Homecoming Came

boots

It’s so nice to have his boots laying around again.

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So Very Good

The house is sparkling.  The van is presentable.  The groceries are purchased and the “Welcome Home” meals are planned.  My brand new ‘Welcome Home’ outfit is hanging in the closet and the girls’ little outfits are ready and sitting out.  And of course, the “Welcome Home” sign is hung.  We’ve gotten a lot accomplished.

But those aren’t our only accomplishments.  Despite my whining and kvetching and my days of the blahs the past three months haven’t been for nothing.  They have been full.  We’ve lived them.  And much has happened.

I dove into FlyLady and started to de-clutter my life–albeit some days better than others.  I started going to bed more nights feeling less like a failure and more like I was making progress.  And in more ways than just ‘cleaning house.’

I survived a week of not being able to move much farther than the couch when my back went on strike…  The kidlets survived too. 

I got onto a John Eldredge kick and devoured the book Captivating and began working my way through the journal.  I started thinking about myself and about being a woman in a completely new way.

I lost 24 pounds (for a total of 35 I believe).

I made it through the marathon of parenting a two year old and a baby by myself.

We said goodbye to friends who finished their journey with the Navy.

We made new friends thanks to a crazy late-in-the-evening phone call followed by a late-in-the-evening adventure over to check on our neighbor.  Then there were play-dates and dinners and ‘Hey I’m bored, are you?  Wanna do something?’ days.

We leaned on some of our best friends even harder (Thank you for everything, Jamie!).

We played at the beach, at parks, at lavender farms, and at home.

Little Miss turned into a young lady:  Using detailed sentences, dressing herself, gaining more and more independence every day.

Baboo stopped being a newborn.  She learned to roll over and to giggle.  She began really interacting with people and her environment.  She grew so much.

We made it through travelling to Illinois and back–Me with oodles of luggage, an infant, and a toddler.  And a six hour layover.

With the help of two friends at church we laid the groundwork for a ministry for Moms at our church.

Most of all we plugged along.  We marked off the days on the calendar.  We trudged through the blah days and tried to live up the good ones.  We stayed busy.  We took joy in little things like fun meals, fun outings, and fun having tickle fights on the floor.

Three months isn’t very long, but it is long enough.

Tomorrow we’ll find our way into Husband’s arms.  And we’ll remember how it feels to be a complete family again.  We’ll discover in one another these new accomplishments and changes and paths of growth and relearn the rhythms of Husband and Wife–of Mommy and Daddy.

It will be so, so very good.

Mom is on my mind

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Even with all the thoughts of homecoming…  And most of my missing being so tied up with Husband, for one reason or another I have been missing Mom so very badly lately.  I woke up suddenly one night a few days ago and just lay there with the realization that I will never speak to my Mom again–never see her again, never laugh with her again, never hug her again, never eat with her or shop with her, or play Trivial Pursuit with her again.  It felt so fresh.  Shouldn’t I be used to this by now?  How can ‘new normal’ still feel so crazy and wrong and unreal?

As I was (finally) cleaning our bedroom today I found a photo DVD and popped it in the computer.  I found the original photos of my favorite pictures in the world:  The best photos of Mom and Little Miss together.  It felt like Mom was saying hi….  And it was so nice to see her photo–large and full of life–on my computer screen.

Maybe I am missing her a little extra now because so much is going on that I would give anything to discuss with her:  The Homecoming, Baboo’s baby adorableness, Little Miss growing into such a young lady with so much of her Gramma Caro’s fire.  Maybe it’s because I’m lonesome and it’s easy to remember one of the sources of that loneliness. 

Maybe it’s the Fallishness of things.  The leaves are turning, the weather is getting cool, we have fewer hours of daylight.  Maybe all of that has put me in a reflective mood.  Maybe it was the passing of her birthday (Sept. 7) and the upcoming “Diagnosis Day” (Nov. 18).  Whatever it is…  I miss her.  And the missing has settled into my bones like the early chill of fall.

This is the part…

This is the part where I start worrying about crazy stuff.  Like parking on base and whether or not I will find a good spot, like going through the turn-style, like what will happen as we wait around for our sailors to get back.

I worry about when to wake the kids up since we have to be there fairly early to get him, whether or not he’ll be there early (like he was last time) and I won’t be there in time to see him arrive.

I worry about Little Miss having a tantrum right in the middle of it all.

I worry about the fact that the walk-in closet is hardly walk-inable, and the fact that the ‘sentimental dust’ (a la Annie) that I’ve left in the bedroom–you know…  the dust that was there when he left–is still there.

I worry about whether or not Baboo will take to him and whether Little Miss will latch on and not let go or be a little miffed at Daddy for being gone so long.

