Friday, November 05, 2010

How Nerdy

My boys went to a school dance tonight. I am getting ready to go pick them up!! Here is a picture of them before the dance!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flowing forward

Things are still unsettled here. Forward motion is the name of the game. Mike should be home for R&R in less than 30 days. This makes me happy beyong measure.
The kids and I are going to visit my mother-in-law next weekend. It's been a while and I am looking forward to being in her presence.
My friendships with others continue to change. I lost a friend earlier this month to me being completely honest with her about something that I don't easily share with others. It hurts me that she would abandon me when I was only trying to be forthcoming. At the same time, I am glad that she was able to express her feelings and do what she felt was right for herself. The part that hurts the most was that I have listened to her and not judged her for her choices or the things she has shared with me and she couldn't give me that same unconditional friendship back. Something else that bothers me is that I don't think it's what I shared that drove her away. I think I hit too close to something that is hurting inside her and she can't bear to face it right now. I will write her back and tell her how I am feeling. And that the friendship is always there if she chooses to come back.
Aside from all of the above, I am doing well in school, working 2 days a week and subbing alot on my days 'off'. The kids keep me busy and I find things to fill any free time so as not to dwell on the bad. It's working for now, though I do know that I need to do some work with the bad to make is good.
(The pics above were taken at Stone Mill Spring. Click on them to see them larger.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can't Sleep

I don't have nights like this very often. I went to bed an hour ago, hoping for sleep. Instead, I cried and tossed and sobbed and turned. My heart feels so heavy today. I know part of it is hormones. A bigger part of it is missing my Mom. The other part is not having my husband near to hold me.

I think we all take for granted the power of physical touch. When children are born, we are encouraged to snuggle them. I've always been fascinated how kangaroo care for premature babies is so beneficial. We are encouraged to massage our babies and hug our children. We can see how close someone is when they touch another's arm during a converstaion, began and end a visit with a hug.

Living the military life for the past 17 years, I've not had much opportunity to be close in proximity to my family. I've gone to visit as often as I can and they come to visit us as well. I often wonder how my life, our lives, would be different if we lived closer to family.

Mike has been in Afghanistan for four months now. I visited my family in Louisiana for a weekend in June when my brother got married. We also visited Mike's Mom in June. Since then, it's just been me and the kids.

The biggest thing I'm struggling with right now is feeling safe with my emotions. My Mom was always a source of comfort for me. Ever since I left for the Army, at 18 years old, I spoke to my Mom as often as I could. Almost always daily, sometimes multiple times a day. The thing I miss most is being able to pick up the phone and reach her when I need her. There have been so many times when I've grabbed my phone to call and remembered that she isn't there.

I think the best way to describe how I felt after she passed away was untethered. I feel like my Mom and my husband are my anchors. Without her, I feel like I'm floating. Mike being deployed only 5 months later didn't help. There have been so many times when I've just wanted, needed, to be held and I don't have that luxury. My fear is the next time I see him, and I am in his arms, I will just fall apart.

I feel like everyone expects me to be so strong and so many things they tell me that I am. It's hard to live up to those expectations. So how do I go to those people and tell them that I'm breaking? It hurts that there is no one here to help catch me when I fall.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


There has been lots of heavy stuff posted here since I've been posting again. Really, it's why I am posting; because I am carrying alot of heaviness right now and this is a safe place for me to write about it.

I got a call yesterday from my Step-dad. He checks in pretty regularly. He asked how we were and when would Mike be coming home on R&R. I told him sometime around Nov. He replied "Mine is never coming back" and just started to cry. I feel so much hurt for him. I can't imagine the pain he is feeling. I just replied that we all miss her and it's so different without her. He said a few more things that just confirm what he is struggling with. I pray for peace for him.

On a lighter note, I took the kids to a nearby state park today. I had heard of the place a few times before and decided we would go check it out. The pics above were all taken today at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. It is a beautiful place and I can't wait to go back and explore more trails there. I think this will be a beautiful place to go this fall with the kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sadness and Heavyness

(click on image to see it larger)

I have so many emotions going through my head and heart this morning.
My Mother-in Law called me last night. Her health is at a pretty low point. She moved to Tennessee in June last year and switched all her health care providers at that time. She has had nothing but complication after complication since then.

