Category Archives: Air Force wife

Finding Center

1BL_3779I sit sweltering at the kitchen table. The temperature has been reaching up to 106 degrees this week and our house has no ac. I lean my head against the wall and notice that from this vantage point the church in our tiny village is exactly centered between two of our porch columns. I vaguely wonder if it would make a good photo. My camera is all the way across the room though and it’s just too hot to move. I feel a bead of sweat slowly trace down my cheek. So I sit and think about the little village church. If you are native to Kathiana it is the church you would attend every Sunday and every holiday. How very different that is from my own church hopping experiences back home. I briefly ponder where we’ll make our church home if we find ourselves moving back to Arkansas. Neither is a given, the move or the church. It’s been a long time since we had a church to call our own and it would take consideration to choose the perfect one for our family. As sunset approaches I watch beautiful golden light bathe the whitewashed village church and I think about the people who worship there. Is it the perfect church for them? Probably not. But all the same they go. They join their family, friends, neighbors, enemies and even the guy who ran over their chicken week after week and they make it work because it’s their home.

As we wait to find out where we will be moving next – these reflections on “home” sit heavily upon my chest. I’m well versed in platitudes on the subject: “home is where the military sends you,” “home is where the heart is,” but platitudes bring me no peace in this period of transition. Nevertheless I move on day in and day out, making lunches, changing diapers and doing all the normal things that can sometimes feel even more a burden during times of limbo. But I’ve been surprised to find that this time the burden doesn’t seem too heavy and I’m mostly able to be at peace in it: in the small moments of every day life and in the assurance that all things work according to a higher plan. In the next couple of weeks we will be set upon a new path and I pray that we will walk it with equanimity, grace and above all, faith. Because while we may not have been born into a small close knit village with a default church, I know that there is a plan and a place for us; be it putting down roots this time or more short term stops along the way. And like that little church, centered and bathed in comforting golden light, I will carry on content in that knowledge.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

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. 

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.

IMG_6655-2

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.

IMG_6691-2

And waited.

IMG_6694-2

I was shaking with nervous excitement.

IMG_6668-2

IMG_6699-2

IMG_6717-2

The kids started to get antsy.

IMG_6713-2

IMG_6708-2

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.

see-3

IMG_6734-2

IMG_6785-2IMG_6788-2

We were together again.

1487676_811153608901967_2087301244_o

IMG_6760-2

IMG_6797-2

Bliss.

Tagged , , ,

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.

DSC02217

photo 4

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

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

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.

Tagged , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , ,

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.

photo(8)
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.

Tagged , ,

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

 

20130819-124158.jpg20130819-124148.jpg

Tagged , ,

Don’t be that guy

055907fe6a5b4c6f6b738f988f57f9b4

It seems that it is a funny balance, this milspouse thing. They tell you that it is important not to be isolated while your loved one is ripped away from you, that you should take all the support you can get. But then again…how much should we really say about it? Do we really want anyone to know we are going to be all alone for however long? My generation finds its support and comfort through the internet and social media. But it could be dangerous to say too much. In a culture that doesn’t find it strange for a blogger to real time stream her baby’s birth for the world to see, it seems odd, this needing to self edit. I don’t want to be isolated in this, because that will drive me crazy. I also don’t want to violate OPSEC or leave us vulnerable to crazy home invaders.

**Note to crazy home invaders:

Just sayin’.

Tagged , , , , ,