Home Stretch

You would think that being in the home stretch of this separation would mean that things would be easier. Not the case. I feel like things have gotten exponentially harder … and I hate it. Maybe it is the addition of a newborn – it has been six years since I’ve had a newborn. Some days, I do forget how time consuming it is to care for a newborn. And trust me, I do not mean that negatively. Let’s face it: babies are very time consuming! But would I change anything? NO! Adding a newborn on top of being a full time student and attempting to read hundreds – yes hundreds! – of pages a week for class, writing essays, participating in class discussions, and taking exams is grueling. Not to mention caring for my 8 year old and my 6 year old and going to baseball practices, games, cooking, cleaning, and oh my, the never ending piles of laundry these days. 99% of the time, I am doing this all on my own. The average person does not even begin to comprehend how chaotic my life is. I give mad props to single parents out there because it is overwhelming. I also give a lot of credit to the spouses of ones who deploy a lot more often than my husband does. I don’t have family that live around the corner to come over and help me with the kids or give me a break when I am about to lose my mind. The kids can’t go crash at Grandma and Grandpa’s or their Aunt or Uncle’s house so that I can actually get some sleep. That is definitely the downside of military life: not living near family. Our family is nearly 2,000 miles away. To sum it up: it sucks. At the end of the day, all I want is to relax with my husband … but he isn’t here. And at the end of my day, I just want to hear his voice … but that isn’t always possible. Do you know how heartbreaking that is?

There is a positive! I have been attending services at the local chapel in town. While I have had reservations about church for years (I haven’t attended church since I was 9 years old), I felt that my opinions should not be that of my children and I wanted to expose them to church life. I was very cautious about which church I chose and I couldn’t be happier with the chapel we have been going to. The main reason I am so pleased with it is because the church family has been AMAZING. They are friendly, welcoming, and they don’t shove religious materials down our throats. They have been active in our lives since October and even more so lately. Our pastor came to visit us in the hospital when the baby was born, the day after we arrived home, another lady from church brought us flowers, and they even insisted on hosting a baby shower for us. Some ladies who came to the baby shower didn’t even know who I was but they came and they brought my baby gifts and they loved on her. These people are nice because that is just who they are and they want to share in the joy of a new life in our family. Two ladies in particular have even absolutely insisted that they come watch my kids so that I can get those much needed breaks. For the past three weeks, they have either taken my kids to their house or entertained the kids at our home so that I could rest or catch up on my school work. I couldn’t be more grateful for them not taking no for an answer and coming over anyway.

What is it with women/mothers who don’t ask for help? It’s like men who don’t ask for directions. Seriously. I had the hardest time asking for help or taking help when it was offered. Maybe it was how I was raised. My mother did everything for us on her own (my Dad worked and I guess it was one of those things that taking care of the kids was the Mom thing to do…). I don’t remember my mother ever having a babysitter for us or going out without us. I don’t know how she stayed sane. I think I had a hard time asking for help because I felt that she set a so-called standard on how to be a mother. But I have realized that it is okay to ask for help and my goodness, don’t be ashamed to ask for help! That goes for so many different aspects of life, really. Most of the time, the people who offer the help really do want to help and it is alright to accept it. It is not selfish to want some “you time”. That is something I still struggle with but am trying fix. It really struck me when the lady from church asked me, “What do you do for fun for you? Any hobbies?” and it took me by such surprise, I couldn’t answer her. I really had to think about what I do for fun for me. Every aspect of my life is about my children and supporting my husband … but what did I do for ME? Then it made me sad. I couldn’t think of anything that I did for me that was fun. School? Yes that is for me but not what I call fun. Writing? Yes that is for me and I do enjoy it but is that all? That was the push I needed to get me to accept that having me time was not selfish – it was necessary! So I have been joining the ladies from church going on daily walks down the bike path in town. On the first day, it was so beautiful. Sunny, warm, not a cloud in the sky. I really looked around and thought, “Man, I live in a beautiful town.” It was the refreshing moment that I really needed. This is going to sound cheesy but I think it perfectly sums up how I felt: I felt like that walk, the fresh air, the company, and the view just really refreshed my soul.

We are just about two months from this darn separation being over with and about four months away from moving to Kentucky. Two weeks from Term 2 ending at school. So much going on and so much of it is so draining. I just keep counting down the days! One … day … at … a … time.

This Army wife life ain’t easy – and at times,  very trying! – but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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