Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm an Ingalls - It's How We Roll

One of the most frequent phrases I have heard since my husband found out he was going to deploy is "I would never be able to go without my husband for a year" or (variation) "I don't know how you do it!" And then people look at me as though I'm sort of a super human because I'm not a complete wreck with my husband being gone.

The truth is, I've never understood that sentiment. Women have been sending there husband's off to war since time immemorial. Most under conditions far worse than the situation that I am in. They would go for months, even years, hearing nothing from their husbands, raising their children and frequently having to eke out a living with no phones or computers or internet. These women were the true super heros.

For me, I'm just doing what I have to do to make it day by day. And honestly? I'm doing ok. Yes, I miss my husband like crazy; we're only a month into this and I'm already ready to be done. I have my moments that I break down and cry. Sometime if feel like throwing a crying fit to rival my daughter's - and that's really something - few people can throw a crying fit like she can! But most of the time I really am ok.

So how do I do it? Part of it is attitude. I look at it and say there is absolutely nothing I can do to change this so I might as well put on my big girl panties and deal with it. That's just life.

Part of it is being smart. (hey, STOP laughing!!!) By smart, I mean, admitting that I have limitations and knowing what those limitations are. Raising two small kids by myself in an area where I had no support group...that was a huge limitation for me. Just a few days without my husband and I turned into a complete wreck! So I am staying with family for the next year where I have an incredible support group...and built in babysitters!

Part of it is being a Christian. There is a huge amount of peace to be found in the Word of God. And a pretty powerful feeling to be found in prayer. Knowing that I have Someone that I can talk to that actually can, and does, control things? Yeah, that's pretty awesome. Learning to trust is the hard part.

But part of it is just being an Ingalls. It's something in our genes. We are sheer stubbornness and pride.We are strong. We are survivors. There is absolutely nothing that we can't do when we set our minds to it. And I see a challenge and there and I will do it because I am that strong.

Do I like it? No!

 Do I want to do it? That is a totally unqualified NO!

But I will do it. And I'll do it in a way that makes my husband as proud of me as I am of him.

I am an Army wife. I knew what is I was in for when my husband signed up for this life. And I'm an Ingalls. You just can't beat those genetics!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Two of a kind

Most people don't know that my daughter is named after my sister (no, her name is not the Big Diva!). My sister, Christi, and I, despite the 9 year age gap, have always had a very special and close relationship. It is something that time and distance have not been able to diminish. We talk, or text, pretty much every day. We have shared clothes, stories, jewelry, food, even housing - and although we've never shared our husbands we have occasionally considered trading children!

Life in the military took us thousands of miles apart resulting in us not being able to spend as much time together as either of us would like. Couple that with the fact that my daughter is rather slow to connect with people and extremely choosy in who she shares her affection with I was a bit nervous about how quickly she would warm up to my sister when she came out to help us finish packing and make the journey to Wisconsin after my husband deployed. Much to my surprise, within the first day my daughter attached herself like a little leach to "Irsti" and she became not just the favorite aunt but her favorite person.

For the next three weeks my little diva became my sister's constant shadow. Which was a huge relief for me since it made the transition of Daddy leaving and settling it at my parents house so much easier. Now my sister has headed back to her home down south and both my little Diva and I are missing her sorely. But I'm thankful for the time that we were all able to spend together and for the relationship that they were able to build. And I'm looking forward to getting to spend some time with 'Irsti and her family in December :)

'Irsti and Ana on Day 1!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And This is Just the Beginning

A little over two weeks ago I said a tearful goodbye to my husband as he headed off to the Middle East for a year. Then my sister and I loaded my kiddos into my over-packed Durango to make the long trek from Washington to Wisconsin.

Day One saw us make our way through the beautiful mountain of Washington, part of Idaho and into Montana all to the tune of Curious George and my poor son's cries. By 2200 hours (that's 10 PM) we were all ready to stop for the night. I pulled off the exit into Missoula, Montana, where there were multitudes of hotels, assuming that I'd have my pick of places. Boy was I wrong!

The first stop, right off the exit, informed me they were all booked up. I thought it was strange but figured it was just some sort of conference or rally as there were several motorcycles sitting in the parking lot. Then the second place I stopped at was also completely booked - I started getting a little concerned. When the desk clerk at the third hotel informed me that they had booked their last room about an hour earlier I was about ready to cry. He very kindly informed me that, as far as he knew, it was just early 4th of July holiday traffic and, feeling a little pity for me, called around to find somewhere with a room.

Armed with my new information I headed back out to the Durango to get our room at the fourth hotel that was approximately five minutes away. Only, I took a wrong turn and five minutes turned into nearly an hour. We finally made it to our hotel, checked in, and started unloading luggage and babies. By this time it was after 2300 hours and my poor little diva, who had barely slept in the Durango, was beyond tired and having a melt down so I had my sister give her a bath while I carried things in.

Which would have been a great idea if the little diva hadn't decided to excrete the pint of strawberries that she had consumed earlier that the tub! I tried to clean it up as best I could but the loose floaties plugged up the already excruciatingly slow drain. It was late enough that we decided to skip showers and just crashed for the night. The next morning a rather embarrassed me told the very understanding desk clerk about our tub mishap as I checked out.

It took us a total of four days cooped up in the cramped vehicle logging in over 30 hours of drive time to cover the nearly 2000 miles to my parents house. I'm honestly not sure who was the most excited to finally pull in that driveway but I strongly suspect it was our sore tired tooshies!!!

With all our travels the full impact of my husband's deployment wasn't really setting in. This has been helped by the fact that we have been able to talk nearly every day and even Skype a few times since my husband has internet in his room. Slowly the realization that my husband is gone is becoming a reality. Especially as I am on what was supposed to be our family vacation and I just wish he could be here with us. Already I am ready to be done with this year long journey...but I have an awesome support group in my family and I am absolutely determined to make it through this becoming a stronger and better wife. And I am so thankful for modern technology. I just can't imagine how difficult it must have been for those that went months without hearing anything from their loved ones and having only letters which crossed in the mail.

This is just the beginning of a very long journey...

A Little Skype Fun with my Husband!!!