Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The End.

287 days. 

I'm going to be completely honest here, this is the last thing I want to be doing. I can think of 100 other things I should be doing then writing this blog, like mopping floors, doing laundry, or washing dishes. I feel like I owe it to ya'll, I owe you guys an 'ending.'  This is the exact reason I could never be a "blogger." I am a devoted blog follower and I see what people sacrifice, the commitment they give, and the realness they present. I can't do that. That's not me. I was so overwhelmed through this blogging process by the kind words, the private messages, and the inspiration I received to keep writing. Old friends reached out to me to send their virtual hugs, people I've never spoken a word to told me that I made them feel 'real', complete strangers told me I inspired them to be more honest with themselves as mothers, people have told me they wish for the love BW and I have, people have started telling their own story because of my decision to tell mine. I did not expect this at all. I will never write a book, it is too raw. There is too much at stake and I'm not willing to share it all. I am so thankful for everyone that followed me on this journey. I, without a doubt, could not have done it without the motivation to keep writing, to keep telling, and to keep sharing.

As I prepare to spend my last night alone on the last night of this deployment I feel an overwhelming surge of emotions. When BW first left for this deployment I was terrified. People often tell me how strong I am. If you followed me around for a day...for a week...or just a few hours you might have changed your mind. I cried alot. I had moments when I would breakdown. Every day that went by that I didn't hear from him I thought he was dead. The reality of war was never lost.  I laid on O's nursery floor and sobbed, I  was angry that I was alone. I cursed his name when I had to get my oil changed on a Saturday with a toddler. I wasn't strong. I survived and that's all I knew how to do. It's hard to take credit for just being a Mom and a Wife. That's all I was doing.

We've been apart for 287 days and I know this isn't the last time.My bed will always be empty one weekend a month and two weeks a year. I am an Army wife. You know what will be harder then being apart for 287 days? The 289th day... and the 290th day. We have a long, unknown road ahead of us. He is not the same man that left for Texas last August, and I'm not the same woman. We've lived our lives separately for a year and have to learn again how to live it together. It will take time and it will take work. We've got this.

Tomorrow is going to be an incredible day. My heart explodes for Olivia. She has no idea how her life is about to change. She is completely unaware of the amount of love that is about to enter her world. She is about to meet her Daddy for the second time.

 Throughout this deployment I spent a lot of time in the car. Between our 12 hour trips to Florida, my 45 minute drive each way to work, Olivia and I spent a lot of time driving. This is where I did most of my crying. Maybe it was the open road, maybe it was the songs on the radio, and maybe it was that my back was to O and she couldn't see me cry. Whatever the reason, the car is where my tears fell the most. Tomorrow I will put Miss O in the car, settle myself in the front, turn on the radio and drive. We will have a 30 minute drive to pick up our soldier. Thirty minutes to cry, and thirty minutes to laugh and sing.  The difference? This time I cry because the weight of the world is off of my shoulders and my heart is full. We are together again.

....forever and a day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Love Story Part 3

I knew what he said but I wanted to hear him say it..."I really like you."  He wouldn't repeat it, he refused. But I knew exactly what he said and that was enough. That was all I needed.

We had an amazing rest of the day and a wonderful dinner just the two of us. Our entire drive home was different. Things changed.  Our conversations were lighter, it was more heartfelt, it was more invested.  Something changed on the slopes that day and I have no idea what it was.  We parted ways that night and as I was getting ready for bed a flood of text messages came in to my phone. I was reading words from BW that I only dreamed of hearing, he said things you'd only hear in a movie... his tone changed, he changed. This was the man I waited for..and it was worth every second.

Every day following we were on fast forward. I started spending a lot of time at his apartment and I spent a lot of time making sure he was happy. His laundry was always done, I cooked for him and I cleaned. There was nothing I was trying to prove to him, but I wanted him to know that he meant the world to me and I wanted to take care of him. I wanted to show him that I was invested, and I hoped he was too. We started talking about living together, and began spending our weekends apartment hunting. We also planned a trip to Florida to visit his Mom.  Like I said, we were on fast forward...like when you hit the button twice.

