Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I had not taken the time to notice how very regimented my family is. Bedtime for the girls is 8:00 on school nights, and 8:30 on weekends. A fresh vegetable is served with dinner. Fruit is offered as snacks. Homework is done as soon as they arrive home. Beds are made upon exiting them in the morning. Teeth brushed twice a day. Toys put away. TV time very limited. Family cleanup is after dinner each night. It has all become a rhythm. It is just what we do each day, like most families, I suppose.

David's departure date is drawing near. Suddenly, our life, and plans, and daily life have been sent in so many different directions. The girls go from being sad, and in disbelief that David won't be home for the summer, let alone the first day of school, and Halloween, and Christmas, to being scared that something bad will happen to him. I feel the same way. While I am trying to think about the end of the six months that he will be gone, I am discounting the time in between completely. I keep looking at our outdoor furniture and think ,Why did we even put it out? Will we really use it? Will summer even matter this year? And then I think about the time we still have together. These few weeks, to cram it all in, and enjoy every bit of one another, "just in case". It is an awful feeling. Like Sundays. I have never liked Sundays. No matter what you have to do on that day of the week, Monday looms, and you can never quite relax.

Trying to fit a summer into three weeks has made me feel like I am walking on egg shells. Our regimented daily doings have been pushed aside. We are both, for the sake of the girls, trying to just be relaxed, and carefree. Letting them stay up later, and consume ice pops, and play into the darkness of the late day. Beds unmade. The house not as tidy as we like it. Yet it all feels fake, and contrived, and like a Sunday wedding, I am not having as much fun as I would if it were on a Saturday night. I am too busy being consumed with fear. I am too busy thinking about what is about to happen.

I keep looking for signs from the universe that it is going to be OK. Like a pat on the back, disguised as a cool breeze. Olivia picked up a penny in a parking lot the other day. It was on tails. Before I could tell her not to grab it, she had it in her hand. "Were doomed", I thought to myself. We are tempting fate. I cringed as she put it in her pocket. All that bad luck, riding around in the car, and coming home with us. I wanted to cry.

But I got a letter from a friend. It made me sit back, and take a breath.  She said to me the most comforting words. Nothing special, just real encouragement. She said we will do just fine when David is gone. She said to keep fighting for our family, and our home. That I will be surprised at how much patience I will have for everything during this separation. She advised that I keep it in "low gear". I especially liked that part. I have been feeling anxious about being in low gear. Like I am doing something irresponsible. I feel like I have permission now.  

And she said to keep my eye on the prize. And so, I will. Unmade beds, and all.

I got my cool breeze.


  1. Trust me I know all about the long deployments & time apart while your spouse is in a foreign country while you sit & wait. You are stronger than you think & you have three little miracles to provide you with the very support that enables you to smile every day! I will be thinking about you!

  2. A wise mom friend once told me that just because Pat is away doesn't mean I have to operate like he's here. I can leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight and turns out, I really can sleep. You will get through and be just fine.

  3. Erin-
    As your husband is heading to Iraq, I thought you should be aware of the 'Protecting Servicemembers from Mortgage Abuse Act of 2011', which provides, among other things, that no servicemember shall be foreclosed upon for 24 months following ending date of service while deployed in the Armed Forces. Also, I believe, mortgage interest rates are set at 6% while on active duty. Google it, study it, and fire off letters to all. Like your posts. Best wishes.