Rules for Going to the Beach With Three Children

1) It will take 20-30 minutes longer to get ready to leave than you expect. And you will always have to go back to get something. Twice.

2) One of the children will insist on taking a kid-powered vehicle along: Bicycle, Tricycle, Scooter… It varies. Reasonable parent (in this case, me) will always be suckered into taking it when the children promise to meet thet stern requirement of: You ride it down, you ride it back, Mommy will NOT carry it.

3) One of the chlidren will take off shoes and bury their feet in wet sand despite the fact that they have been warned that doing so will result in chafed and hurting feet on the walk home.

4) While at the beach someone will need to potty. Invariably, a parent will, at some point, be used as a human shield for a child squatting in the driftwood, doing their business and/or changing out of articles of clothing that have been soiled.

5) One of the children will always fill their pockets so full of rocks and treasures that they weigh a full five pounds more upon leaving than they did coming.

6) An emotional attachment will be made to a piece of driftwood which will be affectionately called, “Walking Stick.” There will be tears and hysterics upon the mere suggestion of leaving beloved “Walking Stick” for someone else to discover and utilize.

7) Slimey things will be discovered and pulled from the water and/or beach. The accompanying parent will need to be impressed and dazzled at these stellar scientific discoveries.

8) Upon leaving, children will discover that they cannot maneuver both the beloved driftwood and kid-powered vehicle. Suckered parent will be lured in to trouble shoot.

9) Before the trail home has been half-way traversed the, now beleaguered parent will be pushing a stroller, carrying a scooter or other kid-powered vehicle (despite the sternly issued agreement made in item number 2), juggling the beloved “walking stick”, and holding the hand of a wimpering child who feels that ‘they are so far away that they might as well be lost’ unless they are touching said beleaguered parent.

10) The baby will cry the whole way home.

11) It wil still always be worth it to go. Memories will always be made. And children will always sleep better that night.

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Something Must Be Done

I read a suicide note written by a military spouse today. .

She was writing a farewell to her blog-friends, who in a world of transitions with moves and major life changes, were a constant.

Her husband, though not in direct combat, had come back from deployment changed. They moved to another duty station. Things spiraled downward for both of them and she found herself overwhelmed and isolated. Eventually she found herself in a place that felt like it had no way out.

An update that I read stated that somehow someone or something intervened and she was getting help. I am so glad.

Still this was too far for anyone to go before getting help. And it jarred me back to knowing that we HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!!!

These situations happen too commonly and too easily. Considering the stress and isolation that are companions on the journey in a military lifestyle, we need to be doing more to PREVENT these situations before they happen. I’ve heard more than one story in the last week about soldiers who’ve drawn a gun on wives and children–out of touch with the world around them and still immersed in a world that they’d left behind thousands of miles away that had left battle scars on their minds. Wives are finding their breaking points. Studies are coming out indicating the extreme toll that the being part of a military family at war is taking on military kids. I’ve walked through depression in contingency with a deployment myself (for me it was PPD with a tinge of grief thrown in), I’ve walked with friends as they’ve battled varying levels of depression and mood disorders which were only made harder to overcome by the X factors involved with a military lifestyle. Some struggled through with medication and counseling, for others more extreme forms of help were needed on their road to recovery

Measures are being taken to address suicide and PTSD in soldiers. This is good. So much MORE needs to be done though. SO MUCH MORE. More help MUST be made available. On top of that, though, we have to start taking care of the family members of those service members who are so often removed from support systems that can see trouble brewing and give them the courage to reach out for the help that they need.

Is there something that we can do? You and me, I mean? Is there something already in place that I don’t know about that can be made stronger? Is it time to raise up a grass-roots effort to provide a life-line for military families who find themselves in these situations. I have been thinking today about the model of Postpartum Support International–an organization composed of 99% voluntteers who take phone calls from families dealing with PPD and help them to find mental health resourcen in their own communities. Could something like this be helpful? Could mental health professionals like the ones who volunteer with Give an Hour be reached in an easier way? Could a massive information campaign be launched so that even this group of stalwart and stoic people who never ask for help could find a safe place to do so?

Does anyone have any ideas, resources, or expertise to lend to the cause? Maybe if enough of us pooled together and put ideas, and resources, and thoughts on the table SOMETHING could be done…. so that these notes could become fewer, so that even in a transitional situation where military families are moving and service members come and go and support systems are hard to come by in the stressful events of life, there could be SOME PLACE to reach out for a lifeline.

If you have any ideas, I want to hear them. I am serious in hoping to get a grass-roots effort put together to offer help and support to a portion of population which protects this country with strength and resiliency, but who need life lines to reach out to when the going gets rough just like everyone else. We have to stop this from happening. We need to support one another. I just can’t help but think it’s time to DO something.