We drove down to Florida to visit his Mom in March and it was an amazing opportunity to get to know each other better as we had 10 hours in the car together. We laugh when we think back about how we didn't listen to the radio the entire 10 hours because we talked THAT much.  He's a talker....I'm a storyteller. In case you didn't know.  We had awesome days on the beach, got to spend time with his Mom and brother, and drank way too many frozen drinks.  We spent a day at Panama beach and started obsessing over the idea of getting a tattoo. I already had a few, and was ready for another.  Wanting tattoos turned in to wanting tattoos that were related to one another and that turned in to wanting matching tattoos.  Like, identical. I could count on two fingers the number of months we had been officially dating but getting matching tattoos seemed 100% reasonable. Hell, it sounded perfect. Where do I sign? The tattoos were done, we went to dinner, and joked with each other about how we were now bonded for life. What in GODS name had I just done?

We got home from Florida and began our apartment search. We spent our weekends driving with the top down (cue Ludacris) looking for our perfect first home. In May we finally settled on a place to live but it was a long process before we actually moved in together. BW had to leave for two week for the Army. I was left to do a lot of it alone, and spent several days cleaning, packing and moving our stuff to our new home.

BW spent a day painting our bedroom while I was at work. We disagreed on the color for weeks. He hated the color I picked, and was determined to convinced me otherwise.  He agreed to paint them the dark purple that I wanted and I couldn't wait to get home from work to see the progress. I came home to a freshly painted purple bedroom that looked great. He had worked so hard all day so I figured I'd treat him to dinner. There aren't many restaurants around where we live so we always find ourselves at this quaint Italian restaurant up the road.

We had a nice dinner together and came back to our home to spend our first night.  I sat on the couch exhausted from my day when BW came over, kneeled between my legs and put his head on my lap.  He started rambling about something that I was half listening to but my attention was grabbed when I heard him say, "I don't ever want to live without you."  I laughed, and told him that's ridiculous, we have tattoos, we are never living without each other.  He told me that he had something for me, and when he went to dig in his pocket, fumbling around a few times, I had no clue what was about to happen.  He opened the box and he asked me to be his wife. 

And just like every other girl, I screamed "DID YOU ASK MY DAD???"

I almost re-wrote the title, "Love Story the Final Chapter." But I couldn't, it didn't sound right. This story is only a small chapter in my book. We will see other deployments, we will have more babies, we will go through ups and downs so the book will have more pages.  The chapter that followed this one has been one of the hardest.

As I type the last part of this love story, in this exact moment, my husband is stepping on to a plane that will bring him home to me.  I don't know what it will say, and I don't know what it'll be called, but I can not wait to read that next chapter.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Love Story Part 2

No love story would be complete without a little struggle, a little heartache, and some cray cray moments. 

We continued to 'date' but it was pretty sporadic. We would go out here and there with no real commitments no real feelings.  Notice the word 'date' is in quotes because I thought I was dating him....and he thought I was crazy.  He blew me off a lot, he cancelled plans a lot, he wouldn't text back, and he had a lot of excuses.  My feelings were hurt A LOT in the beginning, and I will take the blame for feeling this way. I had an expectation for someone who told me (constantly) that he wasn't looking for a relationship and wondered what was wrong with JUST being friends?  He hadn't gotten the memo yet that this usually isn't possible between a girl and a guy.  I really, really didn't want to lose him as a friend, I didn't want to lose that companionship so I sucked it up and spent Friday nights alone, stared at a phone with no messages and just waited for the next time he'd ask me out.  This might seem desperate but believe me when I tell you, I was 100% convinced with all of my soul that I was meant to be with this person, and I was NOT. GIVING. UP. I gave him his space....and waited.

When we'd go out I was treated like one of the guys. No feelings attached. I hated every second of it, but I dealt with it because I knew that if he was with me then he wasn't with anyone else.  I had lost my privilege to partake in 'guys night' the night I decided to go a little cray when he made a comment about another girl at the bar.  I thought maybe we had boundaries but the reality was, we didn't.  He made it very clear to me how he felt and like most girls, I lied and said that was fine...and inside I was hurt. I felt defeated and rejected.

