Image: Mathy Shoots People
I‘ve found a lot more inspiration lately for writing more personal posts, so I hope you guys don’t mind it too much. Maybe all the post-election insanity has caused me to be more introspective, or maybe I’ve been reading so many op-eds and think pieces lately, craving explanation for what the heck is happening in our country (and world) that it’s opened up more introspective thoughts & thus, posts. Whatever the reason, they’re always therapeutic for me, and so I’ll continue to write them until someone tells me to stop ;-p.
Today’s post came by way of Facebook – a friend of mine from High School posted a status update after the new year about her life as a military wife & mom of two, dealing with being only halfway through her husband’s current deployment. I asked Kelsey if I could share her words here, and she thankfully agreed to let me. Here were her words:
We are a little over half way finished with Andy’s current deployment. I’m sitting in my warm and quiet house reflecting on the past few months. When Andy first deployed a few months ago I had so many emotions; sadness, loneliness and anger. I would look at families in restaurants and stores and be jealous of their togetherness and happiness. I would quickly scroll past family photos on Facebook and wished I could post pictures of my family together also. I would tear up when I received beautiful family Christmas cards in the mail. As time passed I’ve let those emotions go as I have learned so much about myself and my capabilities as a mother and a woman. I’ve learned that I can and will handle all situations that come up. Military wives learn to expect the strangest things to come up while their husbands are gone. Things in the house break at the most inconvenient time, there seems to be less sleep and long nights, kids get sick more than ever before with more ER visits and so on.
Daily routines and traditions need to be consistent even though Dad is away. I have no choice but to take on the rolls of husband and father. Kids need “rough housing,” they need their Christmas toys that take 6 hours to be put together; they need discipline and so forth. The cars need to have the oil changed and bills need to be paid, and lawns need to be mowed and raked, driveways need to be shoveled and garbage needs to be taken out. Before I did all of this with resentment and always felt a little sorry for myself. I’m over that. I’ve realized the time apart from Andy has allowed me to mature and has made me be thankful for our health and love that our family has for each other and for those who have supported us along the way. I’ve learned to let the small things go and to focus on the things that really matter.
In reading this post again, I am once more moved to tears and in awe of her strength, self-reflection, and honesty. I must also admit that her post could not have come at a better time for me. Andy has been traveling a lot more for work lately than he ever has, and I’ll admit that I don’t ever take the news well when he tells me he has to jet off somewhere new. Yes I understand it’s for his job, and yes I know that he doesn’t want to leave me hanging to take care of Evie alone, but that didn’t seem to help my mood.
I almost always get sulky and grumpy, building up how tough and exhausting it’s going to be (or is) when he’s gone and the child care routine is on me, as I still try to keep the CapRo lights on and functioning at my day job. It’s stressful for sure, but it wasn’t until Kelsey’s post (and our quick chat after she wrote it) that made me realize two things. 1 – there are so many parents that bear this burden of single-parenting (military deployments, or other circumstances) for so much longer than the few days a month Andy travels, and 2- I was making this situation entirely about me.
Every time Andy told me had to travel, I immediately thought of myself and how hard it would be for ME only. I didn’t think about how he might feel being away and I didn’t think about Evie missing Andy/wondering where he might be. Andy’s work trips pale in comparison to Kelsey’s situation (and others’ like her) where her partner is gone for MONTHS. Surely if Kelsey can see the good in this situation, I can find a way to react better and think of others more, and of myself & own pity, less.
So let this post serve as a reminder to you, especially as we set out on a new year, that there may be times where you could think of your self a little less, and of others a little more. I know I am certainly going to try much harder to do this, starting today.