Today…

4 Years ago today I married my best friend and the man that I love.  I walked barefoot down the aisle of a tiny church,  we joined hearts and hands, and started our life together as one.

It is 2:43 a.m.  My best friend and the man that I love–the other part of me–just walked out the door, got into his truck, and left for deployment.

Be safe, my love.  We’re here waiting, and praying.  And we are with you no matter how far away you may be.

To the moon and back.

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I love you too… much

As we were getting ready to go to sleep last night, Husband said “I love you.”  I, of course, replied with my normal, “I love you, too.”  But in my head, without even thinking about it, I reflexively added the word, “much.”

I just hate having to miss him so much when he’s gone.

It’s not true of course.  I couldn’t possibly ever love him too much.  But when he’s getting ready to leave and I think of those months without him and how much it will hurt to miss him, well, a little part of me wonders if maybe I should have married a jerk so I’d be happy to send him off on all of these little adventures. 

It doesn’t work that way of course, and I am delighted to be so happily married to a man who still makes my heart skip a beat, who exhibits such patience and kindness daily,  who is a wonderful father, and is both functional and decorative to boot. 

We’re down to the last few days before he goes.  I want them all to last as long as possible, but this is the point where I also start to think, “Ok.  Just leave already so I can start the countdown that works toward your coming home and not leaving.”  In general I like happy anticipation better than gloomy dread. 

My Mom always used to say, “Tis the attempt, not the deed that confounds us.”  That’s me in a nutshell.  With most anything difficult or intimidating I stew and worry and lament for weeks beforehand and then when I finally get to the task I just do it.  I hope it will be that way this time too.

For these next few days, though, I’ll be on planet “Don’t go/Get this over with.”  I’ll be hating that he’s leaving us, wanting to just hold him in my arms and not let him cross the room, much less go to the other side of the world, and adding the word “much” to all of my “I love you too’s.”

I’m just grateful to have married a husband and father so wonderful that it hurts this much to have him away from us.

I Still Reach for the Phone…

Today I really want to talk to my Mom.  I need her.  No one else will do.  No one else will listen to all the rambling I need to do.  No one else could say the things she would say.  And I hate that I can’t talk to her.

I had a day of mommy frustrations, and deployment dread.  I had a day of reflecting on my social ineptitude (poor Sarah got an earful about that).  I had a day where I just really needed to confide in my Mom. 

I get jealous when people talk about going to lunch with their Mom’s, or having their mother come over to watch the kids.  I get sick to my stomach with envy when I see people who have their Mom’s visiting and spoiling their kids.  I miss her tremendously and long for those normal things so fiercely.  So much has changed since she left that if she came back it wouldn’t really work anymore….  But that doesn’t stop me from wanting her.

Mom would be able to figure out the quirks of people in my life right now.  She would laugh about how I am a ‘weirdo-magnet.’  She would help me to calm down about the deployment, or at least listen to me cry.  She would tell me to lighten up as a mother, and laugh at me for stepping in a poopy diaper.  By the way, I really, really do need to lighten up.  Perhaps Carolyn is channeling Mom when she looks at me and says, “Mommy!  REWACK!”. 

Almost two years later and I still have these days where I just want my Mommy. 

I think I always will.

Big Freaking Mountain

For me, approaching a deployment is like moving toward a mountain.  At first it’s just a blip on the horizon.  Then it takes up more of the sky.  It continues to get bigger and bigger until you’re standing at the base of it, looking up and going–how am I going to get over this one?  And as for the issue of this one being a ‘small one’ I can certainly tell you from experience that even ‘small’ mountains can look rather formidible.

The mountain is looking really huge right about now.  And, I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t think about how much I want the mountain to go away.  I think those thoughts at least 50 times a day.  But…  the mountain still looms.  

Husband switched to nights this week and, when he left this afternoon, Little Miss was entirely forlorn.  I see things like that and my heart starts to break in advance.  If the thought of her daddy leaving for WORK on a normal day is enough to undo her, what will she do when he goes to work and doesn’t come home for 3 or 4 months? 

Baboo 2 hasn’t convinced me entirely that she knows how to smile yet.  I’ve seen some almost smiles and this morning she looked pretty smiley during a very happy cooing session, but we’re still not getting those frequent, eyes-glittering smiles that melt your heart.  So I think about Husband missing that, and about all of the smiles he won’t see.  I think about how much she will have changed by the time he gets back.  She’ll be so much bigger, so much more aware, so much more interactive, and he’ll have missed getting to see the building blocks of those things.  He’ll have missed the bonding moments of those times.  I think of that and my heart prematurely breaks a little more.

And then I wonder how will *I* cope as I not only navigate the emotional minefield of having one’s husband on the other side of the world and very inaccessible, but also the task of taking care of Baboo 2 and Little Miss–a task that has been my undoing many times in the last 6 weeks even with Husband’s help? 

What I’m trying to remember is that I’ve crested other mountains before.  The terrain of the last one was about as rough as I can imagine and I came out on the other side of it.  Instead of looking at the fear and utter helplessness that a deployment can and does inspire in me, I’m trying to remember the feelings on the other side of it, and even periodically throughout the ordeal:  those empowering feeilngs of–“See, I *can* handle this.  I am Navy Wife.  I am Val.”  I walk taller on the other side of a deployment.  I could certainly use a back-straightening agent these days. 

I do feel helpless and panicked and sad and angry and all of those difficult things….  but this is another opportunity to continue to be made into the woman God wants me to be.  This is another opportunity to find out what I’m made of, to lean into God, and to remember that I’m not a damsel in distress but a woman of confidence and competence.