This is the part in the story I go blank and perhaps that's because it was blank. This is the part in the story I wish BW would chime in. Maybe I can convince him to write a guest post, an explanation of sorts. I don't know what happened. It was like a light switch. The calls stopped. The texts stopped. Our encounters at work turned in to casual 'hellos' in the break room. I am going to tread lightly here, because to this day, this is hard to talk about and its hard for BW to listen to.  I vented to friends until I was blue in the face, and until they told me to get a grip and get over it. Days turned in to weeks and weeks turned in to months of very minimal communication between the two of us. My world just fell apart and I had no control over any of it.

Now I was living in North Carolina with no friends, no social life and no dating life....just in time for the holidays.  What better time to be alone then on Christmas? I know! Christmas Eve! I was sitting around with family at dinner time on Christmas Eve still obsessing over BW and what had happened. I had a good friend that followed me along this entire world wind of a journey and coached me through every moment.  On this particular night while I was throwing myself a red and green pity party, and drinking cherry vodkas I texted my friend some words of desperation.  She texted back simply, "text him and ask him if he wants to play with candy canes." What? What does that even mean? Mind you, I hadn't spoken to him in weeks, and if I texted him I'm almost positive he wouldn't have responded.  And playing with candy canes? Seems legit.  The text was sent.

He responded almost instantly. He must really like candy canes... or the whiskey in his hand.  He didn't even acknowledge the candy cane comment and just proceeded to ask me what I was doing and if I wanted to meet him and his roommate out. Then I fainted. The End.  Kidding. However, I did slightly panic, hurried to get ready and met him out.  I could have puked the entire ride there. I had no idea what to expect. We hadn't spoken a single word to each other in weeks...months. Maybe it was the holiday season that was giving him a softspot for blondes with a strange yankee accent.  Well whatever the reason was, I was IN! 

We spent Christmas Eve together as if we hadn't left each other's side and continued to see each other more often on days that followed.  Things still weren't serious and we never really discussed what had happened. All I knew is that I was back perched up on cloud 9, with a slight chip on my shoulder, and a heart of steel.  One afternoon I was at his apartment while the guys discussed an upcoming snowboarding trip. I have never in my life been on a ski slope, never mind wearing actually skis or a snowboard but one thing was for sure.. I HAD to be there.  I rented a board, boots, bought pants I couldn't afford and invited myself on that snowboarding trip. 

January 17, 2011. I don't forget it. You know why I don't forget it? It is the reason I am writing this story, it is the reason I have the love I do. This was the day I tagged along on a guys snowboarding trip.  This was the day I saw something different in his eyes. This was the day he looked at me from across the table and mouthed four words that changed my life forever...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Love Story Part 1

BW picks on me for my insanely accurate photographic memory. Recently for my new job I had to study for one of the most challenging  tests I had ever taken. My method of studying is to just stare at the pages until it sinks in. Yes, it's as insane as it sounds and yes, its what got me through college.  So, to me, these memories are like pictures. So I remember a little too much. I remember the weather. I remember what he was wearing. I remember what we ate. I remember EVERYTHING.

Without even turning around he said, "where do you want it?", and with that they lived happily ever after.  Now wouldn't THAT be a story!! I guess I should give you more of a story then that, and perhaps an explanation.

I moved to North Carolina in August of 2010.I had just moved away from everything. I packed up my life and went.  I spent a few months enjoying unemployment, enjoying long workouts, and just exploring my new sights.  In October I went through a staffing agency to find a job. I just needed something to 'get by', something to pay my student loans.  They placed me at a mortgage insurance company in the city.  It was perfect. I loved being downtown, I loved the 10 minute commute, and I loved the fresh start. 

