This weekend I will have the chance to work on something creative! It feels like forever since I’ve been able to have enough time to dedicate to a project. I can’t remember the last time I crocheted something. I last used my serger to make baby wipes, last year. And the last time I used my sewing machine since before the bumble butt was born, it was to sew uniform patches on. Super exciting stuff.
My dad has a pen making shop in the backyard, a hobby he picked up while spending time in Japan during his last deployment in the Navy. His pens are aboard the USS America, the John C Stennis (and not only in the hands of my sailor) and they are at the Pentagon. Yes, that Pentagon.
If you would like to check out his Etsy shop, Write4YourLife, I set up for him, these pens make fabulous gifts and are completely customizable.
They look really good, huh? This one is acrylic but he also makes them in many other materials: a variety of woods, including dual and tri-tones, water buffalo horn and the center of a corn of cob.
The Stennis finally pulled into its (her?) home port yesterday afternooon. And while my sailor has been home a little over a week, there was a sense of finality knowing his ship is home too. I grew up the daughter of a top-sider, and life married to a man considered ship’s company is much different. Wherever the ship goes, he goes, and it has spent a lot of time away lately.
It is easy to get sucked into a negative frame of mind. The game of if/then is effortless, but rarely offers much comfort. Even now that he is home, I have caught myself thinking if he had never left……blah. It doesn’t do any good.
I consider us lucky because of our timing arriving here, he wasn’t on the whole 2011-2012 deployment as well. He joined the ship when they were six weeks out; when others aboard had been gone for six months at that point.
I consider us lucky that the sailor is “stuck” on the Stennis a few more years.. That we aren’t like several people he has mentioned, just getting back from an eight month deployment and transferring to a ship just getting underway for their deployment. I don’t want to imagine how hard three back to back deployments would be.
I consider us lucky that our son was immediately comfortable in my husband’s arms, and that they have carried on as if they were never separated. That all cries except the “I am certain I am starving” cry are (fairly) quickly and easily solved by someone other than me. He may have been gone fifteen of the last twenty months. He may only have just met our son. And he may have gotten pooped on today, but he his home.
My blog feels a little dead, I will admit that. My mom was visiting, and with my husband’s homecoming breathing down my neck, I’ve been doing my best to stay busy. In the haze of activity, the bumble butt has been sleep regressing and teething and reaching a new, small developmental milestone each day. It’s amazing.
There is something magical about watching a tiny human grow up before your eyes. To go from the newborn days of the eat/sleep/poop/cry cycle, to a baby that is rolling over and laughing, scooting in circles on the floor and blowing raspberries. I didn’t think my blog would be consumed by baby talk once the little man was here, but it’s kind of hard to not talk about him. His sometimes happy, sometimes grumpy face is the first thing I see every morning, and the last thing I see at night. Make that multiple times a night.
I bought a camcorder, to capture all these little memories, and it was definitely one of those purchases that made me feel old. I mean, I can vaguely remember the boom-box sized camcorder my parents used to record my antics as a kid back in the 90’s… and the fact that my size reference is an out-dated music player kind of seals the deal. I somehow went from being a kid myself, to having one, in what feels like no time at all. Anyway.. I can hear the little dragon stirring from his nap.
It hit me today that my little boy isn’t so little anymore. Sure, he’s only twelve pounds, but he started off at seven and some change. His newborn clothes have been packed away for a few weeks now, and he’s running out of room in his 0-3 months things fast. After a day of spitting up and many outfit changes I had run out of his cozy sleep’n’play “pjs” in his current size and he almost fit into a six month size. Just a few more weeks and he’ll be long enough, big enough.
This deployment baby thing is so much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. I knew being alone for so many months with him would test my patience; would allow me to prove how much I really, really want and love him. I feel incredibly blessed to be his everything, for the time being. The reason he is growing, smiling, changing into this not-so-little, little boy.
The growing up is hard though. Collecting all these precious and priceless moments with him, knowing at the same time my husband will never know him this small. I do my best to make sure he knows of him.. knows about him, but I know it’s not the same. No emailed picture makes up a whole memory.
I am looking forward to the day I get to introduce this little bee to his daddy. And to the day he finds just as much comfort in his dad’s arms as mine. Those moments are worth waiting for..
