Tuesday, June 4, 2013

10 Things I've Learned About Myself During Deployment

        Lately I've been thinking about all of the things I've learned about myself since Andrew's been gone. It's interesting how much you learn about yourself when your days are spent with no one but two cats and a 3 year old. You become humble, you become strengthened and your sense of humor develops. In my case, I had a great sense of humor already so what actually happened is my humor evolved into mild insanity which will probably explain some of the following:

1. Here is a 2 for 1 of weirder facts: When I'm in pain, emotional or physical, I rub my feet together. It's soothing to me but I am also aware it makes me look a bit infantile and that kind of embarrasses me. Also, I mentally cannot bring myself to poop in a giant medical bucket even if it's necessary for important, medical, diagnostic reasons. That bucket just aint on my bucket list

2. I'm OLDDDD! Not old-old. I don't want to offend anyone seeing as I'm only 29 but it is shocking to me when an "older" man starts speaking to me and flirting and I think, "huh, an older guy just flirted with me." and then, I realize he's probably only 5 years older than me. I have to remind myself I'm not 20 anymore. I'm practically a geriatric. I have the senality to back that up. Which brings us to #3.

3. As I told my husband today, I am definitely in need of adult supervision. It's not that I'm irresponsible or wild. It's just that I need my husband to be there to say to me, "I think you need some time alone, you aren't speaking coherently." or, "No, Micah...It's not normal to be outside at 2 am talking to nocturnal wild life." In my defense of that though, I'm not trying to be Snow White of the Night. I'm just trying to coax the animals to live in my garden to eat the bugs that are eating my garden. I  realize that they can't understand a word I'm saying but I have been told I have a soothing voice over the phone so I thought maybe that would help.

4. Back to the old thing. I bought a 6 pack of beer the other day to entice and drown the slugs that are eating my beautiful garden, and the pre pubescent cashier didn't even card me! What the hell man? I've got the cheeks of a cherub! There is nothing worn out and tired looking about me at all. I'm wearing my best yoga pants and sleep shirt right now and only one of them has stains! That's what I thought in the first 30 seconds after the transaction was ringing up until the end when he got to the Pop It's I bought Henry and asked to see my i.d. for them. Then I thought it might be more of an issue with the cashiers intelligence. None the less, I'm still butt hurt over it.

5. I've learned how to better communicate with Henry because I can see just how much he is like me. And because he's so much like me it's super important that I steer him in the opposite direction of some of my more insane habits.  Alas, the second part to this realization is you can grab a toddler by the horns but all you're going to get is trampled. It amazes me the thoughts and philosophies he has outside of the influence of adults. I have learned that if you talk to your kids about the economy, moral issues, religion, philosophy and science, that you can learn some pretty beautiful things from them like, really simple but thoughtful solutions to problems.

6. I like Andrew's side of the bed better and he's not getting it back. End of discussion.

7. As it turns out, I am not the bad ass I thought I was and I do not stay calm during chaotic events. On a warm May night, around 3am my house alarm went off. Instead of running to my sons room and barricading the door as practiced in my mind a thousand time, I, stuck in a state of consciousness between asleep and awake, ran circles around my house...... panicked.....and naked....only to finally reach the alarm to try and turn it off. You know, so that I could personal usher the criminals into my home. Luckily for me I have issues with circulation or nerves or something and my hands go numb at night so I couldn't turn off the alarm. It was in that moment of pawing clumsily at the key pad that I really woke up and realized it was the car alarm of the across the street neighbors.

8. I am guilty of 99.9 percent of dirty dishes. And I've also learned that making a dirty dish must be a compulsion for me because I, being a complete eco-hypocrite, bought paper plates and still found myself not only using them but also dirtying regular dishes. And with only eating three meals a day, it's a phenomenon I cannot explain. Thankfully since I'm the only one who washes the dishes I don't have to explain a damn thing.

9. Gardening requires as much love an attention as an animal and that I do not have a natural green thumb. I don't have a brown thumb either but it is kind of a green/yellow over watered or under watered, wilted at time thumb that has both good and bad days.