I never intended on meeting anyone at work but as a single girl I couldn't help but take an extra look at guys I would meet.  Some girls like the typical southern guy, I'm not one of them.  Its possible to be TOO sweet, its possible for your jeans to be TOO tight and its possible for your pickup truck to be TOO big.  Its not my thing.  Like the start of any job comes a lot of tedious tasks. My computer needed to be set up, my phone needed to be hooked up, and passwords needed to be set.  I had come back from using the restroom when their was a guy standing in my cubicle plugging in my phone.  I could tell you right now, from head to toe, what he was wearing but I will spare those details.  Without even turning around he said, "where do you want it?"  He was holding a phone in his hand and as he turned around, I replied, "anywhere is fine."  Then I blacked out.  I kid I kid.  I told him I had to go to lunch and asked him if he needed me to be there while he did what he needed to.  He said no.  I left and called every friend I knew. 

I knew that I HAD to meet this guy.  This was ridiculous. He spoke three words to me and I was convinced I needed to meet him.  There was something about him that screamed I'M NOT A COWBOY. I'm kidding- well sort of.  I missed home.  I missed my friends. I missed the bar scene we were used to. I missed FUN.  There was something about this guy that said something different- I was sure that he'd be able to remind me of home.  I had no friends here. So I was determined to find a friend in him.

I don't suggest writing this down, or taking my advice on dating because this is NOT how to do it folks.  I had no idea how to even initiate conversation with him. So, I did what any sane, single, Boston girl would do... I made up phone problems.  Email Subject: "Hey Bobby, something is wrong with my phone, it won't work."   IM: "Hey, are you busy? My phone is doing something weird." Here is the thing about BW, he is a go-getter, an all or nothing kind of guy. So, instead of replying to my messages he would just SHOW UP at my desk.  This backfires when you ain't got no phone problems.  After some back and forth nonsense and a boring Friday of work IM chatting, he asked me out for drinks. This is the moment I praised the lord for the desk drawer full of makeup for those 'just in case a coworker asks you out' moments.  I met him downstairs.

It was just like any other first date.  A lot of getting to know you questions, some silence, more questions... We sat there for a few hours when BW told me he'd love to keep our night going but he had to head home to let his dog out. WHAT? LAMESAUCE.  (sidebar- now that I know and love that little sonofabitch dog, she most definitely had to be let out...she doesn't like to hold it).  He drove me back to my car, where we sat for a few minutes. .... he asked what I was doing the next night.  And like the most amazing dater, single girl, loser face on the planet I said, "eh, yah I'm probably busy." I know, I know. I panicked! I even went home and told my mom what happened and she confirmed I was a complete loser.  I spent my Saturday night alone.... punching myself in the face.

Sunday was a new day and I was going to redeem myself.  We texted a little back and forth through out the day.  I could tell he wasn't much of a texter and this was really going to make my redemption hard.  It became late in the afternoon and he mentioned he was going out for drinks with his roommate and asked if I wanted to join.  This is where I, again, made up some excuse as to why I couldn't go. Then after a little pep talk with myself and a quick reminder of why I was still single, I texted back and confirmed I'd be there. 

We enjoyed another night out together where we got to know each other, laughed, drank, la la la.  He was doing NOTHING to WOO me, nothing to impress me... he was just being himself.  I, on the otherhand, was on cloud nine to even be in his presence.  How lame does that sound? But it's true. And I'm now his wife, so I'm allowed to say that.  We headed back to his apartment to play cards with his roommates.  I will never, ever, ever forget our first kiss.  Ever. 

I also will never, ever forget the moment  when I got home and laid in bed and my eyes filled with tears, and as I closed my eyes, I knew without a shadow of a doubt I had just kissed my soul mate...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BFFs: Sh*t just got real.

Time changes friendships. Distance changes friendships. Babies change friendships. Marriage changes friendships. So, what happens when you mesh all those things together? Friendships change...a whole lot.

