YAY!! HAPPY HALF WAY DAY! 203 days down (203 more days to go).....
It's hard to believe that we have come this far. It feels like an eternity since Gary left and the days are hard, yet we have survived. I'm definitely not looking forward to the coming winter months, but Gary's 2-week R&R is COMING SOON - only 6 weeks away! Another big yay! It has been really difficult for Olivia, affecting her more than I ever imagined, so this will be a good time for us as a family. I wish it were here now!
On another note, it's hard to describe the challenges we face as military families when our spouses are deployed. Every day is an obstacle, exhausting beyond comprehension. When everything is on your shoulders and you are solely responsible for your children, the house, the maintenance, the cars, the bills, the family birthdays and special occasions, the pets, the cooking, the cleaning, etc. etc. etc. The task is daunting and the breaks are few and far between.
Ready for my cheesy rhyme?? My hats...As a spouse of a deployed servicemember, you are:
Mom, Dad, Maid, Cook,
The one who has to give the kids the look,
Chauffeur, cheerleader, teacher,
& always-do-what's-right preacher.
Princess, Queen, and superhero,
Fighting villans, defending honor,
it's a privilege I will not squander.
Inventor, creator, ready-for-a-surprise maker,
cake baker, temp taker, having-all-the-answers faker.
Shopper, mender, healer,
kiss goodnight/sleep tight keeper,
Dish washer, kid washer, socks-in-the-laundry tosser,
bill payer, money saver, monster-under-the-bed slayer,
spider smasher, bug catcher, think-of-a-good-idea hatcher.
Tear swiper, nose wiper, changer of the stinky diaper.
So many hats, which one to wear?
I do it all because I care.
I do it because I love them so,
more than you could ever know.
See? Told you it was cheesy. :)
So, how do we do it? How do we stay connected? Communication is key ... phone calls, emails, letters, whatever you are able to do. You find yourself really looking forward to it, so much so, that I rearrange my day if I know Gary is going to call and can be heartbreaking if he doesn't call, or worse, if he does and can only stay on for 5 minutes. I know, we should be grateful for what time we do get, but 5 minutes is a hello, how are the kids, everything okay? and then it's a I have to go, I love you and I'll call again soon. Trying to keep them as involved and informed as possible is really important, it's like they are still here and a part of our family. Then I don't feel so alone either.
It's hard to explain how we live on a day to day basis. Routines are key. Family and friends some how become more important. Comfort can be found in the simplest gesture...a child's smile, a cup of coffee with mom, a phone call from a friend, an offer to cook dinner or mow the lawn, little things that one might consider trivial have the biggest impact. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Crying is okay; being strong is better. Doing it all is hard; admitting that we can't do it all is harder. Time is of the essence and there is never enough of it. Staying busy helps the time fly by; yet time feels like it creeps by no matter how busy one is. Taking it one day at a time is the only way to save your sanity.
Alone can be good...and bad. Gary said to me on the phone, "When I get home, you can go out and do whatever you feel like. I'll take care of the kids so you can have some "me" time...alone." But I tried to explain to him, I am alone all the time. I don't want to be alone. I don't want to go do something alone. I have months and months ahead of me to be alone. Yes, it's nice to run to the store to get a gallon of milk ... alone, so I don't have to drag the kids out in the freezing rain or snow. But actually doing something ... alone ... well, that's the last thing I need. Does that make any sense?
So, I hope this paints a picture to offer the tiniest bit of insight into how it is done, how we live when our spouses are deployed. Some people may do it differently, but I think we all experience the same challenges and hardships in some form or another. I guess you can only truly understand when you experience it yourself. There is comfort knowing someone out there understands what it is like and what you are going through. Hopefully this provides some understanding.
With that said...thank God we are half way through. :)