10. The last thing I'll admit to is that I have realized, as I've said before, that as much as I like to think I can do it on my own, I can't. I  can be quick to panic, I am a naturally stressed out person and I'm quick to get sick with worry. Andrew is the glue that holds me together but also, since he has been gone I've had to adopt new ways of thinking about things. I have new philosophies, I have new ambitions and I realize that I need to be more accepting of myself and who I am as a woman, wife and mother. I realize that so much of the stress that makes me sick mentally and physically is from the pressure that society puts on me and other women to be the kind of mother and wife they think I should be. I've learned that  it's ok to disappoint everyone, including friends and family, as long as my little family and I are happy and healthy, emotionally and physically.

Andrew will be home soon but there are still many days left to learn more about myself while he is away and I'm really looking forward to every embarrassing, sad, hilarious and educational moment possible. It's nice to see that learning new things really does never end.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It looks as though I haven't written a post since January but that isn't technically true. I've written a lot  and published none. I think it's because once I start getting into the emotional aspect of living without Andrew while he has been deployed I get a little exhausted and punch out early.

I think I'm at a place right now that I can talk about what it's been like without getting to bent out of shape.

Andrew and I discussed him doing a deployment voluntarily before he was given the opportunity to go. We both agreed that it was a great idea and especially at the age Henry is now. It was obvious that we would be in for a new experience and that some of our preconceived ideas of how everything would go would probably be smashed but we were up for the task.

We are now more than half way though the deployment and a lot has been learned by the both of us well as Henry.

Henry has had a really tough time but when he was in school for a few months he was much happier. He thrives in a social environment and loves learning. Continuing to learn lessons at home and practicing what he learned this year in school has been important as well as having play dates with his friends and taking him to the local park to meet new kids.

This year for his birthday I knew that without Andrew I would be overwhelmed throwing a party like I did last year, even with being in the house this year. So instead I invited a few of my friends over with their kids and had a play date masked as a birthday party and it turned out great. He definitely didn't notice the difference.

I think the most important thing I've learned since Andrew has been gone is that I do need him. I've always been of this mind frame that I WANT a husband but that I didn't necessarily NEED a husband. Maybe in attempt to feel secure that should anything ever happen I could easily take care of myself. But that is simply not true. I want Andrew and I need him. He is my best friend, the key to my sanity, to a good portion of the work that gets done around the house and as the other parent he is equally important. This deployment has definitely given me a new sense of humility and appreciation for everything Andrew does for us.

Last night he asked me how I was doing. The simple answer to that is GOOD. But that cliche phrase you hear in movies, "I have to be strong for him (Henry)." came out of my mouth and I cringed a little at the cheesiness of it but it couldn't be more true. My emotions about the difficulty of living without Andrew for the last 6+ months have been shut off for the reason that if I thought about it I would be a completely useless mess since I'm prone to depression. The only person that is allowed any real access to emotion during this time is Henry. It's not to say there haven't been bad days. There really has. But for the most part It's been GOOD and we discuss how difficult it is for him and how happy our reunion with Daddy will be. We talk about what we will do and we talk about how it's ok to cry and be sad that he's not with us right now. We have had busy days of errands and school and parks and festival and picnics, etc., and we've had epicly lazy days with nothing but cereal and cartoons. Some days we cope better than others. Some days the house is a mess but most days it's cleaner than it ever was when Andrew was here. Some days we act more like lumps than humans. Some days we do nothing but sit on the porch swing and talk about the things we want to do and occasionally get up to study a bug or lizard.

Mostly I've learned to just chill out. Try to keep busy, keep Henry entertained, but when I feel tired and worn out, to just put everything down and put on a movie, journal, make sure Henry is fed and has something fun to do and accept that this is all temporary. I figured out that when I was trying to do it all perfectly that the depression started creeping up on me. I was asking too much of myself, being too hard on myself and Henry wasn't enjoying it. I would rather be laid back than neurotic and depressed and I know Henry prefers me laid back too. Watching your 3 year old worry and ask if you are ok is one of the saddest things to ever hear. I had to abandon that pressure to be a Super Mom in order to be a good one. But the one thing we do make sure to do is at the end of the day we read and talk in bed and hold hands. It's our favorite time of the day together and it's when I realize, over and over, just how brave and strong he is for such a little guy.

Even though Andrew is desperately home sick he is at least enjoying his job. He loves it and it makes up for the horrible food and less than great sleeping conditions. Everyday I feel proud of him and the sacrifice he has made to take care of us and do something amazing for his country.