The last six days have been the hardest of this entire deployment; harder then the day he left, harder then Christmas, harder then Olivia's first steps. A news alert appeared on my IPad and I glanced over it. I saw the word, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back and look. All I knew was something happened in Afghanistan. This was the moment I realized I should have paid closer attention to when BW told me his exact location, but I did know this...it sounded familiar.  I am not completely naive to the news. I don't refuse to watch it in order to keep my mind clear. I do watch. I do want to know what's going on. I read the article. I read it once. I read it twice. I read it all. day. long.  The blasts, the bombings, the casualties were right where my soldier's boots stood. The blackout had started.

Blackouts typically occur when there are causalities. They cut all methods of communication to protect families from finding out things through here say. This all happens quickly, unexpectedly, and without warning. We don't get a call telling us there is a blackout. It just happens.  We are always told  'no news is good news.'  No military wife believes this and if she says so, she is lying. We may repeatedly tell ourselves this to make ourselves feel better for the moment, but when we have moments alone...moments to think, we are 'worst case scenario' thinkers. After about 3 days of blackout status I had heard that BW and all the soldiers in the 151st were ok. I didn't believe it. With every car door that slammed I waited for the uniformed officer to knock at my door. Again, 'worst case scenario' thinkers. I needed to hear his voice. I needed him to tell me he was okay. For six whole days, I did not know if my husband was dead or alive.

I don't blog for attention, I don't blog to invite ya'll to my pity party and I don't post on Facebook to get the most 'likes' or comments. I do it, well, because my friends are 100s of miles away, and this is how I 'talk' to them, this is how I tell my story.  I've said before, sometimes I write because I crave adult interaction. Sometimes I write because I have no one to talk to. I have one close friend in North Carolina, and last I checked...that's not alot. And I'm quite sure she's sick of hearing my stories. Friendships are hard. They are hard to find. They are even harder to keep.

I don't expect people to know everything, and I don't expect people to read between the lines. But as I lived these last few days, struggling to keep myself together, struggling to put one foot in front of the other, I wondered....where did all my friends go? Lives change. People change. I never imagined when I packed up to move 3 years ago, that I'd be leaving so much behind, and potentially giving up all the friendships I worked so hard to create. I do realize there are different kinds of friendships. For instance, one of my best friends is someone I've never physically met but remembers important details I tell her. One friend is raising an autistic son, and is a kick ass Mom who doesn't have time to pee alone but has a moment to tell me to 'hang in there' when things are tough.  One friend lives 1000s of miles away in another country and hasn't left my side in 25 years... One friend emails me everyday just to check in.  There are so many different friendships that work in different ways. But a friendship isn't a 'like' on Facebook. It takes effort. And where the hell did those friends go? Like any other relationship in life, friendships are a give and take. There are only so many times I can text and get no response...or call and get no call back...Here's the thing, if you're worried or 'not sure' if what I'm saying is about you, then it probably is. If you can lay your head down at night and know you're a good friend, then you probably are. But if you're second guessing yourself as you read this...then you have your answer. I want to be a good friend, I want someone to tell me when I'm not being a good friend. So, here I am telling YOU now.... This past year has been the hardest, craziest, stressful, emotional, roller coaster of a ride, and where were you? And if this is 'payback' for something I didn't do for you, then tell me. I want to fix it. Friendships aren't supposed to be vindictive. they are supposed to be supportive.

BW asked me a year ago, who my best friend was. I, being the girl that I am, responded with a childhood friend's name.  He yelled, "TRICK QUESTION, you're supposed to say me!!!"  I was so confused by this. Huh? My best friend has ALWAYS been her and I never imagined life any other way.  His feelings were hurt as he told me that I was his best friend.  Looking back, I get it. He's the person that has never left my side, who picks me up at my lowest points, and who shares in my happiness and my disappointments.

BW finally called today, and I heard his voice. I can't wait for him to come home, because right now, I need a friend....my best friend. BFFs

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ultimate sacrifice.

I am often asked if when BW gets home he is 'back for good' or 'done.' In the military there is no such thing as 'done.'  We are never sure when he's coming and when he's going. Our lives will never be stable; they will never be certain.

