Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moments passed

Moments here. Moments there. In the most literal of terms, all of those moments happen, regardless of whether we're there for them or not. Moments of joy, frustration, content, angst, pain, pleasure. No matter whether we're participating or not, they're happening. That's terribly unsettling.

In my little world, all of those moments matter. They may not be a BIG deal, but they're a deal nonetheless. When I miss a moment that is not congruent with my universe, it's frustrating. And then, throughout Army life, where because of TDY's or deployments, we're nearly required to miss moments. I don't know that is something I'll ever get used to.

On Sunday night, Romeo was in an accident. I got the phone call at about 10:30pm, and from that point on, felt nothing but helpless. What a feeling. All I could do was think and pray. Hug a pillow. Cry and wait for the next phone call. He was fine, thank God, but the thought of not being there to go to the hospital, and the thought of him being alone was devastating. I know he's a grown man, and of course he was going to be fine, but that is part of my wife-ly duties! I'm supposed to be there to shower sympathy and support. It is possible, but it's really difficult to be a great nurse from 1500 miles away. I officially felt worthy of the worst-wife-ever award, and there wasn't a single thing I could do about it.

I guess the feelings that event provoked are ones to get used to. In this lifestyle, it's more likely that we'll be apart than we'll be together, and missing moments in each other's lives is common. Yes, it's what we all signed up for, but that's not a crutch I feel comfortable leaning on. How do we, when separated by miles and continents and oceans, still be as much of a wife as the woman who sees her husband every night and can make him chicken soup when he's sick? Every time Romeo has ever gotten hurt, I wasn't there. I wasn't there to go to the hospital or doctor's appointments. I wasn't there to make his life any easier. Isn't that part of our end of the deal?

Of course Romeo understands why I am not there, neither one of us has any control over the circumstances that the Army has dealt. I believe that my mind can rationalize why I couldn't be there, but my heart just hurts. It feels like I'm not doing enough, like I should be leaping and bounding my way to an airport to get to him, because that's my job. I'm learning slowly that being a milspouse is so much more than endurance. It is so much more than waiting out a deployment. It's so much more than sacrifice. I'm learning that it is the complete opposite of your every expectation, of yourself and your GI Joe. When Romeo and I were married, I was hell-bent on being the Stepford Wife of the year. I expected myself to keep a lovely home, make amazing meals, balance lives and schedules, keep it all together, and most of all, be there. No matter what. Well, my house is clean, but far from "lovely". The most amazing meal that I've made in the past few months is the stack of pancakes I made the other night. My life, and my schedule is a trainwreck, and now, I'm not there. I'm not saying that I am unhappy or disappointed in myself, because there has been a lot of things that I never thought I could do, but I can honestly say that I have become the complete opposite of my expectations. I'm no Stepford Wife. At this point, I'm closer to Bob the Builder.

So how do we get used to those moments passed? We vowed to be there "for better and worse", so how do we keep up our end of the bargain? Pictures? Letters? Emails? Conversations? Or do we just let them pass? This doesn't just go for you and your spouse's moments, this goes for family at home, or friends that have moved away. How do we continue to be the best wife/daughter/sister/friend from a distance?
How do we stay a part of someone's life when we miss so many moments passed?

It's a little late, but here's the weekend re-cap

I must preface this with saying that I had an AWESOME weekend. It was busy busy busy and just enough to keep my mind off of my countdowns. I spent time with some wonderful friends (even met a new one!), raced my little heart out, and even got some things done around the house.

On Friday, I was so excited to be taking a mini-roadtrip with J to Myrtle Beach to pick up our race packets and visit the fitness expo (and shop and carb-load). Well, in a not-so-favorable turn of events, work detained me (surprise, surprise) and I was unable to go. Luckily, J and her hubs M were able to head down and pick up both of our race packets (not without some coercing of the race coordinators, of course). After I FINALLY got done with my work-nonsense, I made plans with some other friends to head down-town for the local zombie-walk. I picked up M, and cut through base to get to my house. *Insert flashing lights and sirens here* ...and got pulled over by an MP. Eek. Sometimes, I feel like that is so much worse than being stopped by a regular police officer, only because the repercussions fall back on Romeo. Luckily, there was no ticket issued and we were on our way. We went down-town for the zombie-walk and met up with some more friends. Including Gumby:

We spent the rest of the evening strolling the streets and checking out the vendors and then, of course, observing the entertainment that is "Zombie-Walk".
As you can tell, it was a lot of fun for all ages. People were really creative and it definitely showed. The girls and I stayed for awhile, then went to dinner. It was a great night to get out of the house an spend with good friends.