We have been blessed with neighbors who are retired military and have helped take care of the lawn this last week.  Something I was too prideful to admit I needed help with so they took care of it without me having to ask. Again, I've been learning my limitations and that 24 hours in a day is not enough time to do it all. Especially since Henry has been out of school.

I think the one emotion I have been feeling in abundance since Andrew's been gone is gratitude. I'm grateful for a hard working, dedicated and brave husband. I'm grateful for a sweet and sensitive, funny and brilliant son who keeps my spirit happy. I'm grateful for my friends here that have helped take Henry when I need a break, (Liz and Spencer! <3) and for my home and the beautiful nature around it that keeps me in child like wonder most days.  I'm grateful for the abundance of letters and care packages we've received from family and friends and the Air Force key spouses and Andrew's supervisor that call and check up on us. I knew when we were called to come to Georgia that we would build a happy life here and we definitely have.

Monday, January 21, 2013

food revolution

Ive experienced intense paranoia before. Redbull has done that to me a few times which is ironic since what I'm about to write about is so anti garbage food like Redbull,  and not written with any feelings of paranoia. Over the last couple of years I have started to slowly take the blinders off regarding the food and pharmaceutical corporations of America. There are days when I wake up in auto mode. Forgetting everything I have learned, picking up junk like Redbull and microwavable mac and cheese for my son. But days like today, when some one I care about loses a loved one at such a young age, I am re awakened and feel angry again.

Today I feel angry about the diseases that are affecting or taking the lives of people. Some of my own loved ones and loved ones of my friends. Cancers and autoimmune diseases and heart disease. And as paranoid as it may sound I know that our government is largely responsible. They allow food corporations to put massive amount of preservatives and sodium and things like aspartame in our foods. And if we wanted to escape from the dangers of processed foods and eat a mainly vegetarian or paleo type diet then we have to not only pay more but we have to trust that our foods are not genetically modified. If we want to avoid those dangers, we have to pay even more for organic non GMO foods, and FYI, just because you buy organic does not mean its non GMO.

Would you like to grow your own gardens to safely sustain your family? Well, you first have to find non GMO seeds and in many states if you have a garden beyond a certain size the state can tax you.

We are really distracted right now by the hot topics. Things like gun control, same sex marriage, etc. and while those are important things and should not be ignored, how many of us are affected by those things daily? Some of us. How many of us feel our health failing or have lost a loved one to a disease, much too young? A lot of us. Many of us. Too many. How many of you don't take one medication or more daily for ailments? How many of us are young and overweight, dealing with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and battling colds and flu's and infections constantly? The obesity rates climb daily. Its just as important to feel as passionately about the safety of the foods we consume as the hot topics of the political season.

 Other countries like Russia and China are banning the US from importing, specifically, our GMO foods to their countries now. America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world but how can it be when it knowingly makes its own citizens sick. Our country is making it easier to access and buy processed foods and harder for each citizen to grow and eat a wholesome organic diet. Essentially we are becoming absolutely dependent on our government to feed us and we are putting too much trust them, (the same men and women who hold major shares in the food corporations and pharmaceutical companies) to take care of us.

I remember not so many years ago  hearing people like me, so angry about this. I rolled my eyes and thought of them as paranoid extremist. And now here I am joining them. Trying to calmly talk to others about this scary situation our country is in and hoping that they might remove their blinders too. Even if just a little, a day at a time. There is a certain amount of bravery in doing that because once you know the truth you know you have to do something about it and doing something about it can seem impossible when you feel so little compared to such a large problem affecting millions. Most people, including myself don't realizing that you don't needs a loud, aggressive revolution to change this country. You can sit quietly at your desk, writing letters. You can shop organically at your local farmers markets, you can talk to your friends and family. Don't be afraid to ask if the produce is non GMO, organic. Don't be afraid to ask if the beef is grass fed or the chickens are free range and dont be afraid to show your friends and family your passion about it. If you can help two friends rethink their eating and embrace the organic movement, those two friends may inspire some one else. That's where change comes from. Im going to be a part of that.

To learn more about GMOs I urge you to research Monsanto. There are several Facebook pages that update with current Monsanto facts and legal proceedings. Here is the link to a great one. https://www.facebook.com/Stopping.Monsanto