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.