On Saturday, I did some work around the house and then met up with Katie F from The Life of an Army Wife for the God Strong event at a local church. Sara Horn, the author, is a truly captivating speaker. I was so thankful to be able to spend the afternoon with Katie, as she is just as sweet as can be. We found that we have a lot of mil-spouse experiences in common, and it was wonderful just to sit and chat. I felt like I learned a lot from the event itself, and walked away feeling motivated and driven to be a more "God-Strong" individual. I definitely suggest this book to anyone, not just mil-spouses, as it provides a lot of strong motivators for all of life's tough situations.

That night, J and M and I grabbed a pre-race meal and settled in early because Sunday morning was coming awfully early.

Sunday was race day! We were on the road to Myrtle Beach by 3:30am, and I really couldn't contain my excitement as I dozed off in the backseat (note: sarcasm). Thank GOD for J's hubby M, because without him, I don't know that either J or I would've ever made it to the race! He's such a trooper- chauffering us around the east coast so that we can go run our little hearts out. Thanks M! (He's also a great photographer, all race images are thanks to him!) Anyway, the race began at 7:00am, and we were ready to go!

This was at 6am, and it was about 45 degrees outside. Don't worry! We warmed up fast!

The race was awesome! 13.1 miles of scenic Myrtle Beach- we ran around the local mall and "Broadway at the Beach", and we also ran through a few residential districts. We finished right on the beach! It was a great final push to the finish line with the ocean breeze at our backs. The run itself was tough, but we finished! We're both one step closer to competing in the Miami Marathon in January 2011. The best part of the whole race- the medals!

Please excuse my hot-mess-express-ness, I think I get a pass considering.
After the race, we were about as tired as can be, so we headed home. The night was relaxing until I got a phone call from Romeo- he and his friends had been in an accident and were en route to the local hospital. Needless to say, despite my exhaustion, sleep did not come easy that night. But, that I will save for another post. The good news is that all who were involved in the accident are okay, and are just a little sore. Thank God.

All in all, I had a fantastic weekend. I spent time with some really wonderful people, and accomplished one of my life-goals. I learned a lot about myself and my own strength, both physically and spiritually. I'm looking forward to this weekend because I will be heading home to spend some much-needed time with my families.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm counting Saturday mornings

That is my countdown method. I'm counting down Saturdays, I'm counting down trash days. I'm counting down mortgage payments, I'm counting down pay days. Every thing that there is to count, I'm counting. Grocery shopping days, breakfasts, laundry nights. Every single thing there is to count, I'm counting on. I'm counting on all of these things to keep me sane and to force the time to pass. And now, I'm just counting myself crazy.

There are so many compulsive comforts that we develop while we're waiting for something. Counting, excessive time consumption, landmarking moments. I don't know that it's healthy, often because those compulsive comforts carry over even after the waiting is over. Except once the waiting is over, the counting is exactly what does drive us mad. Counting down until the next time he leaves. Waiting for the next phone call or set of orders.

Spending time counting... what kind of life is that? Spending moment after moment counting down to something, and then once that something happens, a new countdown starts. It's an ugly cycle. But it is a comfortable and stable cycle, especially in a life of no stability. Counting is my security blanket.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When the missing sneak in

Intriguing, right? I'm not talking about missing people. Well, actually, I am. Not "missing" as in missing-poster-face-on-a-milk-carton kind of missing, but the feeling of missing someone. And I'm talking about how it will creep up out of nowhere.

Somedays, it comes as a dull ache in your chest. Like someone has your heart in a vice, and is just ever-so-slowly turning the lever and closing tighter and tighter. The pressure builds and builds until you pop. Other days, it's like taking a bullet. It's fast and terribly painful and as quickly as it comes, it passes. Either way, it happens when it is least expected.

At times, I'm convinced that I'm losing my sanity. I could be putting dishes back in the cabinet and out of nowhere, I'm sobbing. All because I remembered the feeling of hating putting dishes away at my parent's house, and now, I would give anything to be standing in their kitchen. I was in the middle of a board meeting, and just like that, it was as if the hot-mess-express-train-of-agony just crashed into me, and I was fighting tears because of a ringtone. A RINGTONE! The pain lasts a few moments, and then it is gone as quickly as it came.

As the Queen of Composure (NOT!), I obviously have a million go-to-excuses for when these moments hit. Allergies are my favorite- it covers the cracking voice and the tearing eyes. Until I can train my free-willed emotions to control themselves, I will rely on my little white lies to get me through the day without people thinking I am an absolute basket-case.

It all comes and it goes. I'll have a few really great days, then a really not-good one. Then maybe just a few "okay" ones here and there. The whirlwind moments are what really get me. The sneak in and mess up your makeup, then leave without any ounce of remorse.

Those missings are awfully sneaky.