Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's easy to get caught up in complaining, noting repeatedly how hard it is.  The negatives.  No sleep.  Not sitting through a meal.  Cold food.  Frigid coffee.  Nights spent over a crib with a crying baby.  Inconsolable children.  Toilet training accidents.  Stained carpets.  No free time.  Constant parenting.

It's tough, this job.

Motherhood is round the clock, nonstop work.  Even when I am sleeping, there is a part of me listening.  Waiting.  Aware.  And watching.  I'm the first one to hear it, even if I don't move at first.  I'm the last one to fall asleep.

Because they have my heart.

But, occasionally I get caught up in focusing on the negative.  Cranky toddlers and clingy babies make for a bad day.  No housework done because the girls were so needy.  Wishing I had a little "me-time."  Hoping they fall asleep at bedtime for some quiet time.  Getting frustrated and lonely.  Because I'm here with them all day.  And often times, we stay here.  All day.

But, then, I think--well, they could not be here.   And my heart stops for a moment.  My precious girls, my beautiful children.  It puts things into perspective.

What really is important?

They are.  Not the laundry, the cold coffee, the stale sandwiches I never seem to finish.  The crying all night long.  It could be silent.  And I don't like that kind of silence.  My crib could be empty, the tiny bed barren.  The toy bucket gone.  The laundry neatly put away.  The meals on time and eaten quickly.  I could come and go as I please, with no one in tow.  Empty hands, small purse.

Instead, I wait for it every morning:

"Mommmmyyyyyy....Good mo-ning."  And I smile.  The chattering from the small room.  And I'm up.  Even if it's early.

Because life is short.  And it's fragile.  And it's so precious

And I'm blessed with two of them.  Two fresh faces in the morning, two sets of tears to wipe.  Two hearts to love, two bodies to hug.  Two sets of cheeks to kiss.  Two souls to care for.

It's not about what I don't have, what I sometimes wish for.  Those things are so transient--the food, the coffee, the sleep.  It doesn't last.

My girls.  They are here.  And they last longer than the burnt coffee and the undone laundry.  But their childhood will fly by.  The times they want a hug, want to be held, ask for snuggles and kisses.  That is important.  That's what, at the end of my life, I'll treasure and remember.  Those memories will flit through my head someday when I am alone in the house, and they are off living their adventures.  The boo-boos I kissed and bandaged, the broken hearts I mended.  The phrases that leave me laughing in tears.  When my home is immaculate, the crayons long gone.  The toys boxed up.  I'll remember.

Motherhood is so beautiful.  So worth it.  Motherhood gives way to life.  And life is precious. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Seeing the television commercial angers me.  To my core.  The statements they make, the comparisons they draw.  It incenses me.  Because what they are living in a few short months is nothing like what the men and women live.  It in no way resemble the sacrifices they and their families make. 

Stars Earn Stripes debuts the Monday after the Olympics.  The first time I saw the television ad for it, I was irate but speechless.  Put in controlled environments that mimic war and military training, a handful of celebrities supposedly do just that--earn their stripes. 

"I know there's a chance I can die." 

Are you kidding me?!  I wonder if I am the only one upset at this show.  My husband just laughs.  I know enough about television to be sure that they are not going to put celebrities in dangerous places that could cause harm or death.  These are controlled environments--sets--designed to mirror other truly dangerous places.  The previews show the celebrities talking and "confessing" that they didn't realize how hard it'd be, that they are fearful for their lives.  The women are sporting makeup and their hair is freshly done.  The men are clean--free of dirt and grime.  They sit in front of a camera, looking totally scripted.

"This may have been a very big mistake."  


As a military brat and Army wife, I am offended by this show.  They have no idea what it takes to live this life.  They will never have to face and live through what many of our service men and women do.  They will never endure watching someone get seriously injured or witness their best friend or battle buddy die.  They don't leave for long periods to live in a primitive, hostile environment enduring little to no communication with family. 


They will play pretend, driving by explosions and screaming in scripted terror, and after the final show, return home to their mansions where their families will be waiting with open arms.  Their pay will not drastically change, they won't have to return to work within a week's time.  They will retain no battle scars, there will be no reintegration. 

Because they are playing pretend. 

"It's about honoring our veterans and our law enforcement officers."   

Then volunteer for the Blue Star Program.  Donate to the Wounded Warriors.  As a celebrity, you've got a lot of resources.  Give your time, your money.  Don't mock us,

The choice to serve our country does not last a few short months.  It does not mean controlled training in front of cameras that concludes within a few weeks.  It's ever so much more.

This life is spent in constant upheaval, constant change.  Soldiers gone frequently on trips, training exercises, deployments.  Spouses spending each day and night of a year alone and fearing the ring of a doorbell.  A cycle of preparation, gone, return, reintegration.  Moving every few years to few months.  Arriving in a new place, unpacking, settling in and making friends, repacking, leaving.  Sudden deployments, changes of station.  Seeing crying family members in our rear view mirrors, and driving the car forward anyway. 

It's hard.  It's gut-wrenching.  It will bring you to your knees, and lower.  It exhausts you, shakes your faith, and jades your heart.  It requires constant work, maintaining a family dynamic that is always changing.  Holding down a homefront for your Soldier or keeping your head down to save your life.  It's missing years of your children's life that you'll never get back; trying to bond with a baby after missing months of its young life.  It's missing your child graduating, your friend's wedding.  It's coming home to a spouse who's changed drastically and struggling to find your place again. 

It's hell. 

It's also beautiful.  Because when you find that normalcy, even if it's brief, you've won.  When you figure out the family dynamic, when your heart finally leaps when you take your newborn, when your child finally accepts you again, you've won another battle.  All you have is today.  Because tomorrow, your Soldier could ship out again.  It's living in the beautiful present, learning from the past and not fearing the future. 

Those celebrities have no idea what it takes to live a lifetime of true sacrifice.  Because they will never live it.  They will merely produce a mockery in during a few weeks.  They will have their comforts, their families, their normal.  Nothing changes for them. 

But, this is why we fight this war, why we live this life.  Because it's truly ironic.  We live this life, make this sacrifice so they have the freedom to produce television shows to mock it. 

I won't be watching it.  I am married to the real deal.  I am married to a United States Soldier.