The butterflies are here full force…  But they mean we really, really are just so very close and so, I’ll take them!

Countdown

There will be only one more PostSecret post before Husband comes home.

Only one more garbage day.

Possibly one more credit card payment (I can’t remember when we get that bill…)

One more visit to church.

One more losing Monday.

There are 7 ‘pumpkins’ left in our M-n-M jar.

The same number of Xes to draw.

Only one more Grey’s Anatomy to watch online (and that will be the Season Premier!)

Only seven more nights of old TV show DVDs to watch as I’m falling asleep.

One more home-blessing day.

Finally the excitement is crowding out the overwhelmedness.  This is good news. 

Now if I can just find the gumption to get the house in order, the welcome home signs made, the welcome home dinner groceries purchased, the outside chores that I’ve neglected for 3 months accomplished, and…  a whole lot of laundry done.

We’re close.  So very close.

Disturbing Mind-bender

I just had a very upsetting thought.

As I was sitting here reliving some of the finer moments of my pre-pubescent life and watching my Doogie Howser 1st Season DVD (my geekdom hath just  been confirmed) it occurred to me that in the not too distant future I could possible live through this scenario:

Upon seeing a doctor who looks rather young and spry I could conceivably make a quip about “Not knowing I was going to be seeing Doogie Howser.”

And it’s conceivable that upon my saying so I would be met with a blank stare…..

Only to find that said young and spry doctor is too young to know who Doogie Howser is.

It could happen.  I am getting old.  Oh the horrors! 

Such a disturbing thought to be met with on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

More End of Deployment Musings

Truly, the only thing that makes time go slower than during a six-hour layover with an infant and a toddler, is the last couple of weeks of a deployment.  Time is c-r-e-e-p-i-n-g by.  I am so ready to be done.  So ready to fall into Husband’s arms.  So ready to have him home, and to see my girls snuggle into their Daddy.

But we’re getting through it.  We have to, after all.  There isn’t really any other option.

We’ve started talking about Daddy coming home more and more.  We bought a special pumpkin to remind us it’s almost time and we bought some pumpkin M-n-Ms to put in a jar.  Little Miss is pretty excited to get to eat one each night as we count how many days we have left.

I’m starting to feel anxious about all sorts of things.  Have too many things changed even in just a few months?  With me?  With the house?  With our routines?  Will he be overwhelmed by that?  I am always a little worried about the ‘reintegration’ phase.  Even without the ‘people shooting at him’ factor there are re-negotiations that must happen when he comes home.  Homecoming is so much more than just hanging pretty signs and waving flags at an air terminal.  But all of it will fall into place in time.

I’m also dreading Husband’s schedule when he returns.  Because this was a mini-deployment squeezed in between two normal ones he’ll return to a life of hot and heavy work-ups to get ready for the next deployment.  He’ll actually leave again for a short little jaunt about a month after he gets home.  It’s hard to get excited about him being home when being home will consist of him being away so much.

But…  such is life with the Navy, yes?

In a slightly different vein of thinking (since my ramblings of mundanity are already rolling strongly on and on), I’ve been excited lately to see many faith-lessons illustrated beautifully with deployment stuff.  Over at Excellent or Praiseworthy the current devotion talks about that ‘my husband/wife/mom/dad doesn’t really feel real anymore’ feeling.  I hadn’t thought about that relating to my feelings about God, but it most assuredly does.  How often does God feel unreal as I struggle to figure out how to relate to His…  Godness with my feeble humanity?  Husband is still real…  And we are just as strongly bound to one another in marriage as we ever have been…  Even though so often Husband and my life with him feels more like a figment of my imagination or a whispery memory of what it’s like to be married than anything.  If that is the case with Husband…  then how much more with God?

I ran into the same concept over at The Online Chaplain.   He puts in incredibly well in his post, Shadows.  He writes:

Bev, my wife is the single most important person in my life, bar none. There has never been a more faithful friend…..But, even important things like relationships can blur into the shadows over time. It is not because they are unimportant, or neglected, or unreal. The simple fact is this, the relationships we forge in our lives change in deployment. They become shadowy.

It is important we remember shadows are real. They are representations of things, but nonetheless real. They represent things that have become important in our past and by virtue of history are important in our present. And so we must remember they are our anchors, our safe harbors and our sanctuaries.

The psalmist writes, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” The shadow of God’s loving presence doesn’t always seem real. His protection sometimes seems a figment of our imagination. Sometimes God seems far off, non-caring and illusive. I know that. I have had these seasons too. However, even if you don’t see the wings covering you, ponder the shadow of his wings.

Good stuff to think on.  More occasion to ponder the sacramental nature of marriage.

And with that, I shall end this little excerpt of verbosity.