The trouble is, when I say "Oh, everything is fine! We are doing great." I AM being honest. We have hard days and rough spots - but overall, the separations we've dealt with this year, have been easy peasy.
My Love has been away for numerous schools/training throughout the year....
3 weeks in January in Georgia
3 weeks in June in Key West
6 weeks in July/August split between Nevada and California
3 1/2 weeks in October on the boat
Next week he leaves again.
6 weeks in Nevada.
Yep. You counted right - he'll be gone over Thanksgiving.
If the weather cooperates, he'll be home for Christmas. If not, we'll celebrate on our own day. We have moved birthdays and holidays and anniversaries for 9 years now....it doesn't even register anymore.
So, if you were adding up, that means he will have spent 21 1/2 weeks (just over 5 months) away from the family this year.
And he's not deployed.
Here is my perspective on all those times apart....If you think I'm sugar coating this, or being Pollyanna, you are wrong.
This is me.
Every day - on the easy days, on the hard days, on the sad days, on the everything-is-breaking-and-the-kids-are-sick days - I remember how fortunate I am.
My husband is away - but that is not the worst thing ever.
We have a roof over our heads, food on our table, clothes on our backs. At any point I can kiss and snuggle my sweet children. Our car works. We have an amazing group of friends and family who pray for us and support us.
When the days seem long, or any of us in the house want to wallow in the "poor me" party - we stop and remember to focus on what we do HAVE, instead of what we don't have.
Discontent breeds misery.
I have to stop wishing he wasn't away - and focus on the gift of knowing him at all.
I constantly remind the Beans on the hard days, "Be thankful you miss Daddy. That means he is kind, and loving, and wonderful. There are many children in this world who do not have the gift of a kind Daddy. They look forward to Daddy leaving - we are blessed to have a Daddy we miss."
I am also lazy.
It takes entirely too much energy to be miserable.
I know how exhausting being miserable is, because I've been there.
I've wallowed. I've started to drown in my own loneliness and believe the lie I was bearing the hardest burden ever.
But it isn't.
These separations are nowhere close to the hardest thing ever.
Dealing with a separation is challenging.
But it can also be a great thing.
I am thankful for our history with deploying when My Love was enlisted - it helps me feel better prepared for what is coming.
Every separation has its own personality - but there are certain constants that I can count on....
The day before he leaves - we will all wear our cranky pants. Always. And we are all annoyed about being annoyed, so it just isn't pleasant.
The first week he is gone - all 4 Beans wake up (at least) once a night. Typically, they each wake up twice. Hence....
The first week he is gone - I am exhausted out of my mind. :)
The 3rd or 4th day - the children are all on pins and needles angry about everything. They will fight and cry and melt with reckless abandon.
The 2nd week is fairly smooth, the girls have adjusted to the schedule, everyone is sleeping through the night; but this is when the Boy tries to test what I'm made of. So the 2nd week is full of highly intensive parenting.
By the 3rd week - we are in a rhythm. Smooth sailing from there on out, in theory.
Holidays/birthdays/special days are hard - everyone misses Daddy.
Saturdays drag by and take forever...so I try to have a fun purpose for every Saturday.
Having a handy sense of humor is also a key to surviving separations....things will go wrong, kids will get sick, stuff you never planned on will come up....you can laugh (which is an awesome tool for anti-aging, burns calories, and keeps frowning wrinkles at bay) or you can melt and cry.
I cry sometimes. And melt sometimes.
But most of the time? I laugh.
I'm too tired to do anything else.