>Feeling better

>I am feeling much better today. I had a long conversation with DH last night. It all started with him asking about Nursing School. I told him this semester wasn’t great, in fact it was downright terrible. My grades were very bad. He said he found that hard to believe because in the past, my idea of “not doing well” was anything other than an A. I knew I could do better and wouldn’t settle for a B. Anyway, I told him that this was different, I had a C+ average and had in fact, failed my last test by 6 points. He was shocked. That’s not like me. He asked what was going on. I told him I had a lot on my plate right now. He said “it’s this deployment, isn’t it”? I said yes. We then got into a lengthy discussion about how I need to focus on myself and the kids and stop worrying about him. I told him it wasn’t that easy. He offered to do something to make me mad at him, so I could focus on me. I vehemently rejected that idea. He told me that he’s always been honest about his living conditions and safety when away and that won’t stop. He told me that he will be safe and I need to stop worrying.

To prove his honesty he told me that the guys sleep in boxes, basically shipping containers. We then proceeded to make jokes about him purchasing a shipping container and placing it in our backyard so he can sleep in it when he comes home. Laughing with him made me feel so much better.

Now, I am well aware of the fact that this is a war. He is not away on vacation, he is not sipping iced tea in a beach chair; but laughing through the worry has always been a strong coping mechanism for us. His sense of humor is one of his most valuable assets. Life hasn’t always been easy and sometimes tears are necessary, but my husband has an innate ability to make me laugh anytime, any place. In fact, a favorite saying around our house is “too soon”? Which just makes the joke that much funnier.

Some people may think our sense of humor is crude but it’s how we manage. Sending a husband off to war is not easy, but if making jokes about sleeping in shipping containers and scoping the perimeter of the house in his skivvies at 3am make us feel better; then please don’t judge us.

Anyway, after our conversation I felt much better, so today I am going to the store to get ingredients for a nice dinner. I’m catching up on laundry and just enjoying the day.

Thanks for all the kind words during my 2 day mini “break down”.

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>Holding it together…. barely

>OK, sometimes you just need a good cry. This one has been brewing at the surface for a few days but I did my best to fight it. My youngest son has been sleeping in my bed at night because he’s been having bad dreams so I don’t even have that time to cry. Anyway, the boys are outside playing and I sat in my room for about 15 minutes crying about how unfair life is. When the pity party ended I washed my face and have decided to dedicate the rest of the day to cleaning the house. Anything and everything that needs cleaning will be done, or at least looked at and put off until a later date.

It really does help, crying that is. It’s such an immature, weak thing to do, but it helps. I feel better. And nobody (except you all) know that I did it. Nobody knows that I am scared as hell about this deployment. Nobody knows how inadequate I feel, how defeated and beat up I feel…. except all of you. Funny, how I am broadcasting these feelings to a public blog where anyone can read it but because I maintain some ounce of anonymity I can “save face” and feel like the strong military wife I aspire to be.

I may be falling apart on the inside but I can’t let the kids know, or anyone else in the family for that matter. I want the boys to look back at this deployment and be able to say that “Mom held it together for us”. Countless wives have done this before me and many more will do it after me. So, outward appearances are what matters right now. Keeping a clean house, a smile on my face. Making jokes, and dinner every day. That’s what’s important right now even if those are the last things I feel like doing.

I’m off to begin my cleaning crusade. This will hopefully take my mind off things and maybe by the end of the day I will be over this hump.

>No sleep for me

>So, I went to bed at a decent hour, but here I am blogging at almost 4am, why? Well, I’ve been tossing and turning for hours (not sure exactly how long). I keep thinking about all the things I have or will or can screw up. I can’t turn my mind off, it’s like I get comfy in bed only to remember something and lay there bug-eyed in bed beating myself up for one thing or another.

The house is a mess.

I am not prepared for my final exam for Nursing School.

I have so much debt in student loans, what if I don’t find a job or can’t keep a job as a nurse. What if I hate being a nurse.

I need to quit smoking.

I need to lose weight.

I didn’t practice B’s viola yesterday, so why am I paying over $100/month if I’m not going to practice with him?

