By Jade Stone
Note from the mamas: Read Tucker’s birth story which involves his daddy watching the whole delivery via Skype while serving in Afghanistan. Click here to read “Long Distance Delivery”
Well, we are officially within the 60 day window of Jay’s long awaited return home. I cannot articulate to you just how very happy that makes me.
The mere thought of the fact that he will be home so soon causes my heart to skip a beat! Certainly for mostly selfish reasons, but also because I can’t wait to see his face when he lays eyes on his new baby boy. As you may know, we had a new arrival 6 weeks ago.
Tucker is a healthy, happy blue-eyed baby boy who is content to be held and loved by anyone that walks through the door.He is definitely sociable and happy go lucky which is so fortunate for me. I start back to school in two weeks and I admit, my heart isn’t in it.
I never thought 6 weeks could go so very fast but it did. I wouldn’t return this school year if we could afford it but that’s just not the hand we were dealt. I am thrilled I managed to save up enough sick days to cover all but 2 days of leave to be able to stay home with pay for 6 weeks. I can’t complain, but I’s going to be hard getting us all out the door by 6:15 am, working a full day, and keeping the house together without an extra set of hands. I know there are single moms who do this everyday and my hat is off to you. It is no easy feat.
I am so thankful that there will only be 4 weeks of school left when I return. That is my saving grace at this point.I can do anything for 4 weeks, right?
In the meantime, I have to come to terms with how very bad I am at taking help.I am so independent and hate for people to pick up my slack.I guess I feel like my predicament, that is having a new baby while my hubbie is deployed, is no one’s responsibility to deal with but mine and it’s my problem to manage.
I know that’s not the right way to view things but that is my reality.That said, when someone says “Hey, do you NEED anything?”I typically say “no, not at all”, because I have food, water, clothes, and oxygen, all of which are needs that have been met, therefore I technically don’t “need” anything at all.
Furthermore, admitting I need something is like saying I am not adequately taking care of things and must rely on others.This is strictly a pride issue.I have a friend or two that are on to me though and have learned to ask “is there anything you want?” to which I have the freedom to respond with whatever is on my mind.Lately that would be chocolate! This also applies to helping with the kids.
I hate to ask anyone to watch them so I can grab groceries or run to Sonic to maintain a little sanity because my kiddos aren’t anyone else’s responsibility.I’ve had to work really hard at swallowing my pride and admitting that I could use the help once in a while. I know, there is nothing wrong with that. But for someone who is so used to taking care of everything on her own, that’s the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.
After 5 weeks I’m still not very good at it but I am doing better.I am so thankful to those that have just jumped in there and lent a hand when I was too stubborn to ask for one.My family and friends are the best and have been a major source of strength for me through all of this.I know that I couldn’t do this without them.I can only hope I can return the favor someday.
At this point, my focus is on preparing my oldest for daddy’s return, uncluttering the house to help reduce Jay’s stress when he returns, and preparing myself to start using pronouns like “us” and “we” instead of “ I” and “my”. That may seem insignificant but mention something to your spouse about something being wrong in the house by referencing it as “my house” and see what kind of look that gets you. The past year has been so full of “my’s” and “I’s” that pluralizing my vocabulary may be quite the task.
I have to start talking to Jay about how the “homecoming” is going to work in terms of the kids, and what to expect.It’s also important to gauge where he is mentally in terms of dealing with people, crowds, and stress.It will be a whole new world for him when he gets here.He hasn’t driven in a year, nor has he been in crowds, or dealt with decision making of any kind in nearly a year.
I challenge you to count up the number of decision you make on a daily basis, starting with when to get up, what to wear, what perfume or cologne to spray on, how to fix your hair, which shoes look best, what to pack for lunch or make for breakfast and then making those same decisions for your kids, and that’s potentially all before 9am. Jay’s only decisions outside of his job responsibilities have been limited to what snack to eat if he misses dinner.
His clothes, his meals, his job are all preset. There are no miscellaneous activities to choose from, or extras of any kind. His life is to get up, put the uniform on, eat, work, sleep repeat. It’s no wonder these guys come home to the insanity that is our everyday life and can’t wait to go back. My job will turn from trying to limit the stress in my own life to drastically reducing the stress in his.I’m used to a high level of stress but even on a good day, when my stress level seems null, he might feel overwhelmed.
And finally, the actual homecoming plan is in the works. It’s never what people dream it should be. For example, I was recently contacted by a PR firm who wants to do a feature on Jay’s first moments home when he meets Tucker for the first time. I know they are expecting the joyous music in the background, butterflies floating in the air, the family running in slow motion to greet the freshly returned soldier off the plane/train/bus and everyone crying tears of joy.
Sounds like a Norman Rockwell, doesn’t it?
Well maybe next time I will more accurately paint the reality of that picture for you, but for now, I have a crying baby to feed and change, laundry to fold, a house to clean, bills to pay and a 1st grader to pick up from school, but most importantly, lots of hugs to give out to my boys because when its all said and done, the house will still be standing whether it gets cleaned or not, but I don’t get back this time with my boys so the rest will have to wait! Have a great week.
*All photos courtesy of KarleeNoelle Photography.
Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.