

But sometimes, quite unexpectedly, I will cry. I will cry while making pancakes. While driving down the interstate. I hide those tears from the kids. No one has to know about those moments of weakness.

Tonight though, like many nights that we Skype, being able to see him but not reach out – through the miles – got to me. I try not to cry in front of him either. But tonight particularly, the internet connection was really good. The picture was crystal clear, no pixelation. All the better to see the tears shining in our eyes, the big fat drops that traced down my cheeks.

So, let me officially state: this is hard. We are doing it. We are ok. But it is hard. And that is all I have for tonight.

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Objects of my disaffection

We are close to leave day. Packing close. Our house – in addition to being flooded with baby things – is now overrun with new boots to be laced, new uniforms to be washed/prepared, new bags, new socks, toiletries – mounds of stuff to be packed. I hate it all. I hate the bags spilling out into our hallway, congesting the top of our dresser. I loathe each piece of paraphernalia: each piece like a brick, one on top of the other, building the wall which will separate our family.

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A few minutes ago I leaned in the doorway, glowering at the bag on our bed, accumulating neat rows of folded clothing. And then it occurred to me: each one of those shoelaces and Velcro patches will soon be taking care of my husband where I cannot. I won’t be able to offer a comforting hug after a long day, so new sheets, please do it for me. There will be no foot rubs for sore feet after his 12 hour, six day a week shifts; new socks, please provide comfort for them. Multicam rain jacket – yeah, ugly, I’m talking to you – please give my husband warmth and dryness in your embrace until I can again.

Perhaps I can take comfort in this frame of mind until he leaves. The uniforms will be gone. The bags will be gone. On the surface, order will be restored to our house. Then I am sure his side of the bed, his toothbrush, the dust gathering on his Xbox, all the things that have no place in his life for the rest of this year, will take over screaming at me.

But that’s a problem for another day. For today, I will go hug my family and feel blessed that we are still under one roof.

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How to turn an alien pig into bacon

Hubby went back to work after a week off for a family visit. Boo. The visit was awesome; lots of fun and a great birthday party for hubs. With the fun behind us, it’s time to hit deployment prep hard. Accordingly, today so far, I have moped on the sofa and played with play dough. Very productive. This deployment can just go fly a kite. 😡20130819-124033.jpg

 

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