August 31, 2013

A Year of Surviving

If your husband, wife, or significant other had to leave for a year, what would you do?  And you don't get a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' Card.  You have to put on your big girl panties.  Even if you don't want to wear your big girl panties or if you think that you aren't built to fit into the ginormous bloomers, they are strapped on with a pair of suspenders.
I can tell you, now that I'm on the tail end of this deployment adventure, at the beginning you make plans.  Even before 'they' leave.  I made plans in my head.  I wrote plans down in a journal and in my phone.  I made plans to exercise.  I made plans to take more adventures with the kids.  I made plans to experiment with new healthy recipes.  I made plans to go back to school.  I made plans to have fun and to enjoy myself the best I can.  I made plans to dye my hair a fun, unnatural color.  I made plans to try and forget that one side of our bed would remain cold for a year.
Then, before I could even start acting upon my plans, my plans were set ablaze.  I should've known.  "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry".  So then I modified all the plans written down.  Maybe I will try to exercise, but I probably won't turn into the bikini model I had planned for the future...that'll have to wait.  And maybe I won't be able to spend all summer in Destin with the kids, but I can watch them in the pool from the sliding glass door in the A/C.  As far as healthy recipes go, peanut butter and banana sandwiches are a form of health food, correct?  School is still very doable.  I won't quite scratch that one off yet.  Having fun may just get limited to weekend slumber parties with the kids on the living room floor.  And maybe I won't get awesome blue tipped hair, but the silver color at my roots is coming in nicely.  I wonder how far I can spread out in the star position and take up the entire bed on my own?
The dreaded day comes and goes.  Time to start a new phase of life.  A very foreign way of living.  For me, I immediately came home and cleaned out the fridge.  Because that seemed like a very sane thing to do.  I dropped my husband off to fly half way across the world for a year, drove four hours home bawling my eyes out to Taylor Swift the entire way, and walked into the house only to start throwing food away and bleaching glass shelves.  I realized the minute I pulled into the driveway plans were a good way to occupy the mind from the undesirable, but the only way to get through it was to simply survive.
We've gone through every important holiday once through, living separate, starting with Halloween.  I stayed up the night before, way too late, sewing ruffles on a petticoat.  If he was home, I would get scolded for not going to bed.  There wasn't anyone to make me go to bed.  Lesson #1 of the year learned just a few days in, my husband helps me have a sensible bedtime.  I stay up doing irrelevant stupid crap, and next thing I know it's 2AM.
I have a year under my belt full of not-so-extravagant memories (well, other than that whole having a baby thing).  Many nights of sitting on the floor next to the couch while my daughter practiced braiding my hair.  Overhearing arguments on which flavor the kids want to sprinkle on their popcorn.  I potty-trained a toddler and got her to give up her blanket sucking habit.  I watched the same little girl squeal with glee as she rode her first "bike" through the house, because I couldn't harsh her reality and reserve the bike as an outside toy when it made her so happy.  I did car repairs, 6 months pregnant, in the driveway with my husband helping me via Facetime.  I hugged a little girl with a tear stained face and promised her she wasn't the worst daughter in the world.  Lots of colds to medicate, lots of booboos needing kisses.
Dishes have sat in the sink overnight and my living room rug has been covered in Angry Birds stickers for weeks.  It's not a glamorous life, but I survived.  I didn't need a superpower to get through it.  The only power I have is love for my husband and our family.
This journey is almost over.  I'll probably clean out my fridge again before I pick him up at the airport for old times sake.