Lord's Prayer For The Military Wife - Author Unknown

Lord's Prayer for the Military Wife - Author Unknown

Lord, Grant me the greatness of heart to see, the difference in duty and his love for me. Give me the understanding to know, that when duty calls he must go. Give m a task to do each day, to fill the time when he is away, and Lord, when duty is in the field, please protect him and be his shield.

January 26, 2011

I do not want your pity or your sympathy....but a little empathy might be nice.

As you know if you have been following, I am in the "reality has struck, give me a few weeks to be crazy before he goes" stage of deployment. I'm over emotional, highly sensitive, selfish, and totally lacking grace at the moment...so while most comments I get are of the "I don't know how you do it" variety, I have already gotten the "you knew what you were getting into, deal with it and get over yourself" type. (Insert what GI Joe affectionately calls "the look"...ya know, the one with the one raised eyebrow.) REALLY, you are seriously going to say that to me? (Which means you have probably already said it to some other military family member who might actually care about your opinion.) Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, try to have a bit of sensitivity, I by no means want your pity, or even your sympathy, but a little empathy would be nice. I'm not perfect, I don't expect you to be, nor do I expect you to understand when you have never experienced this, nor will you, but if you ask how I am doing and I am honest with you just nod your head and pat my arm rather than berate me.

Let me clarify something; Yes, GI Joe did not join until after 9/11, therefore I "knew" he would deploy, probably multiple times before the end of his enlistment. I did a brief stint, before a knee injury took me out of the game, with the US Navy, my sister is retired Army, my father was a bubble head (Navy submariner)...while not a military brat, I am not completely naive to the military either. But you know something, it still sucks.

I've mentioned a military spouse blog I read, one of the contributing authors is a ANG wife also, she has a post that is a pretty good explanation of where I am right now. I am extremely proud of my hubby, I am not 'angry' he is going, but it still makes it difficult. The only reference point I have is a horrible first deployment which the girls & I 'survived' and a '1 year TDY' we tolerated. I want more than than that, I want to do more than just survive, I want to thrive. I know God will give me the strength to do what needs to be done, to be superwoman if necessary; however, the fact remains, my best friend, partner in crime, my confidant and lover will be leaving for over a year. He is the only adult interaction I have some days. I have to watch little hearts break as their daddy leaves, worry when they hear the news that we will have to have one of "those discussions" about daddy's safety. Its not easy. 

I know there are millions of single parents out there who do it everyday, who did not have a choice in the matter. Those parents are awesome, and I envy the ones who seem to have it down...I will never get there, I will always have chaos, no matter how many plans and back up plans I have in place. We will have to resettle our lives without GI Joe, knowing that whatever routine we get down will only be completely dismantled upon his return home as said routine will not click until just before end of deployment. There is always the fear of injury or worse lingering, and a new one this time around since both girls are a bit older: "what if daddy forgets us?" Tell me you know how to handle that one?

There are many things in our lives we think we"know" what we are getting into: marriage, kids, etc. We plan, we prepare, none the less, when reality hits we struggle. We have to readjust our perceptions, we reevaluate our plans and aspirations. Even when we have 'gone through it' before, every child, every deployment, every experience is entirely new. We may be going through it with others, yet it will be uniquely our own experience affected by our individual circumstances.

So in response to that wonderfully supportive comment: Yes, I 'knew' what I was getting into, no I am not whining about it, okay, maybe a little but then I'll be ok. I'll deal, just like I always deal, God will give me strength and wisdom and Lord willing, grace to keep my sarcasm to myself. I did not ask for, nor do I want your pity and I will try to be there for you if you ever need me, even when you 'knew' what you were getting yourself into. 

January 23, 2011

Marshmallows and other things with gooey insides.

