May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I knew I wanted to do a Memorial Day almost feels like I need to but now that I'm sitting down to write what today is really about I'm not sure I have the words anymore.

Granted, today is a day when families come together BBQ, swim and just have a good time. I think that's great but I hope everyone remembers why they can do that. Men and women have given their lives so that we have the freedoms we so easily take for granted. Today is about remembering their sacrifice and the families they left behind.

For me and every other deployment wife or husband, in addition to honoring the dead and wounded, today is another day that we hold our breath and wait for next year's Memorial Day when our loved ones will be home enjoying a BBQ and taking kids swimming.

May 29, 2011

Stuck in the Middle With You

I'm not sure what I can and cannot write in this post because I'm not totally sure which members of my massively large family actually read this blog. But...I can say that I'm pretty sure there's not going to be a family reunion anytime soon. here's the breakdown of my massive family. Mom has 5 siblings. Bio-dad has 7 (I think...I always forget some on that side but I don't know very many of them very well *caveat:I do know some who are just freaking awesome and I wish I could see more). Step-dad has 8...or 9...not sure of the total there either. Needless to say, it's a little overwhelming. Especially when compared with my husband who has a total of 7 people in his family. Yup, seven.

Growing up, when I referred to "my family" it was my mom's side. Step-dad and bio-dad both came into the picture later in my teens. That said, my mom's side of the family is MORE than enough. They're crazy. All of them. Each in their own way. And they're splintered all over the country and the socio-economic spectrum. It's amazing to me to see how very different all my mother's siblings are from one another and tonight some of those differences manifested themselves in a comment war on a facebook pic...I know, classy. I won't bore you with the specifics but for me, it was kind of like a microcosm of all our family dynamics in one place...certain people abstained from commenting...others went all out with was surprisingly fascinating for me.

The song, Stuck in the Middle With You, went through my mind many times because as it happens, our little family is in the middle...I'm the only one who grew up with the family from up north but maintained a connection with all the families down south. And now, we live almost equidistant from all three factions. We are literally stuck in the middle. I'm not normally one to abstain from stating my opinion (shocking, I know) but in tonight's comment war...which I think will go down in history as the great facebook comment war of 2011...I bit my tongue...or rather held my fingers back. I tried a couple of times to defuse it but you know when someone says or types something that's going to trigger a whole lot more...yeah, there were a couple of those moments and after the second or third, I backed away leaving my only real comment on the issue.


Because sometimes, that's all that can be said and in the end, it's just a really big family with really big personalities and not much else in common.

May 17, 2011

Three Months

Deployment crystallizes everything.

People you once thought would be there for you no matter what suddenly disappear. All the "bless your heart" (which in my opinion is just a southern kind way of saying you're screwed) and the "let me know if you need anything" meaningless statements abound but real support is rare. And cherished.

It's been nearly three months. There's still 9-12 months to go...we don't have a come home date and even if we did, I wouldn't post it.

In the last three months, I can honestly count on a single hand how many people really care. It doesn't seem like anyone actually gets it (outside my military friends) but there are a few amazing civilian families who know they don't get it but try. They call...or's not even what they say or how long they're able to listen to me (usually either vent or just connect to someone other than my 2 yr old). It's that they know it's an impossibly difficult situation and they don't pull away that means the most.

I can't say how grateful I am that Joshua joined the military AFTER we were married. Granted, it's been a strange/difficult/testing transition but while he was at basic and AIT, I learned what it meant to be without my husband for months because of the military. I discovered that as a Guard family, with almost all civilian friends, I would be alone for any future deployments. It's a discovery which at the time shocked me and was so hard. I didn't understand why couples didn't want me anymore...I didn't understand why my girlfriends pulled away...I didn't understand why sometimes they would compare their lives to mine (like their husband's business trip or being a single mom). My husband's not just gone for a couple weeks...I'm not single and free to live my life as such. I'm stuck in what feels like another dimension altogether. I'm frozen in time, waiting for my life to resume. People with whom I once felt I had so much in common with, I see now as almost diametrically opposed. With basic and AIT, I became angry and built walls.

How can these people who claim to love me and my son, abandon me? ...that's all I felt for the longest time and to be honest, I feel it again now on deployment but I'm learning to just accept that they don't get it. They can't and I can't expect them to act as though they do.

That said, it has been nearly three months. Three months. And I'm isolated. I'm alone most of the time and days can go by without a phone call or email from anyone other than Joshua or my family. It's heartbreaking. My son isn't school-aged, doesn't attend a mother's day out, I'm very pregnant and we live in the country. My friends almost all have spouses and children of their own. Factors which I understand all contribute to the isolation but the heartbreak comes from having friends who vowed to be more present. To stand with me. But haven't.