When I first met BW he just got home from serving in Iraq. I didn't know what the meant. I never thought he'd be going back, I never imagined being an Army wife, and I certainly didn't understand the sacrifice it took to live this life. All I knew was that he had 'drill' one weekend a month, and for a while I was convinced it was just an excuse to not call me.  As time went on, and our relationship progressed, he was due for re-enlistment. At this time, he was still in school and we knew financially it was important he re-enlist so they would cover tuition costs. We also knew, that with this re-enlistment and promotion, would come a deployment; an earlier one at that. It was a long, back and forth discussion, and in the end the papers were signed.  I had just found out I was pregnant.

When he returns back from Afghanistan in the next few months he is up again for another re enlistment.  During this deployment we've had many discussions about what he should do. Things are different now. He has a family, sacrifices are bigger, and the stakes are higher. I know this. I understand this. We, by no means, live the life of an active duty soldier. We don't live on base, our lives aren't completely dictated by the Army, and I don't get a free membership to the Y. However, my husband deploys, he will forever be gone one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year... He asks if he should re enlist,  I tell him casually, "it's up to you, do what you want to do."  Could I handle another deployment? Probably not...but I would. Will it probably be me and TWO kids next time? Probably...but I refuse to put my family on hold. When you take all of the risk, loneliness, and fear out of a deployment you are left with one thing. Sacrifice. To me, this is just a sacrifice; a give and take, something that is part of every relationship. When BW talks Army, he means it. I can hear it in his voice. It's a passion, a calling, and it's not for everyone. As much as this is OUR decision, it is also what gives him purpose, and what drives him forward. Who am I to say no?

There was a running joke when BW and I started dating. We never looked at our watches. We never wanted to know what time it was. Our conversations were so captivating, and our time together was so precious to the both of us, we never wanted to part ways.  On our second date, BW asked me what I wanted in life; what was my ultimate goal. I told him I wanted to be a Mom.  Disclaimer: I don't recommend telling a guy that on the second date. But it was true, and I felt comfortable telling him that. We eventually talked about starting a family, and I knew that ultimately this would be a sacrifice he was making for me. I don't think he was against it, and I don't think he regrets it, but I'm going to go ahead and assume he didn't imagine things happening so quickly. I don't feel as though I am forever indebted to him for giving me the gift of motherhood but I do think I owe it to him to follow him on his journey too.  When it's just Olivia and I, and I peek back at her in the car, I can't help but smile. I know BW would give anything to be here with his family, and to watch his little girl grow. But there is something else I know. He loves what he's doing...and when I look at Olivia each and every day, I think... I love what I'm doing too.

Robert, as we come so so so close to the end of deployment my heart explodes for how proud I am of you. You have taken care of Olivia and I every step of the way and have gone SO above and beyond to make sure we are more then okay.  Being apart for the last year has been the hardest, most trying thing I have ever experienced in this lifetime. Not having you here with me during Olivia's first year has broken my heart each and every day. But guess what? We made it. You are my heart and soul, my love, my forever and a day....

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baby Mama Money

This might just be a random post. Maybe a post about nothing. Maybe a post about diaper rash. Sometimes I think I write just to have adult interaction. Although, this isn't a back and forth conversation, a banter of some sorts, but it is a step away from the animal sounds, and "NO, that's CA-CA" I find myself saying more often then a somewhat normal person should.

First and foremost, we made it safe and sound back to North Carolina. Secondly, I am not about to take credit for something I did not do. I did NOT drive the 10 hours back home. I owe all that to my Dad. However, I did stay awake for the entire trip. Olivia did great. She slept the whole time, only waking each time we got gas, then quickly falling back asleep. However, when we did arrive at 5 am she was all jazzed up and ready to play. And DANG is it cold here! I forgot that part. After a quick stint of running around like a maniac, playing with her toys, and ripping things from the shelves, she was down for a nap. I, on the other hand, had to be at a job interview in 3 hours. Did I forget to mention that part?