Okay let me state this...I am not emotional (exception being my temper.), I am not a crier, I do not get PMS, I am one heartless, merciless, (seriously, 'Mercy' was my second lowest scored item on my spiritual gift assessment.), tough girl. I am the strong one, the one who has been known to laugh at someone crying in a movie. Yet somehow I have become a marshmallow! Maybe its having kids, maybe its getting older & hormones, maybe its having something worth fighting for with someone worth fighting with. Whatever it may be, I have become a marshmallow none the less. I share this with you for several reasons.

Today I experienced my first couple of 'emotional...situations' deployment related. The first being earlier in the day. You see the Prima Donna is in gymnastics, she is on the team and competes in recreational meets. After all the teams parade in and are introduced the National Anthem is sung or played. I teared up, I choked up, I HAD TO BITE MY LIP TO KEEP FROM ALL OUT BAWLING!!!!!!!! I did manage to pass my sniffles off as my head cold, the only time I have ever been grateful for one. Oh my gosh!!! I know I am not the only spouse who does this, especially while the service member is away. BUT good grief, he hasn't even left yet, pull it together girl!!!!

The second was the first of what will probably be several...spats, before he goes. This one still catches me by surprise. You see GI Joe's first overseas deployment happened so rapidly, we didn't really experience this, however, in preperation for year long TDY orders in another state after his return, we had this...the emotional distancing to make it easier to let go. Let me tell you, IT SUCKS! First there's the whole bickering/arguing over stupid crap and the guilt thing for getting upset/letting it get to me, but the worse for me is the "driving to the grocery store b/c its the only way to be alone to cry my eyes out then have everyone stare at you in the store or car next you" thing. A whole new level of suckiness, especially for someone who is not into public displays of 'emotional weakness.' Yeah, I know, get over myself, and I will...but it is this "I am strong" attitude that is the only thing that will hold me together some days in the not so distant future. What's worse, GI Joe proceeds to come up hug me, apologize and ask my forgiveness for being a jerk when I get home. What do I do?! Give him a salt water bath, all the while thinking, I am such a dork, (O.K. this is nothing new, I own up to being 'adorkable'). This is not the way to be a supportive wife...can we say "LOSER" with that big 'L' on our forehead. *Sigh* So if you happen to know me/live near me & see me crying in my car while driving down the road, really I am okay, its just the marshmallow in me getting out.

January 22, 2011

The countdown begins

I just realized the other day that my husband will be gone within 2 months.  While we have confirmation of his unit, we still do not have a report date. The reality of it can be enormous. This will be our second overseas deployment, this one so far is vastly different from the previous one. For instance: "I've had time to prepare" for it, I thought I was prepared, believed I had plan A, B, C and D in place. However, I'm not. I mean I SO AM NOT!!! All plans go out the window when you're rocking along in life and suddenly realize the day you thought was so far away, is just around the corner.

This is a bit of a schizophrenic time for me. I want it to slow down, want to be able to spend as much time with GI Joe as possible. I want our family to make as many memories as possible before he deploys. Then there are the moments when I about half wish he were already gone, after all, the sooner he leaves the sooner he will return, right?

Crazy I know. I have to keep reminding myself to focus on the here and now, something that can be difficult for a planner, to not worry about tomorrow.   Matthew 6:34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (NLT).   This has caused me to become more protective of my family time. I'm going to be very selfish over the next weeks, especially as his deployment date draws near.

*Note* After drafting this last night for posting today, GI Joe received a drill letter stating all pertinent dates for the next 3 months. This includes going away ceremony and later the actual Mobilization date. We've been waiting on this for months, expecting it, yet as he showed me I felt that "punched in the gut" feeling. Ok, so now this is really real. Now we can begin the countdown in earnest.

January 21, 2011

Not a New Years Resolution but some goals for the year

I know this is late and I apologize, they say it takes a month to form a new habit...guess it will take me longer.

