Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life is knowing when to be spontaneous...

Yesterday's plans were totally rearranged and I can't say I'm disappointed by the results.  I picked up my son from school and then picked up my husband from the house and we drove into town.  Our son thought that we were just going to have dinner with his daddy and then leave him because he had to leave early this morning... but he had no idea that we had decided to get a hotel room so we could all spend one last night together.  On the way into town he actually requested that we stay at a hotel so he could spend the night with his daddy.  He was so pleased when we drove up to the hotel and actually got a room.  We planned to take him to the movies, buy him some popcorn and ice cream... but he just wanted to take his dad to the arcade and play.  It was such a relaxed evening and it was perfect.  We got a room with a King sized bed just so our son could sleep in between us on his daddy's last night.  I thought waking up before the sun would cause him to have a hard day today, but I brought him home and had him sleep in my bed until last minute to get ready and go to school... he was the happiest I've seen him in a while.  When he got home from school he said he had a great day and kept talking about how last night with his daddy was the best he's ever had.  My husband & I are also glad we spent the last night together... when it's going to be so long in between seeing each other every minute counts.  It was nice not to be alone last night.  As far as "lasts" go... I think that was the best one yet.

Thank you Love for making such a wonderful suggestion.  Thank you for your love and commitment and sacrifice.  We love you and we'll see you soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm trying to deny the truth, but I can't... he'll be leaving soon.  Soon he'll be gone... these are our "lasts" for a while.  Will these memories be enough to hold us for the long span in between?  Are there enough kisses, caresses, or sweet words?  Can I hold him tight enough?  Will my memorization of his face, smell, or voice be good enough?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoughts about relationships...

I've been thinking a lot about relationships.  Relationships with our friends, our families, our spouses (lovers).  This quote popped up and it makes a lot of sense.  This is actually from a webcomic called "Something Positive":
"Sometimes people do things that hurt and it's not because they mean to. They just do. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with you, but you end up hurt because of it."
Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive Comic, 08-23-05

This goes along with the "Five Life Lessons" I posted earlier this year (see #1).

I do think that we should be aware of how our actions will effect others...but I also believe that sometimes hurt feelings are unavoidable.  My motto is: "Absit reverentia vero" (The truth shouldn't be silenced to spare someone.), and I think this fits perfectly with what Milholland wrote.

Referencing my last blog (and sticking with the relationship topic)... I realized I've been angry with my husband because I'm going to miss him while he's away.  While I know these feelings are normal, it makes me sad because I'd rather be angry than sad.  Is that a productive way to be?  No.  So, I've been trying not to be angry over stupid things that would normally not bother me.  Why waste time being angry?  Instead, I'm going to try and enjoy every minute we have together.  Now I just need to figure out what all I'd like for us to do before he leaves.

If you've gone through a deployment (or separation) before, what's something you wish you would have done?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm not crazy. I promise.

‎"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost

A couple weeks ago I came across a publication entitled "The 7 Stages of Deployment."  It gave the 7 common emotional cycles that people go through before/during/after a deployment.  Here are the 7 stages:
Stage 1 – Anticipation of Loss
Stage 2 – Emotional Withdrawal
Stage 3 – Emotional Confusion/Disorganization
Stage 4 – Adjustment/Recovery
Stage 5 – Expectation of Reunion
Stage 6 – Honeymoon
Stage 7 – Readjustment


Stage 1: Anticipation of Loss

-6-8 weeks prior to deployment.

-Some feelings: Denial, fear, anger, resentment, hurt.   
-Activities: Financial planning, car and home preventative maintenance, updating records of emergency data.

This stage occurs four to six weeks before deployment. During this time it is hard for a woman to accept the fact that her husband is going to leave her. She may find herself crying unexpectedly at songs, TV shows, and other such silly things that would not normally affect her. These incidents allow her to release some of her pent-up emotions. There is a lot of tension during this period as both husband and wife try to cram in a multitude of projects and activities: There are bikes and cars to fix, roofs to repair, deadbolts to install, garages to clean, family to visit, neighbors and friends to invite over, etc.

The wife will have some unexpressed anger, and the couple may bicker even though they usually do not. This can be upsetting if it is viewed out of context. Although unenjoyable, these arguments can be functional. They provide one way for the couple to put some emotional distance between themselves in their preparation for living apart. It is hard for a wife to feel warm and loving toward her husband when she is mad at him, and as one woman said, "Its easier to let him go." Other frequent symptoms of this stage include restlessness (productivity), depression, and irritability. While women feel angry or resentful (He's really going to leave me alone with all this), men tend to feel guilty (There's no way I can get everything done that I should before I leave.)

Stage 2: Emotional Withdrawal

-1 week prior to deployment.
-Some feelings: Confusion, ambivalence, anger, pulling away.
-Activities: Talking, sharing, fighting, setting goals to achieve during deployment.

In many ways, this is the most difficult stage. It occurs sometime in the final days before departure. Such statements as, "I know I should be enjoying these last few days together but all I want to do is cry." indicates a sense of despair or hopelessness. The marriage is out of the couples control. Although they push ahead trying to complete the list that never gets any shorter, the wife often feels a lack of energy and is fatigued. Making decisions becomes increasingly difficult.