One of the most difficult things I faced during this deployment was letting go of my financial independence. I have worked from the day I was able to say, "Cream and Sugar?"  I loved working. I STILL love working. I love the paycheck, the feeling of accomplishment, and having something to call my own. We made the decision before BW left that I wouldn't work, and with that came a lot of sacrifice. I remember crying on the phone to BW asking, "who is going to pay my cell phone bill?" It just didn't seem right. Why should he have to pay for my Starbucks addiction? Why should he have to fill my gas tank? And he wondered, why SHOULDN'T he? This was his job, and something he took great pride in; being able to support his family. This is something I'm still not comfortable with and laugh every time I see money in my account labeled "Baby Mama Money, go buy something nice"....and then I go buy diapers, wipes, and baby clothes. Doesn't he know how a Mama's mind works?

From the moment BW deployed I set goals for myself. All sorts of goals; physical, mental, spiritual and just plain goals. I wanted to accomplish certain things by the time he came home. I was determined to get a job, put Miss O in daycare and settle in to a routine. I feared BW coming home to a house full of messy toys, a disheveled mess of a wife, and a baby who hadn't gained any sense of routine or structure. As humans, we all seek structure and routine and thrive in environments that provide us with that. I wanted BW to come home to a well kept house, a hard working wife, and a baby that played well with others. This was something I NEEDED to accomplish; and if not, I failed. I had 10 + months to get this together. If there is something my soldier deserves, its to come home, kick his feet up and just sit.

After being awake for nearly 48 hours, I dusted off my 'interview clothes' (this is a lie, they were brand new. HE TOLD ME TO BUY SOMETHING NICE!), and headed out the door. This was one of the most challenging interviews I had ever been on. Either that or my mind just wasn't right and I couldn't formulate responses. Articulation is a skill, and I do believe its something you can lose if not used often (ie animal noises, and baby talk). I sat in this interview for over an hour answering an array of questions. I'm never one to take these things too seriously. I laugh. I joke. I'm sarcastic. It's the way of my world. I like to think of an interview as a friendly conversation between two people, and one person holds the fate of the other in their hands, and has the potential to make or break their day. NO PRESSURE.  Side note- before the interviewer came into the room I was stuck in my jacket. STUCK IN MY JACKET. I thought about just going through the interview wearing a huge puffer jacket. Then decided my shirt was too expensive not to show off, so it would be best if I stepped out of my jacket. I probably would have nailed the interview if he walked in mid-step out, because lord knows that's a skill we all need to succeed. Long story short, the interview ended with a job offer...and mama walked out the door with a smile on her face, jump in her step, and a knot in my stomach...oh, daycare. Crap.

I will not go in to any sort of a rant about why I'm not cut out for this stay at home mom gig. Sometimes my reasons seem offensive, or come out the wrong way, or just make me sound like some baby hating, devil of a woman.  Don't get me wrong, the LAST thing I want to do is take Miss O out of her home for 10 hours a day and stick her in some germ invested room where some brat is going to rip her hair bow out. I don't want that. What I do want is my sanity back and a reason to put pants on that aren't 100% cotton. Again, the stay at home mom thing is not something I will talk about... but for real, super BIG high fives for the women that do it...and super BIG bottles of wine for the women that LOVE doing it. See, there are two different kinds of womens.

The first week being in our home has been hard. There is no denying that. I cried. I cried a lot. In my defense, the second day I was here I got a terrible case of food poisoning and Miss O was left to take care of herself. This is when I praise the Disney Junior Gods.  We are finally getting in to the swing of things, and we look forward to the changes ahead. We both will have to do lots of adjusting, we will have good days, we will have bad days. Each day that passes is one day closer to our soldier's homecoming. I am so proud of him, but he doesn't hesitate to tell me 100 times a day how proud I make him.

For months I had been eying a particular dress for Miss O, a dress she would wear for his homecoming. A dress I couldn't fathom spending HIS hard earned money to buy her that she will wear once. Not to mention its ridiculously priced, and ridiculously obnoxious. Only something a girl would understand.

...now Mama gets to buy her that dress.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Home Sweet Home

In exactly one week from today my car will be packed, Olivia will be snoozin (hopefully) in the backseat, and we will be on our 10 hour 'adventure' back to North Carolina. Now let's all have a moment of silence, and pray.