I’m trying to remember all that.  Maybe if I can do that–if I can keep putting one foot in front of the other, and crossing off days on the calendar, I will find out that I can conquer this mountain too.   I can, and I will.

Need…. Sleep… Need…. Sleep….

**Yes, I know there are about 15 blaring instances of huge mommy mistakes and inconsistencies in here.  Why do you think I’m here blogging instead of sleeping?**

It’s 5:35 a.m. at our house, a door swings open and little feet patter into our room.  Baboo 2 is latched onto me so I nudge husband and say, “Help Little Miss go back to sleep.”  Husband grunts and rolls out of bed.  He stumbles into LM’s room6, but before he can get there, she bounces in singing, “Nilk!  Nilk!”

This is not going to go well. 

He walks her back into her room where wails of “Mommy!  Mommy!  Play!  Play!” commence.

Since Baboo has latched off, I stumble into her room to try my hand at the negotiation process:

“It is NOT playtime, it is sleep time.  You may come into our room and lay down with us, but you must lay there quietly and try to SLEEP or you will go  back to your bed.”

Great.  Freaking.  Idea.

In the meantime, Baboo has woken up again and is frantically searching for another nipple–any nipple she can find (except a pacifier nipple which she gags on and spits out *sigh*).  I sternly tell LM to lay down and sleep, and latch Baboo 2 on to the other side, offering LM my hair to use as a teddy bear.

Kid 2  latched on on one side, Kid 1 furiously rubbing my head on the other.  Doesn’t that sound like a spacious, luxurious, way to catch some fulfilling Zs???

Baboo finally latches off but stays snuggled close to my chest in the crook of my arm.  LM is still furiously running her fingers through my hair.  Then her little legs start moving back and forth against my thigh.  Then her other hand starts patting up and down.   Oh.  And she’s whispering, “Sleep…  Sleep.  Head down.  Sleep, Mommy, Sleep.”

I have all of 3 inches of space that my body is wedged into.  Husband, who stumbled back to bed early in the encounter, by the way, is lavishly enjoying a few cubic acres of space on  his side of the bed and snoring away. 

Of course.

The rubbing and whispering continues.  I roll my head back and say, “Mommy needs a little space.  Can you scoot over?”  I then gently um…  shove… my darling first born towards her Daddy’s lush acreage.  She rolls into him, then rolls back just enough to grab onto my hair again.  Then she scoots back and snuggles into my back–one hand in hair, legs rubbing back and forth against me, whispering furiously all the time about sleep…  sleep…

At this point, sleep deprived me is struggling to maintain composure.  I offer the, ‘go back to bed’ possibility which LM eagerly accepts only to dissolve into hysterics when I actually make a move on it.  Not. Going. To. Happen.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Finally, in desperation and a need to get out of the space-deprived bed or else go mad I stumble into the bathroom to pee.  When I get back to the bedrooms I see that LM is climbing into her bed.  I go in and try to encourage this with our normal bargain of ‘first song’ (on her lullaby c.d.) and me laying my head on her pillow for the length of it.  LM sits bolt upright and says, “Play!  Nilk!”  Grrreeeat…..

And here we are, an hour and a half after the games began–but with no more sleep to account for–Little Miss is curled up on the couch watching “Pooh,” Baboo is wiggling on her bouncy seat, and I am here telling you the tale of our morning.

And Husband?  He’s sleeping soundly in his spacious, warm, kid-free acreage. 

Of course.

Today’s Happy List

That’s right folks, I’m bringin’ it back.

Those who knew me in High School and College will remember The Happy List.  On it, I wrote down little and big things that made me happy.  In the name of not having anything better to blog about, I shall begin the happy list anew, right here on this blog.  Look for future installments on other days when I have nothing better to blog about.

  1.  Baboo 2’s dimple.
  2.  Her alfalfa haircut.
  3. The sweet little grunts that she makes.
  4. The way that she stretches when she is waking up.
  5.   The way Little Miss says, “Snuggle.”
  6. The way LM says her own name.
  7. Caramel Turtle Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins
  8. Baking
  9. New recipes
  10. Discovering the ‘wow’ factor of getting a massage.
  11. Husband being home.
  12. Taking a nap with Baboo 2.
  13. Snugging in bed with Baboo 2, LM, and Chester the Cat–also Husband when he is home.
  14. Sun spots out in the yard.
  15. Sun-breaks.
  16. Picking berries at the bay.
  17. Freezing berries.
  18. Baking with berries.
  19. The feeling of eating berries and baked goods made from scratch and made with fruit that we picked ourselves.
  20. Emails from friends.
  21. LM playing dress up when I do the laundry (today she wore a green pajama top with a blue dress-jumper turned inside out and a pair of my green socks with otters on them pulled up to her knees for most of the day).
  22. When Husband cleans the bathroom, and I don’t have to.
  23. Exercise.
  24. The feeling of not being pregnant….. 
  25. Rolling over in bed without having to choreograph it.
  26. Using Momisms in everyday life.
  27. The feeling of a freshly mopped floor (if only I mopped more often and could thus feel it frequently).
  28. “New Sheets Night” and the delight it brings my husband each week.
  29. Reading ‘Just one more’ story to Little Miss at bedtime.
  30. LM singing songs and doing all the motions.
  31. Lavendar
  32. Discovering new freckles on Little Miss.
  33. Baboo 2 making sweet sounds that are not cries.
  34. Spooning with Husband.
  35. Lansinoh products
  36. Sleep….

And now it is time for me to indulge in a little of item #33 (and also maybe some of item #31).  G’night!