I have mentioned before that I am spending lots of time lately reading the blogs of military spouses. Private Ryan is leaving in less than a month and as the days get shorter our mixed feelings only become more and more intense. We both wish his date would just come so we can get it over with and begin the countdown to his training being over and getting to see each other a bit if he gets to come home. On the other hand we are struggling to enjoy the few days that we have left, not knowing honestly when he will get to come home again ...
Most of the time, the blogs are reassuring, stories of women who are mostly just like me living lives that are mostly just like mine. They get up in the morning and deal with their children, they deal with their homes, and some of them deal with their jobs. Some of them also deal with their husbands, and some of them deal with missing their husbands for one reason or another that is always military related. But generally, they are women who are just trying to live their life the best way they know how, raise their kids to the best of their abilities, and support their soldiers with pride and love.
But sometimes? Sometimes they terrify me. Horror stories of sick children in the night with no husband to help clean up or hold crying children. Stories of cars breaking down and washing machines flooding the house. Stories of lost ID cards and POA's. Stories like that terrify me, because our house is very clearly divided. I am the woman, I tend to the children and do what I can when I can to tend to the house while still maintaining my sanity. And the man is the man (most of the time, except for when he is the baby), he handles mishaps with the car, he deals with customer service calls, he handles the landlord and things that get broken. Often, Teenybop will bring a toy or something that is broken and ask if it can be fixed and I will generally refer her to her daddy without even looking because I know that I will not likely be able to fix "it" ... just as I know that he likely will.
Just like every other man, some days it is like my man is useless, I can't get him to do anything, and I feel like I have to "do everything", handle every problem and fix every issue while he sits by and does nothing. But when I regain my sanity and my perspective, I remember the things he does all the time, every day. Things that he often does just to make things easier for me. Things that he does to help our family and keep our household running. It is possible that I would go days without eating a thing without him here, just because I would not likely have time to make anything for myself. There is one blog I read where the husband is deployed and the wife is counting down to his return by counting how many more times she will have to take the trash out. There are so many things that I get annoyed with Private Ryan about ... but there are so many ways I will miss him terribly when he is gone.
And sometimes I find myself just sitting still in the midst of our hectic household, and thinking, "What am I going to do without him?"
And then I tell me, "Get over it. You will do it just millions of women before you have done it, millions of women will doing it right beside you, and millions of women will do it after you. You will dig down just like you did when you were alone with Teenbyop, you will take out the trash and haul the groceries and laundry up and down the bazillion stairs of the apartment building. You will drive the crappy car and make things work when it acts funny. You will pump the gas and call the customer service when something isn't working. You will deal with the rent and the landlord and the things that break and the light bulbs that will inevitably need to be changed all at once the night he leaves. Somehow, you will find time to cook, eat, pee, and shower ... all things that sometimes seem impossible without him. You will learn to live as if you are alone again, while waiting and aching for him to come home. And then when he comes how you will do as all the others before you have done. You will fawn over him when he returns ... and pick up all the pieces when he leaves again."
I have been through a lot of things in my life, I have lived successfully through many challenges. I have come out on top of many situations and I have prayed for strength in my times of turmoil. But this is a totally new thing to me, and I dread waking up that first day by myself. I dread the summer activities without him there. I dread night time when the girls are asleep and I can suddenly hear all the noises this old building makes. I dread the tricks my mind plays on me. I dread cleaning the fish tank. I dread trying to quiet my frantic mind after hearing the night noises so that I can fall asleep before my children awake. I dread the unknown looming before me.
But like always, I will be okay. We will make it, and somehow we will come out on top like we always do. And in the meantime, I will get to know myself again, and God and I will spend a lot of time chatting.