When BW started leaving on and off for trainings, I began to get a feel for what it would be like doing it on my own. I worked from home, while caring for an infant and experiencing a roller coaster of emotions because my husband was constantly in and out the door.We were always washing his uniform, always packing his bags, always saying goodbye. There would be no end to this until Spring of 2013, for which, I saw no end in sight. Our phone calls were filled with (my) tears, anxieties, and exhaustion. He begged me to do something, pleaded with me to make a decision. Was I going to stay? Or was I going to go? I felt if I went I was giving up; that I was already saying I couldn't do it. I was weeks away from a significant pay raise at work. I'd be leaving our home, Olivia's freshly painted nursery. I'd be leaving everything BW and I created before he left. It would just sit there, untouched. On the flip side, I thought of dealing with Olivia's first fever alone, her first real sickness, her first words, her tantrums. She wasn't the easiest baby, and he knew that. He reassured me it wasn't giving up, and left the decision up to me. I did not want to do this alone.  The decision was made.

Shortly after I settled in with my parents, I left to visit BW in El Paso before he left for Afghanistan. There is nothing comparable to the moment in which we said our 'goodbyes.' When my Dad picked me up from the airport he asked how it went. "I just can't stop crying." ...and I cried, and cried. At this point I knew. I knew it wasn't about 'doing it alone,' because I could very well do it, but the enormity of the situation and what I was about to experience was something bigger then I was. It wasn't about late night fevers, or temper tantrums; it was about weeks without phone calls, sleepless nights, fear, danger, and that other 'D' word we don't talk about. It was about War. My husband was at War. I always will have 'what-if' moments about all of this. I will always wonder if I should have done things differently. It isn't rocket science that two incomes are better then one. However, I've been blessed and rewarded with the opportunity to witness all of Olivia's FIRSTS, teach her, watch her grow, and sit on the floor with her and just PLAY. We get to play all day. I'm lucky like that.

I am forever grateful for what my Mom has done for me. Three days after I had O, BW left for a few days. My Mom came to help. These were unbelievable moments, and I am so grateful to of had them. She never wanted to step on my toes, she simply wanted to just 'be there.' She never wanted to impose, but always had her bags packed in case I needed her to stay. She never said she was tired; she let me sleep in. She never complained about late night feedings; she did them all. I would call her, and simply not have the words to speak, but the crying in the background would tell her to get in her car. I am forever thankful for the solo trips to Target, the worry-free showers, and the opportunities to just breathe. She has taught me so much, guided me every step of the way and has given me the confidence to be the best Mom I can be.

I get very emotional as I begin to think about the time Olivia has had with my Dad. Those two had a rocky start. As I've said before, Olivia is sensitive to male voices, and her Poppy's was no exception. It took weeks for her to warm up to him. Their relationship makes my heart explode. It's like taking a glimpse into my childhood. The way he makes her laugh, the goofy things he does, the love in his eyes... I know all those things. I had all those things too. I asked him one night if being a grandparent is everything he imagined, "It's better. It's more then I could have ever imagined." He will take it the hardest when we leave. I can't even begin to think of what his tears will do to me. Their relationship is special. She loves her 'pa pa' ...and that pony he's going to buy her.

I have bittersweet feelings about going back. By being here, at my parents, I've been able to escape some of the reality of the situation. My room here is only full of a few suitcases full of stuff. Even when BW had given me some of his stuff  in El Paso, I shipped that stuff home ASAP. I really didn't want any of his stuff here. It made things easier. Before I left our house I made sure all of his stuff was put away. I didn't want anything hanging around. Nothing. Nada. Now its time to face that stuff  head on. I want Olivia to go play in his closet (don't ask), I want to display our photos, I want to watch cartoons with O in Mommy and Daddy's room, and I want her to REALLY know and feel that he is coming home.

I am not allowed to give specific dates but I spoke to BW today and he ended our conversation by saying, "See you in X Months!".... for the first time since he left, I had goosebumps. The good kind. We are so close. SO CLOSE.