My last post was written October 14, 2008. It is now December 3, 2008.
That's 50 days ago, in case you were wondering. I was.
Oh, readers. I am so sorry. I don't know about you, but I vote for "unconscionably tardy." Please, oh please, won't you forgive me?
The past 50 days have been an Oprah-worthy range of emotion, alternating between glorious and infuriating, peaceful and stressful, joyous and sorrowful. You name it, we've felt it.
I cannot adequately reflect on every day between then and now (naptime isn't near long enough for that). But here are a few reflections I'm having right now, in this very moment, when I'm actually at the computer long enough to think about it.
Absence Really Does Make My Heart Grow Fonder
The CDR is gone on a three-day business trip, and I'm lovin' it! He was home for six weeks or so, just long enough to thoroughly enjoy his company and then find myself wondering, "When does he get underway again? Not until January?!? Oh, no. That won't do."
I am a total extrovert, I admit, but I do quite enjoy a few nights here and there of solitary peace. I put the boys to bed, clean a few dishes, then settle my entire body onto our tiny loveseat while I watch something girly on the TiVo and drink a glass of wine (or, as it happened last night, savor every last spoonful of my peppermint ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce).
Here's the thing: I love my husband, but I love him more (and I like him a lot more!) when I've had the chance to miss him.
I Actually Like (Some) Other Women
While I do have my high-maintenance moments, I confess that I find some women to be exceptionally catty and gossipy and judgy and ultimately, intolerable.
I also struggle with this one particular breed of stay-at-home-moms. God love and bless every single one of you, but seriously... Might you possibly, one distant day, even begin to consider that there exists a subject worthy of discussion that does not involve your children and their bodily functions?
Anyway. Here in Washington, I have found a savvy, grounded, thought-provoking, exceptionally delightful group of women in the mothers' group at my church. Some of them have become my closest friends here, and they helped carry me through the darkest moments of this year's deployments.
It Won't Really Be About Me Until 2012... or 2020... Or Never
When we were given this assignment in Seattle, I had to suspend a graduate school program I had just started in Vermont. It is a fantastic program, and that first year of school was one of the best experiences of my life. All of my classmates have gone on without me, and I may finish... someday.
I also love my work in arts administration; and, while I have been blessed to find a job here, it's essentially the same damn job I've had for seven years. Because I can't stay in a job longer than two years, I can't promote. And that is very frustrating.
If I'm honest with myself, I recognize that neither of my dreams will likely come to pass until the CDR officially retires from the Coast Guard. The original plan has that happening in 2012; but if the economy keeps tanking, then staying in a few more years may be a very wise decision.
But I still occasionally struggle with the personal surrender and sacrifice that comes with my husband's military career. Just the other day, our younger son Kel woke up with an all-body rash, and I was the one who had to miss work to take him to the doctor and stay home with him. My husband literally could not miss that day of work, even though I have missed day after day handling sick kids all by myself for seven months. And I started to get very bitter.
But, as it always seems with my emotional process, I came to a crossroads. And here's what I thought:
I can either be bitter and sour about my life's path, or I can find joy in the unexpected blessings that it brings, like:
...A husband who writes heart-melting love letters...
...A house that must be de-cluttered every 2-3 years before we move...
...An excuse to not fully paint and decorate said house because, "Hey, we're just gonna move in two years, and it's a rental, anyway!"...
...Good friends across the country and around the world...
...Sea Pay and Family Separation Allowance...
...A faith in God and myself that has walked through the dark valley and come out shining ever more brightly...
...And a blog.