Sunday, November 13, 2011


On my way home today I filled the car with the gas that I will use to go get him at the airport. Then at the grocery store I bought the milk he will drink later this week. Wearing my favorite boots with real wood heels, I've been stomping around all day like I own this place. Although you wouldn't have heard me coming, I never made a sound. It looks like I'm walking, but I'm three feet off the ground.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Run on, sweet Momma.

Yesterday I ran the farthest I've ever run. 9 miles. Today my knees are wrecked and I'm wondering how on earth people do this. Learning and doing with all this recent running interest, perhaps I am turning into "one of those" people. Crap. I used to love making fun of the athletic types (no offense).

My route took me up College Station and Riverbend parkway. Deep into the heart of co-Ed territory, I was certain that my natural swagger and wearing two sports bras totally let me pass as an undergrad. That is until a Honda Civic almost took out my knee while I had the light to cross the street. Cell phone chatty little blonde girl got a stern look and a very mom-tastic index finger wag. Yes, that blew my cover. Even sans minivan, I'm not a colleg girl anymore. As for the double sports bra requirement, two kids and a 40 lb weight loss. You fill in the blanks. I'd go on to lend the descriptive phrase PANCAKES. but that would be too much info.

Then came the coup de GRAS. Riverbend Pkwy follows along the backside of the UGA golf course. Gorgeous possible dream homes with more than a few FOR SALE flags a flying. Holy cats, Rob, I have found us the perfect Athens place to live. Wooded and golf-tastic for you, not removed from civilization and oh so fabulous yet unique homes to choose from pour moi. I wanted to squeeee from excited, but didn't have the oxygen requirements. This would be perfect, and I've got the wants. Just sayin'.

To recap, my training run took me from where I was not so long ago, a sweet college gal with perky pre-baby breasties to where I'm heading. A home we would love and grow in for many years in the town that has become our home. My run also took me right back to where we are, our quaint little rental we'll leave in May to start a new Navy adventure in California. I like to pretend we're never leaving Athens. A girl can dream, eh?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Doing it. Doing it well.

We've move past being able to just handle this deployment. Overwhelmed transitioned to capable within a few weeks.

Then came two flat tires in one week, 7 total ear infections, kicking in the back door when Grace locked Fin inside, having to put our sweet Suzie dog to sleep, a few phone calls to poison control, and a crazy me thinking it was a good idea to run a half marathon (Oct. 23rd, by the way).

Also came a few very dedicated babysitters, family happy hours with great friends, lots of fabulous summer birthday parties, fun & helpful visits from family, help from pals in a moment's notice, wine soaked yarn breaks every Thursday night at the local knitting shop, an amazing 100lbs weight loss (40 of Lilah + 60 of Rob, I'm impressed, feel free to agree), and a crazy me thinking it was a good idea to run a half marathon.

When spelled out like that, it seems like quite a bit of sh*t in the past six months. But, these are also everyday occurances that could happen to anyone in that length of time. They just simply happened to me, and just me to deal with. While always trying steady my stride along this journey, I often felt like a chaotic mess when the bad things happened.

Somehow along the way, I've found my stride. Day to day as a single parent has become the new norm. Recently, the earthy barista-boy at the local coffee shop commented, that as a minivan driving supermom, I was "living the dream." He's right, I am living the dream.

So what if I've learned to cram 3-4 tasks in 45 second increments while heating Fin's food just so? Carrying way more than I could handle at once was bound to result in an injury to my dominant wrist, right? (a surgical repair of this creepy ganglion cyst while Rob is home, stand by). Multitasking and efficiency have become as natural as anticipating when my child is fine or about to fall. A Mother's instinct is finely tuned to the needs of her own children, mine just had to become more acute and purposeful.

Despite mastering how to juggle parenting one-handed (ha, I only meant figuratively), I've learned when to ask for help. This was probably the biggest challenge. Of course I have to do more and go longer, but the breaks and support are still needed. It goes against human nature to ask for assistance, but FINALLY I've realized this is not a sign of weakness or defeat. Just like the training I've been doing, to build strength and endurance you need to give your body the rest it needs in order to recover and build your strongs.

Come October 23rd, I'll be pounding the pavement through the streets of Athens a pokey 12min/mile pace. A crazy me thinking it was a good idea to run a half-marathon. All 13.1 miles of it. With six weeks left until my Rob comes home, I'm already in a dead sprint. Each stride propelling me faster, and my heart threatening to beat out of my chest. I'm not running, I'm flying.

