Sunday, July 5, 2009

Other Updates

Losing our income to layoff has been hard, but unemployment has really saved our butts. It has allowed Fiance to be home with me while the baby was born, allowed him to be home with Teenybop when I couldn't be, allowed us time to spend together which we'd been sorely lacking, and all while still being able to pay our bills. We hate the unemployment, hate the check and what it represents to us, a handout taken only because we've found ourselves in a position where there really aren't a lot of jobs to be had.

And that's where the Army comes in. The Army is something I am quite familiar with by proxy. I've got a guy friend who is Army, and my best friend Jessica is an Army wife. Many perspectives of Army life are offered through these two families, and I have heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have heard of marital troubles, health scares, bombings, deployments, and fear. But I have also heard security in the Army. Fiance's family is an Air Force family, with many members retired while there are still many members enlisted. Fiance himself was in the Ar Force for a time, but left the military for personal reasons including but not limited to simple immaturity. I had been thinking for a long time about the security of the Army, the pay which is guaranteed, the multitude of benefits, the job security, and the safety that the military life will offer to my children. But because of the marital conflicts I have witnessed in both my Army friends' lives, I thought a lot about what I wanted to do about the military thoughts I was harboring, and I wanted to be very sure about what I wanted before mentioning the subject to anyone.

But after months of silent thought on my own, I talked to Fiance about the Army. I told him that I wanted to get myself well-trained once Piglet was born, that I wanted to enlist, training most likely as an MP with the ultimate goal of a career in the Criminal Investigation Division. After a moment where he was silent and looking at me with a very shocked expression, he asked why and I told him. I grew up dirt poor. There was no money for anything, and as I got older things got worse. My mother was terribly irresponsible with what little money she had, so we moved a lot and I remember times when there was so little money that we barely even had food to eat. But my mother always had cigarettes to smoke, coffee to drink, and gas in her truck so she could drive. I determined that I would never raise my children that way ... I would learn to be responsible with money, and I would learn the art of putting others before myself. I would never see my children eat the same meal for dinner for a week straight just because it's all we have, while I keep my creature comforts all around me.

There was much discussion, and one day as I was talking about enlisting, Fiance simply said, "You're not going to the Army." And I was shocked, angry. I simply retorted, "It's not up to you," and for that moment I let the subject die. The next time it came up we went through the same thing, but I had a different answer. He said I am not going to the Army, and I asked him what he thought would stop me from going since it's what I know will offer a better life to my girls. It was his turn that day for a quick retort followed by silence ... "You are not going, because I am."

Now this remains to be seen, as he is not training as heavily as he could be, and has not had more than basic contact with a recruiter. But it is still my plan. I will let it go and be his Army wife should he choose to train and go because it will achieve the same goal I have for a good life for my girls ... but if he doesn't live up to his word? I will be training as soon as possible, and then I will be shipping out. Brokenhearted to be leaving my girls behind, living in fear of a deployment from which I might not return, and unsure of where my relationship will stand in the future ... but secure in the knowledge that my daughters will be financially cared for, and that I can trust in God to take care of them, to send them where he wants them and to fill their lives with love and blessings if I am somehow unable to be there for them.

Other news? Teenbyop has finished up with Head Start. She will move on to Kindergarten in the fall, and we are all looking forward to it. She is incredibly bored to be home even though there are frequest trips to the different parks in our city, and lots of company coming in and out to meet the new little Piglet. She is suffering from minor bits of jealousy, but our biggest issue there is that she is acting out a bit due to lack of sleep. Whenever Piglet wakes up and cries in the night, Teenybop lies awake in her bed, listening and worrying about her baby sister. For this reason we are looking forward to the time when Piglet will sleep through the night, although there is a part of me that will miss the alone time I share with Piglet in the dead of night.

We also have changed cars, because in the last month of my pregnancy, our car finally breathed its last and died. Fortunately Fiance's father was able to help us out big time on that, otherwise we'd have been without a car at all. My past with Fiance's father has been a big rocky since it took a while for Teenybop and I to win him over ... I came to this relationship with Teenybop as a tag-a-long, and an angry ex as baggage. Plus, his family on both mother and father's sides are people who are squarely middle class, not filthy rich but comfortable nonetheless. But I lived in the projects, a single mother from a poor background. While Fiance's family is far from shallow, I'm sure they want the best for their boy, and I am willing to admit myself that I if I could choose a mate for my daughters, I would choose one who came with little baggage and perhaps a little more to offer financially than someone who brings a sorrowed past and no money to speak of. So while it was hurtful to have Fiance's father seem less than thrilled about our relationship, I understood why the family would worry about us and where the relationship would lead.

But in spite of all that, Fiance's father has been a blessing to us these days, calling to check, letting us know he cares, and being kind and accepting enough of Teenybop to make lots of time for her when he came to meet Piglet. The family has been careful to make sure Teenybop is included in all the excitement, that she is feeling no less loved than before, and equally as special as her sister.

And Fiance's grandfather is gravely ill with terminal cancer in several of his vital organs. No one knows what will happen, Fiance's mother is desperately clinging to the hope that her dad will improve and become healthy again, and I know that if/when this man passes, his family will be greatly affected by the loss. Piglet will not even get a chance to know him and all the while, I keep trying to think of how to explain his death to Teenybop who cares very much for his wellbeing and fears even the idea of death. While I worry for all of those around me, I also grieve the loss of the chance to really get to know this man as family. Each time I see him I am reminded of what a gentle soul he is, yet at the same time he lived his life as a strong man, providing for his family and lovingly raising two adopted daughters while maintaining a happy marriage with his wife.

This family in quite in need of prayer, it seems.