Sunday, October 30, 2011

I am selfish. 

I have been given so many graces and blessings lately--God has been far too good to me.  Despite several threats, Mary stayed put till her due date.  Richard was sent home at the last minute for the birth.  And, my little girl's arrival was healthy and quick, despite some potentially very serious complications.  Mommy, Daddy, and our girls were able to get some serious quality time in before and after the birth.  And my Soldier was there, holding my hand, as we brought forth another blessed life into this world. 

What more could I ask for?  Ask God. 

Yesterday afternoon, as I hit Crazy Time (late afternoon/early evening), Richard called from Iraq.  He had made it back safely, and had some news for me.  It wasn't the news I wanted to hear.  I had prayed for better news.  I was upset and angry.  Once I got off with him, I finally cried.  It's been a really long time since I have cried.  And I couldn't stop till I ran out of tears.  Which took awhile.  I had a long one-sided conversation with Him. 

Then, I called my family.

"Adrienne.  This is quite an honor for Richard.  You have to be strong for him.  It's not easy for either of you--but think how hard this is on him.  He needs your strength and support right now, especially." 

My dad was right.  I was so selfish!  The news Richard had was much better than anything I could have imagined 12 months ago, as I was preparing to ship him off.  It was better what I knew a month ago.  We were being given a huge blessing...and it wasn't good enough. 

Poor God.  I don't know why He keeps letting me come back.  I am trying to be okay with the news.  I am selfish, and that's something I've realized won't change over night.  I will work on coming to peace with what I was told, while being here with two young children.  But, rather than focus on the negative, I've got to focus on the positive.  What God has blessed me with--two beautiful children, an amazing spouse, a chance to see him again.  I have to focus on the blessing in the news, not the negative I added to it. 

I will be strong.  For him.
I will be supportive.  For him.

Because I wouldn't do this for anyone else.  My Soldier is the only one who makes living this worth it.  Who makes surviving and thriving possible.  And God?  He's the one who gives me the strength and grace to fulfill the mission.  And lets me keep coming back. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Build a routine.  Stick to it." 

"Especially the children need structure.  But, you'll find yourself needing it, too." 

He left in February, taking any and all structure to our days, weeks, and months with him.  I had to rebuild our lives from scratch.  Figure out ways to break up the day, split the week and weekend.  Fill the months so that time moved.  And we did.

Each day have our routine, the two of us.  Wake up, open the windows, make coffee, eat breakfast together.  Get ready for the day, play in the yard or run errands, naptime, dinnnertime, etc.  Though the months have brought small adaptations to our days and weeks, largely our structure has remained the same.  And it's comforting and safe.  For her and for me. 

I would never go back and repeat the time he's been gone.  I choose to move forward, towards the day he gets home.  But, I've learned so much, grown so much.  Through struggles and challenges, scares and Crosses, through joy and victories, I have found myself stretched, put through fire.  I've become more flexible, more willing to bend.  Before, naptime would never have been missed.  Now, every once in awhile is okay; sometimes, it's fun.  I'm not in control.  I just maintain a normalcy. Those little moments of wisdom have taught me much.

But, it's all been a preparation for a greater test.  And it's here. 

After I had my daughter, everything changed.  Everything.  I had thrived on normalcy, on being in control.  Structure that I dictated.  Routine that I managed.  Motherhood taught me how little control I actually had.  And it was a huge adjustment for me. 

I feel like that woman who struggled to understand the massive change in her life is vastly different from the woman who sits here now.  Life has been anything but normal in months, and yet I've striven to inject something of it into our daily lives.  The husband and father is gone.  I do everything myself.  I am raising a daughter, managing a household, surviving a deployment.  That woman I was nearly two years ago would have broken under this pressure.  I am surviving--even thriving. 

But huge change is upon me--upon us. 

I am getting ready to bring another life into the world.  And chaos will reign again.  No more routine, no more structure.  Normal, as I have known and created it, is over in the next couple of days.  No more days of just my battle buddy and me.  No more will I be so comfortable and confident in how I can handle life with my one child.  We will, again, be starting from scratch. 

Will everything I've learned, all the ways I've grown, be enough for handling two children?  Will there be enough of Mom to go around?  Will I be able to give my attention to both of my darling children?  Will I survive? Thrive?


Because if I've learned one thing, it's this.  I do not have the final say, I do not control life, its structure or routine.  I am not in charge.  But, there is one thing I can control.  Me.  My reactions.  My attitude.  On that score, I call the shots.  So, in those moments where life seems harried, out of control, I will stop and breathe.  Just as I do now, in moments when I feel my grip failing.  I will renew my promise to make a joyful home, a happy life for the two, er three, of us.  I will love, smile, laugh.  And occasionally, as I do now, I will cry.

But, we will still win.  We will survive this.  The end is near, and this has not beaten us yet.  Not even close.  So, as my "normal" life with just my battle buddy suddenly vanishes, I welcome and create a new "normal" with my Battle Buddy and my Happy Thought.  Because life never stays the same.  It's always changing.  With the struggles and Crosses, come greater joy and victory. 


Yes, it's coming.  But, before then, I've got to bring my baby home. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

My eyes flitted open, my skin felt excited.  I felt the chilly fall morning, even inside, and looked towards the window where the Fall sun was desperately trying to circumvent the shades.  I smiled.  What a beautiful morning!  Across the house, my daughter was sleeping, and I could hear my in-laws stirring from their room.  There were guests here, which always makes days more exciting. 

I sat up, and opened my computer.  I checked my email, saw some from him.  And I smiled.  I love waking up his emails.  I meandered over to Facebook...

And I saw it.

A letter from the Colonel, posted on the unit page.  "Redeployment Letter."  My heart started racing, and my fingers were shaking.  I clicked...and it didn't work.  The link was defunct.  Nineteen eager spouses posted the same underneath, and I knew I could only wait. 


For the last eight months, I've waited.  Waiting for the phone calls, the video chats, the emails.  Waited for days to pass, for weeks to turn into months.  Waited for Baby.  Waited for R&R, the halfway point, and news about them coming home. 

I could wait some more.  I had to wait some more.

I didn't want to be rude and keep checking my computer during their visit.  I had emailed my Soldier, asking if he knew any information.  His response email came back through:

They posted again.  And I read it, in black and white.  Christmas.  He *could* be home by Christmas.  My heart flew into my throat, tears poured from my eyes, and I couldn't finish reading it out loud. 

I remember last year.  Christmas was a struggle for me.  I did not want the Holidays tainted with the dread my stomach was feeling.  I did not want us looking back on the precious little time we had left at that point, remembering how scared we were, how soon he was leaving.  I made it through Christmas, able to ignore it.  But, I was haunted constantly by reminders that he would not be home the next year. 

And now this.  There's hope.

And so we wait some more. Wait for a final word.  Wait for confirmation. 

And I pray.  That much sooner, he could see us again, be with his little buddy again.  That much sooner, he could meet the darling baby he left with me.  That much sooner...he could be part of our lives again.

And so begins our Advent.  We will see if Christmas brings our Soldier home.  Until then, I pray.  And wait.