I decided not to make any New Years resolutions this year, not that I usually do; although I did decide to set some goals to accomplish this year. By setting goals over stating resolutions I have given myself some specific things to accomplish. I thought I would share the general goals with you as you will be hearing about them over the course of this blog.  I'll try to keep this short:
  1. Return to a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Simplify, by removing, reusing or re purposing.
  3. Increase my sewing skills.
  4. Increase my knitting skills.
1)  I have already implemented some successful changes. Since the beginning of the month I have lost 10lbs, simply by changing my eating habits and dietary intake.  I have accomplished this with 2 simple changes, an increase in fruits & veggies and eating 4-5 small meals of about 400 calories a day. I still need to increase my exercise, but because I have already seen results, I am motivated to keep at it.

2) This is a goal that will be the most difficult, in that one of the biggest things I need to go through and thin out is my library. I am a bibliophile, it is difficult for me to let go of books plain and simple. But the fact that there is not one room in my house that does not have a book...ok, maybe the laundry room, its going to be hard. All the jokes you hear about women and shoes, that's me & books. If I am interested in something, I find a book or two,(or three....) on it. The girls and I are going to have a toy sorting day, I promised any toys they decide to part with at a garage sale this spring they can keep the money. And finally clothes, not that we have a A LOT, but we have a lot! I mean, really, there is no reason we should have as many articles of clothing as we do. I know the girls grow quickly out of theirs, but seriously, there are clothes they rarely wear. I still have clothes that "I will fit into again"...*Smirk* I don't see that happening, and if it does, well, I'll have an excuse to hit the stores. Of course, GI Joe's gear going with him will help tremendously.

3) I sew, I enjoy sewing, I'm not bad at it. However, I could be better, and I could use my skills for good. I watch all these DIY reuse or re purpose shows, or read blogs. I could do that. Not to mention, my body type, no matter my size, has never made it easy to find good fitting clothes. I could remedy that. Again, waiting on GI Joe, as my machine is hidden behind his gear. However, once he deploys, I'll be setting it up permanently. I have a list of specific skills I want to improve or learn and will post about my learning curve as I go. I also plan on improving my hand sewing skills.

4) Finally, I want to increase my skills and knowledge of knitting. I took lessons for the first time last summer and am ADDICTED! I love it. There is something so calming about it, but I have a lot to learn and many skills to improve. Specifically I want to FINALLY learn to knit socks, the original reason I wanted to learn to knit to begin with. I have fallen in love with lace knitting and look forward to not only improve those skills, but knitting shawls, stoles and other lace goodies.

I have alterior motive to these goals. Last deployment I "survived," but this deployment I want to thrive. I have already warned friends I will not be ashamed to impose on our friendship, but I want to use this time to focus some energy on myself. (When its not being directed at the girls of course.) Having GI Joe gone will allow a little extra time and the perfect motivation to keep me busy. So hang on for what I am assuming will be a wild ride.

January 6, 2011

Christmas & other excuses

I apologize on the long break between posts, beginning a blog just before Christmas was definately not one of my brighter moments! My Christmas was wonderful and as usual a bit stressful, thank you OCD planning gene.  *As a side note, while I am a planner, my life rarely follows my plans and I often feel it is nothing more than controlled chaos; however, if I did not plan, well lets just say it would take all of GI Joe's unit activated to bring some semblance of order to our lives!*

This year we did not decorate, first off we were a bit late getting to it. I was just considering how much effort I wanted to put into moving GI Joe's gear, (the stuff he normally leaves @ the armory, but has to have for transfer), which is of course blocking EVERYTHING else, to get to the Christmas decorations, when I recieved a call from one of my wonderful sisters-in-law.  Our Christmas present this year from her and a couple of the brothers, was a trip out to see GI Joe's parents & some of the sibs for Christmas! Problem solved, we put up the 12" tree that is normally in the Diva & Prima Donna's room on the coffee table.  Nice...less stress, no mess. Did I mention that I was actually proud of myself for having our decorations down by Valentines Day last year! (The first deployment it was mid-march.)