She has been down and pretty sick since Dec. When she called last night, it was to let me know that she is going into the hospital today. She will have exploritory surgery to see what is going on in her abdomin. She has been a peritoneal dialysis patient for 17 years. They are also going to do a blood transfusion. This will be the second since she lives in Tennessee. Also, only the second, EVER! She is pretty upset about it.

I am scared. I am scared of losing her. I love my mother-in law more that most people do. She is a very special woman and I cherish and honor her. I am also scared for my husband. He grew up as an only child with a single mother. Besides the kids and me, she is his world. To think he is feeling all the emotions I felt when my own Mom was so sick last year.. and to know he is doing that alone in Afghanistan, breaks my heart.

The other piece of what's rolling around my brain.. and heart... is that I am losing two close friends to military moves. One is my friend Wendy. She has been back and forth with jobs for a bit now, but it's getting to the point of her leaving for good. I know we can still have a long distance friendship, but it's not the same.
This morning, my neighbor, whom I've known for about a year, let me know that she and the kids are moving back home as she got a job offer there. Her husband will still be here for at least another year, so we should get to see them about once a month. I really enjoy her company and the kids play really well together. It just hurts to have to say good-bye again. It seems like I am experiencing alot of 'ends' lately.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the Grind

The kids went back to school today! It's so hard to believe that I have a 4th, a 6th and an eight grader! This also means that I am back to work. I am curently working two days a week as the Elementary Guidance Counselor. I am also going to school full time to earn my Masters degree in both elementary counseling and agency counseling. I really love being in the school system and working with the kids. I am doing the agency part because it makes me more marketable, and with only 3 extra classes, it would be silly to not just do it. This means that I am driving an hour and half each way, three nights a week, to go to college.

Today, after school, both of my boys asked to do sports after school. I feel horrible that I can't provide transportation for them because of my own schedule. With Mike currently deployed, there isn't much wiggle room. I know it will all work it. I just feel bad, like I'm hindering them for my own selfish reasons.

I guess I need to just deal with the fact that this is the way it will be. I am going to try to find another parent that may be able to help with transportation.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Mike and I got married in March of 1998. In July of the same year, we moved from Ft Polk, LA to Ft Bragg, NC. In August of 1998, I went online to look for a playgroup and other forms of contact in the area. I stumbled upon a message board for pregnant women. At the time, I was due in November. I joined the group and although that message board went down, the women went in various directions. Some disappeared completely, some moved on to another message board and others created an email list. I joined both the list and the message board. This month makes 12 years that we have been in contact. Twelve years of varied mothering experiences. We have seen each other through the births of more children, potty training, divorces, marriages, graduations, and losses.

To someone who has never experienced this type of friendship, it can be hard to comprehend the closeness you can feel for someone you have never met in person. When you have known someone for that long, shared so many of lives ups and downs, it's easy to overlook the fact that you've never seen each other in person. Indeed, I have met quite a few of these women face to face.I've made some wonderfully close friends as result of this group of women, one of whom was by my side in Dec when we laid my Mom to rest.

On Monday morning, one of the moms from the email list posted that she had been offline for a couple of months, but was excited that they had their internet back. Being the mother of four sons, she was due to have a baby, a daughter! She let us know that she was going in the next day for a c-section and would post details as soon as she could. Upon opening my email on Wednesday morning, I learned, we all learned, that after giving birth to her beautiful, healthy daughter, our friend passed away. To say we are devastated is an understatement.

The list had been somewhat quite in recent months. We are all busy with our lives and comfortable in the bonds we have formed, enough to know that our silence did not hinder our acceptance and love for one another. Upon hearing of the loss of our friend, we have rallied. We are in the process of taking collections to provide her sons with their school supplies and uniforms. While a recent baby shower ensured that the baby had the things she needs now, we are standing in wait to help with any needs they may have once things resume a more normal cadence in the life of this family.

It's been quite sombering to look at life, to see how fragile it is. It has made us all stop to wonder how would our own families cope if something were to happen to any one of us. How would our children go on, how would our spouses fair. It's not something any of us want to think about, but the truth is, it is always a possiblity.