Dear Deployment, I've just made you my bitch.
V/R, Lilah Kalloch

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Friday, September 9, 2011

lots of pressure

Yesterday when my car alerted me to low tire pressure, I stopped and fixed the problem myself. More specifically, I dug out my tire gauge, manually confirmed the low pressure situation, filled the tires with air, & rechecked just be sure. All. By. My. Self.

I'm not ashamed to admit this is the first time I've done this. I'm proud that now I have done it and am capable of not just doing it again in the future, but maybe showing my kids how to take a swing at self-sufficiency as well. May not have been an item to check off my bucket list, but the task was enough self satisfaction to make my morning feel like a win.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Athens size heartache

I just ran into my doctor at the Y, turns out we have a mutual friend in my knitting pal. Earlier today I took Fin to see his pediatrician, who called twice this weekend to check on him and make sure his fever wasn't cooking his future smarts.
Seems like I can't go anywhere without running into someone I know, and most of the time like. A lot of the circles I've socialized my biznass in intertwine in more ways than I know.
I love this about Athens. It's my babies' hometown. I would adopt it as my own if my own hometown didn't kick so much ass (birthplace of Chester Greenwood, inventor of the earmuffs, for realz).
Dear sweet Athens, when are you going to loosen your grip on my heart??

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fin, here's the you in eustachian tubes

My dear boy Finley at 13 months old is now five for five with ear infections. He's had an ear infection at least each month for the past 5 months. This is absurd considering it is not even cold and flu season. My poor baby with the hurty ears is causing not nearly enough sleep for this Madre.

Next week he is having tubes put in his ears to help drain any fluid that gets trapped behind the ear his ear drums. From what I understand, the immature anatomy of the eustachian tube is straight, and as kids grow, it becomes more angled, like an adult's. Without the angle the fluid does no drainy-drain and bacteria starts breeding like the kids on Teen Mom. Fin gets a fever, doesn't sleep, is uncomfortable/ in pain, and less than enjoyable to be around. (I would say he turns into a pint sized asshole, but a good mother would never say that about her precious child). He needs relief, we all need sleep, and I don't need to get acquainted w/ my pediatrician's weekly life.

The good news is this is a minor procedure and not uncommon.
That helps allay the guilt my wandering thoughts have led me to think I'm somehow at fault. This is normal and has nothing to do with the lack of nutrition he received in utero from Mommy Maximus Vomitus. At least this is what I keep telling myself.

When all my sarcasm is gone, no one's laughing at 3:00am when Finley is screaming in pain and I'm crying right along with him from loneliness & fatigue. The light is at the end of the tunnel, my dear boy. You are going to get some relief. And Mommy is going to get herself some much needed sleep.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Wine-thirty on a Friday night

I used to love Fridays, now pretty much hate them. My kids are in bed and I'm sitting with a large glass of Pinot Grigio, Housewives New York cued up, and my knitting on deck. I've turned into a bit of a Romona Singer lately with the Pinot obsession. She starts demanding it at any social event, I start pouring the moment my kids are in bed. Barefoot is my go-to brand. It's cheap, accessible, and not too class-less in taste.

Friday is weekend eve. For this family without a daddy, weekends suck a big one. A big part of deployment exhaustion is figuring out what we are going to do EVERY DAY. Balancing enough social time, trying not to burn out, but not too much laid back time to allow the lonely to take over. It's a very fine balance. Finding this balance is exhausting. The weekends prove to be the most challenging. Fortunately I am very lucky and blessed to have friends worth their salt in the friendship category. The kind of pals Hallmark pens their sappy cards about. Generous isn't even the word and the invitation is always present for our trio to join in. Even this is lonely. Sometimes returning home from a gathering with a sea full of daddies just makes the absence more profound and obvious. I love my friends and am beyond grateful for the support and socializing that keeps all of us sane. In a perfect world I would want Rob along with us. We miss him, it is that simple. We miss him when it is just us, we miss him amongst others, we miss him on the weekends, we miss him in the afternoon, skinnamarinky dinky dink, skinnamarinky do...
The wise, fabulous Carrie Bradshaw once remarked, "...the loneliness is palpable." (Depending on the which season, she could have been referring to Big, or Aiden, or a slew of any other tortured actor/musician/poet creative types that paraded through her bed). This must have struck a chord with me because I have always remembered this quote and for the moment rings my truth. The loneliness is palpable. The deployment vacuum that sucked out Rob's presence left a big, persistent pile of lonely in it's wake. No matter the distractions or the fun or all the busy living we are doing, it's always there. Sometimes big, sometimes small, always present. This family has a constant ache for it's missing member.