Stage 3: Emotional Confusion/Disorganization

-1-6 weeks after departure.
-Some feelings: Sense of abandonment, need, loss, emptiness, pain, disorganization.
-Activities: Crying, loss or abundance of sleep and appetite, busy, goal activation.

No matter how prepared wives think they are, the actual deployment still comes as a shock. An initial sense of relief that the pain of saying good-bye is over may be followed by guilt. They worry, "If I really love him, why am I relieved that hes gone?" They may feel numb, aimless, and without purpose. Old routines have been disrupted and without purpose. Old routines have been disrupted and new ones not yet established. Many women are depressed and withdraw from friends and neighbors, especially if the neighbors husbands are home. They often feel overwhelmed as they face total responsibility for family affairs. Many women have difficulty sleeping, suddenly aware that they are the security officer, others sleep excessively. A wife may feel some anger at her husband because of things he did not say, or maybe he didn't provide for her physical security by installing deadbolts.

Wives often report feeling restless (though not productive), confused, disorganized, indecisive, and irritable. The unspoken question is, "What am I going to do with this hole in my life?" Whereas wives experience a sense of being overwhelmed, husbands report feeling lonely and frustrated. Unfortunately, a few women get stuck at this stage, either unable or unwilling to move on emotionally; they will both have and cause problems throughout the cruise.

Stage 4: Adjustment/Recovery

-Most of the deployment.
-Some feelings: Hope, confidence, calm, less anger, loneliness.
-Activities: Establishing routine, establishing communications, self-growth.

At some point, wives may realize, "Hey, I'm doing OK!" They have established new family patterns and settled into a routine. They have begun to feel more comfortable with the reorganization of roles and responsibilities. Broken arms have been tended, mowers fixed, cars tuned up, and washing machines bought. Each successful experience adds to their self confidence. The wives have cultivated new sources of support through friends, church, work, wives groups, etc. They often give up real cooking for cruise food; they may run up higher long-distance phone bills and contact old friends.

Dr. Alice Snyder of Family Services Center, Norfolk, calls the women "single wives" as they experience both worlds. Being alone brings freedom as well as responsibility. They often unconsciously find themselves referring to, "My house, my car, my kids." As a group, they are more mature, and they are more outwardly independent. This stage is one of the benefits of being a wife: Each woman has the opportunity to initiate new activities, accept more responsibilities, and stretch herself and her abilities “all while secure in being married." Nevertheless, all the responsibility can be stressful, and wives may find that they are sick more frequently. Many women continue to feel mildly depressed and anxious. Isolation from both their husbands and their own families can leave them feeling vulnerable. There is not much contact with men “by choice or design" and women may begin to feel asexual. On the whole, though, most women have a new sense of independence and freedom and take pride in their ability to cope alone.

Stage 5: Expectation of Reunion

-6-8 weeks prior to homecoming.
-Some feelings: Apprehension, excitement, high expectations, worry, fear.
-Activities: Planning homecoming, cleaning, dieting, loss of sleep, completion of individual projects.

Approximately four to six weeks before the troops are due back, wives often find themselves saying, "Ohmigosh, hes coming home and I'm not ready!" That long list of things to do while he's gone is still unfinished. The pace picks up. There is a feeling of joy and excitement in anticipation of living together again. Feelings of apprehension surface as well, although they are usually left unexpressed.

This is a time to reevaluate the marriage. That hole that existed when their husbands left did get filled with tennis classes, church, a job, new friends, school, - and now they instinctively know that they must clean house in their lives in order to make room for the men to return. Most experience an unconscious process of evaluation, "I want him back, but what am I going to have to give up?" Therefore, they may feel nervous, tense, and apprehensive.

The wives are concerned about the effect the husbands return will have on their lives and their childrens: "Will he understand and accept the changes that have occurred in us? Will he approve of the decisions I made? Will he adjust to the fact that I can't go back to being dependent?" The husbands are anxious, too, wondering, "How have we changed? How will I be accepted? Will the kids know me? Does my family still need me?"

Most women bury these concerns in busywork. Once more, there is a sense of restlessness (but productive) and confusion. Decisions become harder to make and may be postponed until the homecoming. Women become irritable again and may experience changes in appetite. At some point, a psychological decision is made. For most women, it is. "Do I want him back? You bet! I can't wait to see him!"


Stage 6: Honeymoon

-Day 1 until the first argument.
-Some feelings: Euphoria, blur of excitement.
-Activities: Talking, re-establishing intimacy, readjusting.

This stage, too, is one in which the husband and wife are together physically but not necessarily emotionally. They have to have some time together and share experiences and feelings before they feel like a couple again. They both need to be aware of the necessity to refocus on the marriage. For instance; After one of the wives husbands had been home for a few days, she became aggravated with him when he would telephone his bunkmate every time something of importance came up within the family finally declaring, "I'm your wife. Talk to me!" During this stage, the task is to stop being single spouses and start being married again.

Most women sense a loss of freedom and independence while a minority is content to become dependent once more. Routines established during the tour are disrupted: "I have to cook a real dinner every night!?" This causes the wives to feel disorganized and out of control.