It's hard not to become bitter. To not build walls again. I don't know if I'll be able to keep from becoming the bitter shrew I suspect I could be but I'm trying and I think that's all I can do...well, that and therapy...sometimes retail, sometimes the real thing.

May 9, 2011

Dog House

My husband. He's the quintessential all or nothing kind of guy. He's that guy who either makes all other husbands look really bad...or he's the example other men can use to make themselves look better. There is no in between.

Prime example: a couple years ago for Valentine's Day, Joshua did what he called the "14 Days of Valentines." Every day I came home to something new...nothing really expensive and not even always something he bought...just something that was special for me every favorite candy bar...a bubble bath with candles...etc.

Go ahead...oooh, ahhhh.

One month later, my birthday came and went...nada. Not a card, not a happy birthday baby. Not a stinkin' cupcake with a candle.

Flash forward to this weekend. Mother's Day weekend (not to mention Friday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day but we'll ignore that one because it's not exactly the Hallmark holiday Mother's Day has become).

Again, nada. Oh wait, no, worse than nada...I got a text message which read

"btw happy mothers day"

...not even a post on facebook.

Just a reminder, I'm 7 1/2 months along a high risk, difficult pregnancy and home with a 2 yr old. Alone. Every day.

I get that he probably sent a card or something and the fabulous mail just hasn't come yet but in my very pregnant (read: pissy) state, I think the boy should have mailed it early enough to be here before Sunday. My goodness, he's stateside...only a couple states away in's not that tough.

But he didn't so he's kind of in the dog house. And something I've realized with deployment/pre-deployment training is that when he gets into the dog house, he could stay there MUCH longer than usual because he's not here every day to see my angry eyes (as Mrs Potato Head would say). The flip side of it is that we don't get the chance to talk for very long and we don't skype often so I'll most likely get over it pretty quickly because life goes on and I have to talk to him...I have to tell him about the homeowners insurance that has a mistake in the breakdown letter I just received and that the boy's allergies/ear infections suck but he's a trooper.

Like everything else, deployment makes the dog house a totally different sort of situation.

May 1, 2011

Quarter-life crisis.

Two years ago, my husband went through what I somewhat affectionately refer to as his quarter-life crisis. He started seriously talking about joining the military. It had been a long standing joke (ha. ha.) because in high school he was in JROTC and in college he just sort of fit with "those" guys. So when a couple of our closest friends took the plunge as it were, I made a joke while driving home one night, "so, are you next?" When he replied "yes" without the sarcastic or jocular tone I expected I nearly had a heart attack...not really an exaggeration since I do have a heart condition. I knew he'd been considering it for a while and we'd had a few serious discussions but it was always one of those, maybe one day things that never really happen except that this time it did. Since we had JUST bought our first house and had an infant son, I was not totally thrilled. It took months of negotiations and research before Joshua finally swore in and for the most part, I think it's been a good thing for us.

Well, now it's my turn.

No. I'm not joining the military...even if I wanted to, which I don't (waking up before the sun and working out is NOT my idea of fun), they would never take me and all my unique health issues.

I'm just feeling really restless. I want to do an ironman triathlon, travel to exotic places and buy a convertible-I had one in college and desperately miss the feeling of driving down the highway with the top down on a warm summer day, ponytail waving in the wind, radio blasting.

The problem is that I can't do a triathlon...I can't swim (I can tread) and when I mentioned running a marathon to my cardiologist at my last visit, he laughed. Not an encouraging sign. As for traveling to exotic places and buying a convertible, it's really not in the cards any time soon. I'm pregnant...I'm not even allowed to drive 4 hours to Dallas. And Joshua's deployed so if I got a convertible, I'd also have to get a second set of car seats and it just kind of defeats the image of freedom in a convertible if you have two kids squeezed into the backseat.

So, what's my solution? A combination of deferment and projection. First, I'm reminding myself that I will not be pregnant forever and travel and convertibles will come again. To be honest, as much as this restlessness has me frustrated from time to time, I wouldn't change my life for anything. If I had waited to have children, it may never have happened for us...we didn't discover many of the health issues I have until we starting "trying." As for the triathlon, I informed Joshua last night that I would love for him to start training for one...he's deployed...what else is he going to do with all his time? His response was to tell me that he wasn't saying yes and wasn't saying no, which means he'll do it because I pretty much always get my way. Plus, I kind of think he owes me for agreeing to this whole military life and I think it's time to play that card. I plan to live vicariously through him. The other benefit of him doing the triathlon instead of me is that I get a husband who's