For the most part … usually … on the average day … deployment isn’t that bad for me. I mean, I miss Josh, of course, and being a pseudo-single parent is the pits, but I manage. I am pretty busy most of the time with three kids’ activities and the general doings of being a housewife, and that’s a big help. I have volunteer work that I love and am passionate about. Most importantly, I am lucky enough to belong to a great support system of ladies who really take care of each other during deployment. I wear a smile most every day and know just how lucky I am to live this crazy life. I have all the tools necessary to not only survive, but thrive through deployment.
But in every single deployment, I get to a point where I.am.done.
I am done with Aubrey and Sydney’s everyday arguments, and I am done with Alli’s constant jibber-jabber. I am done picking up shoes everywhere, rinsing crusty milk glasses, and rushing to the curb when I forget garbage day. I am done being the only chauffeur and the only laundress. I am tired of being the disciplinarian and all the mean-mom feelings that build up because I’m the only one right now. And on top of all that, when I am “done” with everything else, it seems every single day of missing him a little builds into one giant dear-god-when-is-he-coming-home? emotional mess.
When I am done my smiles fades. When I am done my patience disappears, and my shoulders begin to sag.
And when I get to that “done” place I know it’s time for my ugly cry.
And then I pull out my secret weapons.
Yep. I pull out every sad movie I can find, grab a box of Kleenex, and cry away an entire afternoon. It’s not about perspective or remembering lessons or anything philosophical like that. It’s about emotional release. When I’m bawling graveside with Sally Field or bravely crawling into Kate’s hospital bed one last time, I don’t have time to think about the overflowing laundry, the near-constant fighting, or the oh-so-in-need-of-a-trim lawn. For one afternoon there is nothing but tears for other mothers and sisters and boyfriends that I only know through celluloid. I cry for mother’s who lose their daughters, and I cry for little girls who lose their best friends far too soon. I cry for all of them. For one afternoon I freaking bawl my eyes, no judgement, no shame … puffy face, snot rolling, an ocean of tissue surrounding me like I’m some sort of tearful island.
And then … I make dinner.
I take a deep breath and wade into the laundry, and I “please-be-nice-she’s-your-sister!” a few more times. I make a grocery list and check the calendar for the coming week’s activities, and I do it all with a lighter heart. Because I have let it all go. The frustration and loneliness and bad feelings … all gone.
It isn’t pretty, but it works for me.
For the most part … usually … on the average day … I have a “keep your chin up” attitude, but once in a while when the single parenting is too much … when the chores are winning … when I am simply done, a good ugly cry can make me smile once again.