This deployment, however, is not getting the better of us. We are actually kicking ass and using potties lately. The exhaustion is part of the whole picture. This is a marathon and the hills are part of the terrain. Adrenaline, caffeine, & alcohol are key ingredients that keep me going. Feel free to judge after your first week on this course. Regardless if I'm dragging ass or not, I put on my super-mom cape every morning and give it my best each day. If this ends up a topic on their therapists' couch, at least my children can't claim I didn't try.

The single, solitary reason I am able to do this is because I love my job. The hours are brutal and going it alone requires more push than one might fathom. There is no doubt that I was meant to be this mother. This mother, right here, with these two babies. I may miss my husband, their father, our leader, my friend, but I have also learned to be enough. Someday I hope they will realize I would have moved heaven and earth to be plenty of enough. I love being a mom. I do, I love it. I love being THEIR mom. Sometimes I want to set them out by the curb for recycling with their Toy Story DVDs in the adjoining bin. Other times my heart threatens to explode with all the goodness journey du motherhood brings. My cup overflows, it may be overflowing sticky, messy apple juice or the like, but it is so very very worth it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

kicking ass and passing milestones

The days are incredibly busy. This helps because time is flying right by. The kids are also moving on up the developmental food chain. Especially Fin.

Just yesterday he took his army-crawl up on his knees and motors around ready to take on the world. Or at least eat any crayons Grace has left in her wake. Today I found him STANDING holding on to the coffee table, because apparently he can pull up now. Less than an hour later I handed him a sippy cup with ice water to gum on (lately it's been a mouth full of ouchies with all the teething action). He grabbed it and started drinking away at it. Wahht?! When did my baby figure this out?

Trying to test him, I called his bluff and handed him a snack-trap filled with Cheerios. In the time it took me to drive from our house to Grace's preschool he had already started to maneuver those chubby, dimpled phalanges of his in & out of the cup and then into his mouth. Awesome. Now he can feed and water himself, win. The interior of my car will be sporting more food bits than there are sequins on a drag gown, but this is a price I am willing to pay. Cheerios aren't a choking hazard, are they? The hole in the center must be a built in safety net.

Fin's growing rapidly. I need to take more photographic evidence of his adorable Popeye arms for the baby book. Someday I will cry over all these memories wondering how it all went so fast. But for right now I am the one trying to keep up with the two babies. Keep up, love on, take it all in, and remember this time as best I can for not just me. I am trying to store it all for the two of us.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Night Delights

Tonight's dinner special: whole wheat French toast sticks, turkey bacon, and sliced apples. I don't know which is better, having breakfast for dinner or shamelessly palming turkey bacon to my two-year old while waiting for the toaster oven to ding. The apples were just to relieve any lingering guilt. She never glanced twice at them and ate her weight in pork-product-esque fried turkey bits, but now I can sleep soundly for having at least tried.

I think it's a state law somewhere that when you burn a portion of dinner you are required to give the non-burny parts to the children. Even if she never touched her French toast sticks, Grace did have the most evenly toasted of the batch. One point for mom for caring.

There are much better things I could have fed the kids tonight, but there are also much worse things out there too. Frankly I don't give a shit. My actions are subconsciously driven to maintain my sanity at all times. You can look it up, it's in the "I am a decent mother, dammit" handbook. By the end of the night, we're all fed, no one's bleeding, and I've still got my wits about me. Let's call this a win.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

11 day Rob diet

We've been taking Rob's absence in baby steps. The first week we could Face Time with him via iPhone multiple times a day, and Grace loved starting the day cuddling in bed talking with Daddy. Now we don't get to Face Time every day, but every few days and talk to him once a day. When he arrives in Kuwait in a few weeks he will be halfway around the world and a bazillion time zones away. Since I'm "swimming in free time", I'm sure the kids and I will be sitting here expectantly in front of the webcam just waiting to chat.

Adventures in solo-parenting have been, adventurous (for lack of a better word). Turns out a lot of things weren't as I expected. That doesn't mean it was all bad, or all good. It was life, and I'm still alive to tell about it. So it must not have been that bad.