My mom is probably mad at me because my brother (whom she is mad at) came over for dinner the other day.

I probably won’t get my $50 from above mentioned brother.

I made the boys chicken nuggets for dinner, no veggies.

I could go on and on. I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep. Maybe blogging about it will help me fall asleep. I can read this in the morning and think to myself what a crazy nutjob I am. There is nothing I can do about it now at 4am. All I can do is be a better mom, student and wife tomorrow. Today just sucked. And tonight sucks even more. I hate nights like this, thankfully they don’t happen often, but when they do I wish I could just hit an “off” button and fall asleep like the rest of the world.

>Kids and deplooyments

>I was just reading some of today’s blogs and one of them caught my eye and got me thinking. I was reading the blog of Army Blogger Wife and she was asking about reenlistments. It got me thinking, after I posted a comment regarding our involuntary reactivation, about the reasons we chose to get out.

DH joined just before our second son was born. During his 8 years we had a third son and we survived two deployments. The problem was that he would leave and come back to kids that had changed SOOOOO much! Infants and toddlers change and grow up so quickly, even a couple of months can make a huge difference. So, during his last deployment he left kids who were 4, 3 and 3 months. He came back to three toddlers! All looking completely different then when he had left!

Now, here’s the biggest tear jerker story I have in my arsenel of stories. We had an 8×10 picture from boot camp of DH hanging on the wall in our living room. Every night we would say “good night to Dad” by looking at the picture and blowing him kisses. So, the first night of DH’s homecoming I told the boys to say goodnight to Daddy. The two older boys ran over and gave him a hug and said goodnight. The baby, who was just a year old at the time. Crawled over to the picture and said “night night, Daddy”. I started crying! My poor baby thought his Daddy was a picture. How sad is that? So, about a year later we decided to end his time in the military.  As a reservist we assumed he would have more time spent at home, boy was I wrong. During his last year as a reservist they mobilized him, and he’s now going to be gone for over a year. Now that the boys are entering the teen years, I feel like I need him more than before. How the hell am I going to raise 3 teeange boys! I don’t know a damn thing about it.

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you had similar stories or fears or comments about the toll it takes on the kids. We don’t live in a military area so for my boys the only reason that their friends don’t have a Dad around is due to divorce. We are the ONLY military family in our town. It’s difficult for them to understand. For instance, one of my boys asked a friend “is your dad in Iraq or Afghanistan”, the friend said “my dad is in Pennsylvania”. So my son came home and asked me “are we at war with Pennsylvania”?

>Me? I won????

>”Please welcome, to the blogosphere, the World’s Worst Mom”….. ::cheers:: “Ta-Da”… ::applause::

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I actually hadn’t prepared an acceptance speech for this award because, well, I never actually wanted to win. But, I’m here now, so thanks for all your support in making me the Queen of Crappy Parenting.

So, I bet you are all wondering what I did to earn this honor. Well, it all started this morning. I had so much cleaning to do. I woke up wanting french toast, but I didn’t want to start cooking before I had started all my chores. So, after getting the boys on their busses I began my cleaning. In my defense, I did a pretty good job with the cleaning, but around 1630 I realized I hadn’t thawed any chicken for dinner. So, I threw some hamburger in a pan and made the boys Hamburger Helper. Now hold your snickering, cuz that’s not what won me the award. After all, we all have Hamburger Helper Nights every now and then. So, the boys eat dinner and I clean up from dinner. As I’m sitting down to the computer I realize, I’m starving, since I wouldn’t touch the hambuger helper. That’s when I start thinking about the french toast again. And I can’t stop. So, what do I do???? I start cracking eggs, and making french toast. I then call all the boys into the kitchen and give them all a big ‘ole plate of steaming hot french toast, drenched in butter. Oh, and lets not forget my secret added ingredient (brown sugar). Yeah, so at 2015 when most kids are winding down and getting ready for bed. I’m loading mine up with sugary foods. Then, I take my plate, stacked 4 high, into the dining room, close the door and procede to eat while blogging about what a crappy mother I am. All the while listening to the kids yelling and laughing and having a good time blowing off their sugar high. Need I remind you all this is a school night? Yeah, so I will accept this award with pride and display it on my mantel right next to my diplomas and wedding picture.