Although most couples never write it down, there is a "Contract in every marriage " a set of assumptions and expectations on which they base their actions. During this stage, the couple has to make major adjustments in roles and responsibilities; before that can happen, they must undertake an extensive renegotiation of that unwritten contract. The marriage cannot and will not be exactly the same as before the tour: both spouses have had varied experiences and have grown in different ways, and these changes must be accommodated.

Too much togetherness initially can cause friction after so many months of living apart. More than one wife has had to cope with the fleeting shock of wondering, "Who's that man in my bedroom!?" Some resent their husbands making decisions that should be theirs. Still others question, "My husband wants me to give up all my activities while he's home. Should I?" On the other hand, the husband may wonder, "Why do I feel like a stranger in my own home?" All of these concerns and pressures require that husband and wife communicate with each other.

Assumptions will not work. Some find that talking as we go along works best, while others keep silent until, "We had our first good fight, cleared the air, and everythings OK now." Sexual relations, ardently desired before the return, may initially seem frightening. Couples need sufficient time together to become reacquainted before they can expect true intimacy.

This stage can be difficult as well as joyful. But it does provide an opportunity offered to few civilian couples; the chance to evaluate what changes have occurred within themselves, to determine what direction they want their growth to take, and to meld all this into a renewed and refreshed relationship.

Stage 7: Readjustment

-6-8 weeks following return. 
-Some feelings: Uncomfortable, role confusion, satisfaction.
-Activities: Re-negotiating relationships, redefining roles, settling in

Sometime within the four to six weeks after the homecoming, wives notice that they have stopped referring to "My car, my house, my bedroom, using instead, our or we." New routines have been established for the family, and the wives feel relaxed and comfortable with their husbands. There is a sense of being a couple and a family. They are back on the same track emotionally and can enjoy the warmth and closeness of being married.

Reading this makes me feel a lot less crazy. 

Monday, November 15, 2010


Today I found out that I have only 3 classes left until I can graduate with my Associates Degree.  It may not seem like a big deal, but it's taken me 10 years to complete 5 semesters' worth of work.  Between getting married, having a baby, and dealing with some health problems and a LOT of moves... it's been a long 10 years and I still have a long way to go.  So am I going to go into Memory Research?  Or do I want to steer a new course towards something entirely different?  I have time to figure that out.  I just enrolled in my last three classes... and we'll see where I go from there.

I was feeling very down last week about not having "Accomplished" anything, and now I am so close to one of my goals.  What is your favorite accomplishment?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good news/Bad news

Today I am thankful for my Neti Pot. I would most likely still be in bed without it. This last week included getting the flu and a nasty sinus/head cold. How did I get so lucky? But this week also included my hubby buying me some lotion tissues and bringing the box to me all opened up and ready to use (at 2am I might add) and some good family cuddles. While being sick isn't the greatest, being loved is. And so is my stainless steel NettiPot. My NP always reminds me of my oldest sister, she was the one that bought it for me and it's one of the best and most useful gifts I've ever received. When you think about buying someone a gift snot doesn't usually come to mind, but I love practical things. What is the most practical gift you've ever received?

I'm going to be working seasonally at a warehouse to make some extra $, and the job wasn't supposed to start until next week, but now it starts this week. I am excited that I get a whole extra week of work, but I hope I can kick this cold before my first day of work. And now I have to cancel my lunch date for Thursday. So sad.

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Thoreau

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Slow down!!!

It's November, I'm back home, and my first Yellow Ribbon meeting is this weekend.  I wish I could slow time for the next few months.  Next year can go quickly, in fact, I'd prefer it go as quickly as possible.  I keep reminding myself to breathe, to relax.  I have to put such an effort into relaxing that I feel guilty I'm neglecting my homework... but I'd rather spend time with my husband right now that reading Plato's philosophies (what a groaner).

I have decided that I am going to look at my hubby's deployment as a good thing.  It is a good thing and I think it would be bad for me to look at it so negatively.  Yes, I am not happy that we'll be apart for approximately a year.  That is not an exciting idea.  But, he is serving our country... and helping us reach our goal of owning a home.  He's setting a good example for our son, and supporting our family.  And while he's away, I am going to continue school, work, and raise our son.  I really really don't want to complain... and I don't want my friends to pity me.  Neither of us feel a need for even an ounce of pity.  My hubby joined with both of us understanding the high possibility of a deployment, and yeah, it'll be hard, but it is not something that was forced on us and it's not a tragedy. A lot of our friends don't agree with the war and see deployment as a very negative thing... and while I may not agree with certain aspects of the war, I am not going to see his deployment as something negative and I do not see US presence in Afghanistan as a negative thing either.

Anyway... so right now I'm avoiding homework (I have an essay, two quizzes, and my normal weekly assignments do) and not working on my word count for NaNoWriMo.  I am excited that I joined up this year and I'm enjoying my story (1688 words so far).  Back to work (homework) and then to back to my Novel.

My goal this week is to stay positive... and work through all my emotions before the meeting this weekend.  I don't want to have breakdown at the meeting.  But I am looking forward to meeting spouses who've been through this before.