SO much has happened since I last wrote. I don’t even know where to begin.
I got back from Hawaii and hit the ground running. Mom and Tootie were here with the kids and wanted to spend Saturday in Branson. I was exhausted from traveling, but knew that I only had one day with them before they headed back to Louisiana. We got up Saturday morning and went to post. Shawn, the guy my sister works for, wanted to see the base since he had never been to an Army installation. We took him to the outdoor weapons museum where he got to see all types of tanks and military vehicles. Once we were done there, we headed out the Springfield. We had lunch at Olive Garden before heading to the Bodies Exhibition. The kids were thoroughly enthralled by the experience. I was somewhat afraid that it would be too much for them to handle, but all three of these did great. Matthew was fascinated and even commented that he thought it would be cool if his entire class got to go as a field trip. After the Exhibition, we did a little shopping at the outlets. My kids really like Sketchers shoes and we managed to spend a nice chunk of money in their store. I also hit the Gap and The Disney Store. Our final stop for the night was The Shogun for more food. This is a Japanese restaurant where the food is prepared at your table. The kids love the show they get, I love the food! J We headed home after dinner, arriving here after 10. Sunday morning my family headed back home. The kids and I were left to get things together for the week ahead. I had been out of town for a week and had a lot to catch up on.
Upon my return from Hawaii, we had three weeks until Mike’s return. The kids were beside themselves with excitement. It had been 10 months since they had sent their Dad.
I think the thing that has floored me the most has been the realization of all the things I’ve done in Mike’s absence. All the things I had to do to get by. I think I went into a survival mode. I got a lot accomplished in the 20 months he was deployed. In the house alone, I pulled the carpet from the boys rooms and had hardwood installed, I helped with a remodel on the boys bathroom, I pulled carpet from the family room to ready it for new carpet then converted said room into a master bedroom for us. I replaced our bed, upgrading from a queen to a California king, because honestly, a man should be able to sleep in his bed without his feet hanging off! I had the windshield on the truck replaced as well as ordered new wheels and tires for the truck (which ended up being a nightmare that spanned 3 months). I finished my Bachelors degree. I also held a full time job while still being a sole parent to our children.
People would ask me how I did it all, and honestly, I just thought they were being nice. I don’t feel that I did anything above and beyond what my fellow Army spouse friends do. We do what we have to do to get through. We hold down the fort and we get through the day. We long for the next time we can log in and see our loved one. The next time the phone rings and it might be him on the other line. Those are the moments I lived for.
With his return, I expected him to have some issues re-incorporating to our schedule. His re-entry has been flawless. He has picked up the ball when I’ve needed him to. The kids have not missed a beat in being with him. It’s been nearly seamless. I have had the issues. I have had moments where I’ve laid on the bed and just balled. Maybe it’s relief. Relief that I’m not alone and I don’t have to be. Relief that he is home, he is really truly home. There was honestly a time where I doubted if we would see him again. It was a very real possibility that we could lose him at any time while he was over there. The fact that he is home and whole is amazing to me.
Upon reflection, I think the thing that I’ve had the hardest time coming to terms with is that I don’t have to do it all. I don’t have to be superwoman. I don’t have to carry it all. He is here for me to share the burden. I’ve gone through a lot of personal change while Mike was gone. I’ve done a lot of work in my head. It’s all things that I knew I needed to work out, but was afraid. I think that the fact that I had to time to go through the emotions in my head and experience what they meant without having to explain what I was going through to a partner I saw daily made a big difference. I did share those thoughts and experienced with Mike, but it was at my pace. I do think I could have done the same thing with him here. But having that time to work through it alone really helped the process.
There is so much more I want to say. There is so much more bouncing around in my head. It will have to wait until another day as I’m tired and this post is already too long. I just wanted to get something up. Hopefully, this will motivate me to post more…