>In need of friends

>All right, wanna hear what a loser I am? OK, so I’m driving two of my boys to school since they missed their busses. As I’m driving home I see two women walking down the road. Just out for their morning walk. They are chatting away and enjoying the nice weather. I smile and wave even though I don’t know them and continue on my way. I turn the corner and there are two more women walking, these girls are speed walking but still, having a great time. I smile and wave as I drive by and when I pass my third set of walkers I start to feel jealous. I wish I had friends to walk with, to talk with. Someone who I can call up after the boys get on the bus and we can meet for coffee, or a walk, or chat on the phone. I live in a secluded area, in fact, I can’t even see my nearest neighbors. I’m very isolated, at the time of purchase, I thought this was great. I thought it would be nice to live up on a mountain, but now I’m feeling kinda lonely. It wasn’t as bad before DH left, but now…. ya, I’m by myself and I’m feeling kinda like I did my first day of high school; walking around the cafeteria looking for a place to sit. Anyway, that’s my sob story for the day.

>My Big Girl Voice

>I need help, I’ve never been good at the whole “grown up” thing. As a kid I always got nervous talking to grown ups and I envied the way they carried themselves with confidence, never stuttering or hesitating. I though “when I grow up, I will be just like that, it just takes time”. Well, I am 31 years old now and I’m still waiting for my grown up words to come in. See, my 11 y/o son wanted to go to his girlfriend’s house today. So, I told him I needed to speak to her mother first. Well, she called my phone while I was doing dishes and didn’t hear it. So, I listened to the voicemail in which she left her name and phone number. I wrote down the number and repeated her name in my head a couple times so I wouldn’t forget. So, I call, and a kid answers the phone. Now, here is where I’m supposed to be a Grown Up and say “hello, may I speak with Mrs. Jones”, but nooooooo, I forgot her name already. I stuttered and stammered and finally got out “uh, hi, is this, uhhhh Candace’s Mom”? The kid surprisingly understood me, and put her mother on the phone where I continued to act like a 3rd grader at the White House Dinner. Stuttering, stammering, hesitating, just making a fool of myself. It didn’t help that this woman sounds like she has her MBA and is the CEO of some major Fortune 500 company. I mean, she was perfect! SHe spoke fluidly and made me feel like I was 5. Ugh, so my question is when the HELL am I going to get my big girl voice, cuz I’m getting impatient.

>I can scream louder than you!

>I thought today was starting off like any other day. I was exhausted and not happy about the alarm going off, my oldest is already banging around downstairs like a blind bull in a china shop. So, I go across the hall to wake up the other two and what happens???? NOTHING. Yup, I had no voice. Nothing, it was a whisper and not very clear at that. So, I wake them each up by shaking their shoulders and whispering “wake up” which for some reason scared the crap out of them. I guess when you are so used to be woken up every morning by a loud scream “WAKE UP, YOU’RE GONNA BE LATE” it can be a little troubling to suddenly be awoken to the opposite. Anyway, after I assured them that there was nothing wrong I just didn’t have a voice we began our normal routine, except there was nothing normal about it. See, mornings at my house are more chaotic than the mall on December 26th. So for me to not be able to yell above the commotion and keep order, all hell broke loose. And everytime I tried to tame them, they would laugh at me because apparently whispered threats of punishment are much less effective. Luckily, they all got on their respective busses and were shuffled off to school leaving me to clean the house in silence. Ahhhh, just what I like to hear. PS. my voice is slowly coming back already so hopefully this evening won’t be as crazy.

>Easter with the Mothers!