I don't have any wise words to say. I'm still in shock at the way things have turned out. On the heels of my last post about loss, this was the last thing I expected to happen. I guess my thought right now is that I'm thankful for the richness that these Moms of Nov98ers have all brought into my life. I've learned so much more about life, families, children and love from the shared experience of their stories. I could only wish that if my family found themselves without me, that they would also feel the love of these amazing friends that I have, inside this shiny box.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Loss

Every loss seems so much more profound. Every change makes me cringe. I know I am changing as a person, both as a result of my life experiences and as a result of my mom’s death. It is still hard to believe, 8 months later, that she is gone.

I think of this deployment and what it means in relation to Mom’s death. I’ve express this to a few people, but feel putting here, in words, is important as well.
We moved to Missouri in April 2002. Mike went on the trail as a drill sergeant. The hours were brutal, 4am-9pm. Sometimes he had to be in earlier; sometimes he didn’t come home until later. 6-7 days a week was the norm. He did this for three years. I got by with this by realizing that if I didn’t expect him to be home, I wouldn’t get upset when he wasn’t. If I didn’t count on him being there, I didn’t get angry when he wasn’t. The bonus to this was that when he was able to home, it was unexpected and thrilling.

After three years on the trail, Mike went to work in a more traditional job setting. It was nice having him home before dark. It was amazing to be able to have family time on the weekends. Then, he got orders for Korea. That is when I started the blog. He was only supposed to be in Korea for a year, then come back home to us in Missouri. Somewhere along the way, 4 months into his tour in Korea, he came down on orders again. This time, his unit was moving to Hawaii. He called me, asking if we wanted to move to Hawaii. The catch was he would be deployed at some point, though he didn’t know how soon. A turn of events led to the kids and I staying put in Missouri while he went from Korea directly to Iraq. The 12 month tour there turned into 15 months. He then had to go to Hawaii for a month before coming back home to us. That meant he was gone for 20 months total.

During that time, while he was in Iraq, I don’t know when, but somewhere, somehow, I convinced myself that he wasn’t coming home. Every time we video called, or spoke on the phone, I just knew it would be the last time we would communicate. When he was finally back in my arms, first as I greeted him in Hawaii, then again when he was safely home, with me and the kids, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe he had actually come back. It took me six months to re-acclimate to life with my husband.
I lost my Mom in December 2009. It’s been 8 months. Although I was there with her when she passed, it is still hard to believe that I can’t just pick up the phone and call her. My phone rang today, and the caller id read her name. It’s hard to see that and not think it’s her.

We found out shortly after her death that Mike would be PCSing to Ft Campbell. From there, we discovered that they were slated to deploy in May. Again, the kids and I chose to stay where we are. I am in graduate school and we wouldn’t be together even if the kids and I relocated. We have more ties here, so decided to stay put.
April was an extremely rough month for me. I realized that the manner in which I’ve dealt with Mike’s absences in the past is no longer effective. I can’t think that he won’t come back. Losing Mom makes it all ache. I feel un-tethered. She and Mike are the two people in my life who have always grounded me. I have always spoken to my Mom on a daily basis. Not more than a week had ever passed without a conversation with her.

To go back to my original way of dealing with Mike’s deployment is no longer an option. I can’t imagine my life without him in it. I had to go back and figure out how to live without his daily presence and still believe that he will return to me. I am still working it all out in my head, because the reality is he could be taken whether here or there, our lives are all fragile.

I sit here replaying the last week with a friend in my head. We had a disagreement last week. She called tonight, and we spoke for the first time since that night a week ago. I realized that I had been holding my breath. She just got out of the military and is moving on to a new stage in her life. It feels like I’m losing another part of me. It is hard to not look at the situation and feel the loss of it all. I feel I have lost a lot of friends and closeness in my life in the last few years. I can’t stand to lose another.

I’m not sure where this is going. I guess I just needed to get it all out of my head and into some other form of thought. It keeps working its way up to the top, trying to make its presence known. I guess I just felt it is time to acknowledge it and put it out there.