Really, the most stressful part of this whole plan, was now instead of sending Christmas presents after Christmas, I needed to come up with something to take with us, at least for the youngest sibs. GI Joe is the oldest of nine, the 2 youngest are 5 (sil) & 7 (bil) years older than our oldest. Budget constraints as well as having not seen said family for 3 years, lead to a bit of stress of what to get. Brother-in-law, easy: he paintballs, get him a big box of paintball refills. In comes my new addiction for SIL3, for whom I decided to knit up a gift. Surely, I could knit up a pretty lace scarf in DK weight.  *insert sarcastic chuckle* WHAT WAS I THINKING! I was practically begging Murphey to visit, and visit he did. I have not had that much problem beginning a project since the first time I tried knitting with lace weight yarn. I would like to say, I finished said scarf in time to give it to her on Christmas.  Okay, Christmas evening, but hey it was still Christmas! And of course in the excitement forgot to snap a pic of it.

We flew out to see the family Thursday - Monday of Christmas weekend. While I wish it could be a little longer, I was thankful for what we got, and realized it was probably best as it wasn't long enough to make ourselves nuisances or to have any drama evolve. Other than my marathon knitting while trying to pack and get everything in order to leave, and anxiety attacks which now plague me when I fly, it was a stress free holiday. (As it is holiday season, we will exclude normal everyday stress from previous statement.) It was great to see the family again.

As I mentioned before hubby hasn't seen his parents & most siblings since just before his previous deployment. Come to think of it, it seems the last few times the whole or most of the family has been able to get together has been before deployment of one of the brothers, (hubby & one brother are both ARNG, another is a Jarhead Marine.) or funerals. Seriously, if it weren't for SIL2 getting married this spring, I would think we didn't know how to visit without some form of "cloud overhead."

My girls decided they adore their "Dedushka," (Grandpa in Russian.) and my oldest, the Diva, practically glued herself to him when she wasn't playing with the new husky puppy. She did learn to gather eggs from the chickens, which will eventually come in handy when we get our own. I had a great time visiting with my Mother-in-law & SIL1, (She is probably the one I am closest to, but is also 1 of 3 girls in the birth order). My MIL & I even made tentative plans for the girls & I to visit this summer/fall. Then ofcourse there was SIL2's impending marriage to discuss. So lots of visiting, lots of good homemade food, especially of the Russian variety which my dear hubby doesn't always get led to a very enjoyable Christmas.

I was actually thinking of what to write in a new post while visiting and upon returning home. I have to admit, it is hard sometimes. I began to plan out a New Years post, as I was thinking about goals I wanted to accomplish in new year, which will be following, I am still working out a couple of them. However, the tasks of returning home and then actually doing something New Years Eve and having a late Christmas with one of my sisters & her family on New Years Day, provided the "perfect excuse" to procrastinate.

This year for New Years Eve, we actually did something. Last year we went to some friends for dinner, the kiddos got to spend the night & what did GI Joe & I do? Come home and go to bed! We're getting SO old.  This year we went over to a couple's house from our church who we are friends with. I love "June", really she is a blessing. I tease her & call her "June" because when we first met she struck me as one of these "June Cleaver" women who have it all together.  I have since learned she is just as human (crazy) as me, but has the benefit of a couple more years of life experience, and peace of God to give her that "calm, collected" appearence. I believe when I grown up I want to be like her...ofcourse that would involve growing up.

We had a great time playing board games, and farkle, a dice game with "June & Ward". I was also witness to the dark side of June, she can be VERY competative, but in a fun way. Our kids played together, including a dress-up/play acting game, in which I gained a son-in-law as the Diva and " the Beaver" were married, which ofcourse upset the Prima Donna as there wasn't time for her to marry the Beaver. We rang in the New Year, then promptly headed home to bed.

Slowly we are returning to life as normal, such as it is. I will be finishibng my New Years post and getting it up in the next few days. For now let me wish everyone a  HAPPY NEW YEAR!