Dirty Shorts & Dog Poo

When preparing for deployment, it was so easy to get caught up in the whole “However will I do this?” mentality. How will I solo parent? How will I keep the house clean? How will I take care of myself? How will I _______? For a while there I felt really bad for myself. There came a time, however, when I dropped the word “how” and the questions became statements to me: I will solo parent. I will keep the house clean. I will take care of myself. I will ______. Don’t get me wrong, I still had some serious doubts, but there did come a point not too long before Hubby left that I became confident that my biggest hurdle wouldn’t be the daily things as I had thought, but would actually just be the *missing him* part.

 

A few days before Hubby left, we had just finished tucking the kids into bed and I went to take a shower. I got my jammies on and came out into our bedroom where I noticed a pair of Hubby’s shorts in a pile on the floor. Without thought or warning, I burst into tears. We are talking big, fat tears and sobs that give me swollen lips and a truly over-all excellent Cry Face. I came downstairs and found Hubby who asked what was wrong. Between sobs I told him, “I’m going to miss you so much! I know it will be fine and I know I’ll be okay and I know it isn’t as long as most deployments but I’m going to MISS YOU.” He hugged me and told me he understood. Then he asked where this meltdown came from. “You left your shorts on the floor!” I exclaimed. His surprised and confused expression were totally warranted. I went on…”I had myself totally convinced that it would be a nice little change for you to be away. Our room will be clean when I leave it that way. I will know where stuff is. Our bathroom will be cleaner. I’ll be used to doing things myself and won’t have unfilled expectations of you doing things that you didn’t do. I really and truly felt that it would be better for a while. But then I saw your shorts on the floor. And instead of feeling annoyed that they weren’t put away I realized that I’d rather have them on the floor any day because it means you are home. If none of your stuff is around, then you aren’t here. And I don’t want you not here. I want you here.” Hubby agreed that while he was looking forward to the challenge of a new opportunity, he’d rather be here, too. He really put it into perspective for me when he said, “Think about how I feel. I won’t get a hug for two whole months!”.
So sweet, right?
We talked some more and after a few minutes of talking and the catharsis of a big cry, I felt a lot better. I felt better about my own capabilities and the strength of our relationship that we would find ways to stay connected. I also realized that while I had it in my mind this whole time that his absence was all about the kids and I, I had never factored in how difficult it would be for Hubby. How hard it would be to have two months with no loving physical contact of any kind. How hard it would be to facetime with us right before bed and go to sleep on the other side of the world in a strange place on a hard bed and aching to snuggle his little boys. How hard it would be to miss out on the festivals and events our town has and to see pictures of the kids and I there and to wish with all his heart that he was in the picture, too. I had never thought of that. But I do now. And I feel badly that I was so egocentric.

We are a week and a half in. I am no longer a deployment virgin. We are doing exceptionally well and I’m relieved. We have been very fortunate because Hubby has internet so we are able to see him and chat with him regularly which I’m quite sure is what is making this easier than I thought.

Now, it’s not all a walk in the park. There are still trying moments. Like this morning at 5am when the dogs woke me up from downstairs because they were whining. I pried my boob away from Jellybean and crept downstairs. As I got to the landing the unmistakable odour of dog diarrhea greeted me. No sooner did I put the dogs outside and take the poo-filled grate out of the floor than I heard “Mommy! Mommy!” from my little Jelly upstairs. So, I cleaned the most I could in thirty seconds, shoved it all in a plastic bag and tossed it on the deck, locked the dogs outside, washed my hands and ran up to bed.

It would have been nice if he had been here then.

But overall, we’re pretty good. I have a few days that I totally rock this and I’ve had a few where I wonder why it’s socially unacceptable to drink before noon.

I’m learning a lot about a lot of things. In one week I have learned that taking a big breath before reacting is key to at least pretending to be patient; that online shopping really does make me feel better; that 5 1/2 year olds can really step up to the plate; that sometimes you might just want to throw out the floor grate; how to fix the handlebars on a bike; how to make vegan muffins; and that it really is okay for a load of laundry to take four days.

But I think the biggest lesson here is for the husband: Always put your laundry away.

Take care,
Mel

 

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