Two months ago I was apprehensive about her staying with me, but her help has been invaluable during the seven weeks she was here. I can’t say it enough, that I appreciate her helping me out. She helped me with so much around the house, cooked meals for me when I was too pregnant and once the baby was here, too tired. Walked with me to kick-start labor, and stayed by my side through the entire delivery of her grandson. She was the emotional support I needed to make it through those first few sleepless weeks. Helped me through becoming a new mom, and navigating how to communicate with my husband who is a new dad, but doesn’t feel like it or accept it yet.
I’m scared to be alone with a baby, even though he is mine. It’s an overwhelming and scary thought knowing that I will have to be everything he needs, and knowing that I will fall short sometimes.. I know that I’ll have to “work it out” because as a deployment-generated “single mother” that’s the only choice I have.
It’s a sad thing to admit that I’m looking forward to my husband coming home, but at the same time, I know it will be another hard transition. Thank God for all the baby smiles and coos and memories in the making that will get me through.
And as my grandma always told me, so my mom told my son, “I can’t come back if I never leave.”
Nothing seems to be coming easy to me lately, and it’s all a frustrating and pointless struggle to stay emotionally afloat during this deployment. There’s this song that goes, “am I supposed to be happy, when all I ever wanted, it comes with a price?” May be a bit of an immature point to conclude, but it fits. I feel like every good thing in my life is shrouded under some little black cloud of darkness. It leads me to feeling blessed but very, very unlucky.
It’s been two months to the day that they left, almost nine calendar weeks. It feels like months longer than that. And it will be months longer until they get to come home again. I don’t know why this deployment feels so different than previous underways or separations that we’ve had, and we’ve had more than our fair share. Before we got engaged we spent eight months apart. After we got engaged, we spent the six months before our wedding apart. After we were married, we spent six weeks apart while I finished up my college degree. We were together roughly three months this year, of which only two were mostly consecutive in terms of weeks spent at home. And we fought all the time.
This year has been rough on our marriage, but it’s been worse on our friendship. And now that he’s gone and getting into the “swing” of life away, I just feel like *our life* has been put on pause from his end… but I’m still here living it alone. I’m still having our baby in a few weeks. I’m still keeping up with our house and our bills and pretending that the bed doesn’t feel so empty when I go to sleep at night.
It’s so hard having to remind myself that this isn’t a permanent situation, that I’m doing this alone but I am not exactly a single mother, that I do still have a husband, somewhere, on the other side of the world. When emails are few and far in between and even those that get through don’t say what I need to hear.. When my midwife rambles on about how new dads get involved at the hospital and I have to stop her because he won’t be there. When I have to wonder how old our son will be when he meets his daddy for the first time. When I let myself think how epically unfair this whole situation is, and how no one who hasn’t been exactly where I am right now could possibly know.
I don’t know how to find resolution. I’ve tried prayer. I’ve tried distracting myself with crafts, friends, plain ignorance but none of those things last very long.
One of my main baby groups is for Stennis mommies that will be pregnant during this deployment. The main theme connecting us all is that our husbands left eight weeks ago, and won’t be back until May or so.. Most of us will have our babies alone, with the few stragglers at the end hoping their husbands make it back in time for the birth of their child. The most difficult fact being, we don’t exactly know when they will be back..
Last night one of the members outed herself to fact that her husband never left. Several of us were shocked. Why join a group to support the “single mommy status” a deployment forces us into, when you’ve got your husband sleeping next to you every night… when he will be able to drive you to the hospital when you’re in labor… when he’ll be there when your child is born??? I wouldn’t care so much, except every other day she’s posting non-stop about her labor fears of “doing it alone” and starting drama on the board by saying that she’s too afraid to breastfeed so will be formula feeding and “who said breast is best anyway because that’s just not true.”
So I private messaged her and asked her to back off the page a bit, because the reason it was created was because we are doing this alone, and she clearly is not in the same situation. And she replied back to me stating that I was just jealous. Oh no, she didn’t. A girl mooching attention and support and rides from women who literally have to be strong enough to go through this alone. Writing posts complaining about her husband in a way that makes it sound like he’s on the other side of the world, with our husbands!! But he’s not, he’s here. It didn’t phase her at all, didn’t occur to her to have a little disclosure about her husband’s un-deployed status instead of using people. She didn’t get it. It was like talking to a wall.
I would say that I might be the only one to find her posting and participation a bit insensitive, but I know I’m not, because I was on Facebook messaging several other members of the group last night. I am all for supporting other women through pregnancy, because more often than not it is not like they show in the movies… but pretending all along that your husband is gone and posting about how you’re not sure who will be with you when your child is born so that you “blend in” is just cruel. Brings out the ugly side of the internet and I really don’t want anything to do with that this morning.