Deployment life is definitely not for the faint of heart. In fact, it pretty much downright sucks. Today marks 108 days since J left and we have been in a funk since day 85. And in case you’re wondering, we definitely count the days…Every. Single. One. Which is why I know the exact day when the funk set in.
Some days move quicker than others. Some days are easy. Some days are long. Some are really, really long. And some days are completely awful and I think, “How the heck are we going to make it through the next ____ days?” Long holiday weekends, like this one, are difficult because everyone else is doing family stuff and you are left alone with your kids and the “Groundhog’s Day effect”.
But most days are just like every other day in the life of a stay-at-home mom (but without the brief evening relief from parenting duties we get when husbands return home from work). And through all the tears, through all the anxiety, through all the stress, through all the frustration, through all the missing, we somehow make it through. One hundred and sixty days from now, we will be counting down the final days of our separation and finally be able to say, “We did it. And we did it with grace. And we are stronger for it.”
There is a belief in the military community that everything that can go wrong does go wrong while your spouse is away. For me, this belief was reinforced when J was away at training for 7 weeks in January and February. After being buried in 200 inches of snow, my shed collapsed. Then I had electrical issues in the boys’ bedroom. Then the washing machine pipes froze, defrosted, and leaked all over the floor. And in the middle of my children having severe separation issues and saying things like, “Everybody leaves me and no one comes back,” the cat died. I just shook my head, took the kids to the MFLC (Military Family Life Counselor), and rolled with the punches.
Then J was home for less than 3 months before leaving for the long deployment. Within weeks of his leaving, the microwave broke, the dishwasher had to be replaced, the hot water heater stopped heating the water, we had 2 ER visits, and one tonsillectomy. Then the vacuum cleaner died and the coffee pot stopped making coffee. And it’s not even Fall yet…we still have the North Country winter to contend with before our soldier comes home! But I have learned this much…we will survive…hopefully completely in tact, but if not, at least mostly in tact!
So today, I once again dragged myself and the kids to church. I didn’t want to go. It was so hot and muggy out that I couldn’t even bear to get dressed. And I was tired, we slept late, and like I have already said, I’m in a funk. But today, I’m really glad I went. As I mentioned in my earlier post about church, I never was much of church-goer, but I find such a strong sense of community and military support there. And it seems that I was needed today.
I dropped off the kids in the child care room and there was a little girl screaming her head off. The mother told me that her husband just left for deployment yesterday and her kids were a bit out of sorts. As my 4 year old stared in wonder at this girl screeching on the floor, I explained to him what was going on and asked him to please play with her and talk about his daddy with her. Because, you know, my 4 year is now a deployment expert. And thankfully, my son obliged. (Proud Mommy moment.)
I approached the mother in church and offered her my support and understanding which she greatly appreciated. We cried, we hugged, and we felt a much needed sense of connection.
About halfway through the service, I got up to use the ladies’ room and when I came out, I saw a lady sitting in a chair with her head in her hands weeping. I gingerly approached her and hesitatingly asked, “Do you need a hug?” She looked up at me and through her tears replied, “Yes, please.” She told me that not only did her husband just leave for deployment, but her oldest child just left for college. We talked until she was able to stop crying and we headed back into church. Apparently, I was needed in the ladies’ room right at that moment.
And these are reasons why I make myself go to church. Because sometimes I need the community of support and sometimes others need me. But anyway you look at it, we military families are all in this together. We are all strong and we are all weak and we all need each other. So the next time you meet a soldier or his wife (or her husband) or their children, know that the struggle is real and offer a few words of appreciation or support. Those words may very well carry us through another day.
Onto the lighter side of things…
I overheard the lady who was crying in the rest room say to the chaplain that she got all dressed up today for church because she was in a funk and needed a pick me up. Sometimes, every little bit helps! If you can at least look good, maybe you stand a chance of feeling good, too, even in a funk. So after my struggle this morning with finding clothes that I could bear in this heat, I did eventually get dressed for church!
I chose lightweight joggers in a black, brown, and turquoise pattern with a black sleeveless tunic and bronze footbed sandals. I really love the shoulder detail on the tunic! I added a bronze statement necklace and grabbed a lightweight no-closure waterfall cardigan in chocolate brown (because I always get cold in church). I don’t know about anyone else, but when it is too hot out, I prefer lightweight loose pants to any other clothing. I hate when my legs stick together!
What are your clothing preferences when it’s too hot to bear the burden of clothing? Do you prefer shorts, skirts, pants, or dresses? Does getting dressed up make you feel a tad better when you are in a funk? I would love to hear from you!
Hanging on at the edge,