>I hope everyone had a good Easter, mine was probably one of the oddest I’ve had in a while. My mother in law insisted on making easter dinner and offered to invite my family. This was a set up for a disastrous night but all in all we got out of there unscathed most likely because none of my brothers showed up. But, that left me at a table with my mother and his mother. OH NOOOOOOO! Basically the night was spent with my mother talking about her cat, and his mother talking about Sandra Bullock. MIL made a purreed carrot ring mold. It was probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, the boys and I refused to even try it. Sorry, if it looks like it’s already been digested I’m gonna have to pass. So, anyway, MIL began to get a bit tipsy, she thought I couldn’t see the giant bottle of vodka hidden behind the bread but when you start clanging away in the kitchen, knocking things over and muttering to yourself all the while saying “I’ll be right out with the dessert” someone is bound to pick up on it. So, once she kicked off the shoes and started preaching that “Sandra” just needs to find a nice man; we were outta there. I pulled the “oh, the kids have school in the morning” card and ran for the hills. Well, that’s all the time I have right now. I have to go back to class. Talk with ya’ll later.

>Holidays during deployment…

>All right, so Easter is tomorrow and guess what? I have not gone shopping yet. Yup, crappy Mom that I am I just can’t seem to ever get into the holidays when my husband is gone. In fact, one Easter we had Shake n Bake chicken for dinner, and it wasn’t because I had a good excuse like burning the ham… no, I just wasn’t interested in slaving over the stove all day for three kids who would scarf the food down in 10 minutes and then beg to be excused.

Talking about this reminds me of the Christmas after 9/11. It was probably one of the hardest/memorable I’ve had. So, here’s the story:

Husband was on deployment, it was just me and the kids, they were 4, 3 and 6 months. I had come up with the clever idea of doing all my christmas shopping on Amazon.com. That way all the stuff would come in big brown boxes and I wouldn’t have to go shopping. I didn’t have any friends or family in the area so I didn’t have a babysitter and it wasn’t possible to shop with the kids (obviously). So anyway, I was so proud of myself. I had gotten everything done. 2 nights before christmas I opened up the boxes and wrapped everything, then stuffed everything into my newborn’s closet. The toddlers never went into the baby’s room cuz it was boring and he didn’t have any toys. So, anyway, it’s Christmas Eve. I put the boys to bed around 9pm and went downstairs to wait for them to fall asleep so I could put everything under the tree. Fast forward 3 hours. I hear giggling… “oh no”… I creep to the bottom of the stairs and I hear ripping paper. I RAN UP THE STAIRS SO FAST! My feet may not have even touched the ground! I fly into the toddlers room and find….. empty beds. NOOOOOOO. I turn around and look into the nursery and sure enough, the baby is standing in the bed with a smile on his face reaching out toward his closet. I then hear another giggle. As I come into the doorway the tears started streaming down my face. There were the toddlers, sitting in a mound of unwrapped wrapping paper opening up every single gift in that closet. As I stood there watching them open all of Santa’s presents I knew Christmas was ruined. I had spent all our money on those toys so I could not replace them even if I had time; which I didn’t because as I said before it was around midnight on Christmas Eve. So, I’m standing there watching this and one of them turns around with the biggest smile I have ever seen and says “MOMMY! Look what we found”! He was so happy, he was so proud, he had no idea that he and his bro had just ruined Christmas. They didn’t realize they had done anything wrong, and they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t happy.

That’s when I realized that Christmas doesn’t have to be about sticking to the rules and doing everything by the book. There IS no book with kids, and as a military family what rules we may have can change at a moment’s notice. So, I walked over to the crib, and let the baby out. Then I sat in the middle of the mess and started playing with the kids and their new toys. They were so happy, and it didn’t take long for me to start understanding that while it may not be perfect, this was going to be our Christmas this year. So there we were at midnight, sitting in the baby’s nursery playing with all the toys. I told the kids that Santa had been super busy that year and that he had sent one of his elves to deliver our presents but the Elf was new and didn’t know where to put them, so he stuffed them in the closet. By 2am the boys were exhausted and they went to bed only to wake up around 7am to play with the toys some more.

So, that’s my Christmas Horror story and as we are looking at yet another holiday without my husband home, I plan on making the best of it because this is OUR holiday, OUR memories and someday when DH and I are old and sitting in rocking chairs with our Metamucil in hand we will laugh about all the stressful, chaotic holidays we had.