I'm not known for my patience. If patience is a virtue, then I am whatever the opposite of virtuous is. (Just ask my psychiatrist, he will atest to my need for "mommy's little helper" of an anti-depressent/mood stabilizer. No need to be ashamed of the pharmaceutical help, whatever keeps the kids unharmed and me off the evening news). I had assumed that I would be out of mom-ergy (the energy required to keep mothering throughout the day) by the second or third day. I've been getting lots of props from pals confessing they lose their cool if their husbands are late getting home. Well, duh. If you know the help is on the way, and it is delayed, obviously shit will end up hitting the fan (maybe even literally). I'm no hero, I lose my cool too when my hubs isn't home when he says. If you know the break isn't coming, you somehow ration your parenting energies to last throughout the day. I have tapped into an unknown spring of mom-durance (the endurance needed to single parent when needed). This was something I never expected of myself. I feel so mature and grown-up.

What I didn't expect was the loneliness. Incredible loneliness. I miss Rob's physical presence in the house. He left a t-shirt on the bed and I would bury my face in it just for his smell for days. Then the bacteria from the man-pits part of the shirt eventually took over and it became more odiferously offending rather than comforting.

It not just Rob I miss, but my life the way it was. I have a wealth of amazing friends and aquaintences here in Athens, so loneliness was the last thing I expected. I didn't consider that most of my social time is in the mornings when Grace is in pre-school. In Rob's absense I now need to take advantage of the time I have with just one child. Making sure I get some excercise, running erands, or getting a minute to clean up the house a bit has cut into my traditional routine of playdates and bliss. It is unrealistic to expect my friends to be free to socialize right when they are getting their breaks and their husbands are getting home, taking over some of the parenting load and destressing with their spouse at the end of the day (I don't mean sex, because I know putting-out is the last thing on the minds of the vast majority of stay-at-home moms by this time of day). I didn't write the rules of domesticity, but I am no stranger to living by them. This unexpected loneliness made me feel like I had moved into a glass box. Everything appeared as normal, but I was suddently separate and very different from everyone else.

To kick things up a notch, it rained all weekend. It made for the longest weekend of my life. Even Grace was begging for friends by the end of the day. In hindsight, the rain was ridiculously metaphoric. It made the new, uncomfortable situation at it's worst so I could learn that I really could do it.

I'm doing it all right. Now that I change all the diapers I realize that my children poop ALL DAY LONG. Cute on the outside, but on the inside they are pint-sized shit factories. One day I STOPPED counting at NINE diapers. Without fail, just as we are about to walk out the door, Fin usually has a red face and followed by grunting. It's like a sixth-sense for him; Mom's trying to get Grace to school on time, Fin's bowels hit the exit button.

Not only do I have to worry about the kids putting things in their ears, but me as well. I had to see my doctor this week thinking I lost my hearing on the right side due to impacted wax (eww). Once she got a look she informed me there was something small, white, and "manufactured-looking" in my ear. Really? (I wish I made this stuff up). Later in the day after a much needed nap, I awoke with full hearing. The mystery of what was in the my ear or how it could have gotten there may never be solved. It made for a weird day, but now I can fully appreciate the pitch of the kids' simultaneous meltdowns.

I also learned the hard way that if left alone for too long with a tube of Desitin within reach, Grace will cover not just herself, but also her brother with it. The universe is odd, because just like that, a Desitin coupon will also appear on my next Target receipt. Ask and ye shall recieve, I guess.

What I never expected was that I would love my children even more. One night during incredible thunderstorms it was revealed that our aged cancer-ridden Chihuahuah is not the only one terrified by the noise. Grace ran into my room full of fear. I snuggled her close and suggested we hold hands as we lay on our sides facing each other. We comforted each other the rest of the night as the man of the house slept soundlessly in his crib.

Last but not least, if heaven is a smell, it is a baby named Fin (when he is clean). My chubby little babe loves to rock to sleep, but by bedtime I am more than ready for an hour or two to myself to unwind. A few nights ago I was done in by Fin's charms. His soft rolls, cherub smile, sweet smell, and adoring giggles had me locked in. In that moment, I wished time could have stopped right there. The days are going by ridiculously fast, and I am often rushing around trying to do it all. My babies keep on growing, even without their dad here. It was in that moment I stopped my worrying and stopped my rushing and just was. I know that someday he will be a man, and before that he will be a boy. But just for right now, he is my baby.

It's been a learning curve learning to do this without Rob. It reminds me of being a new mom, and then having your second child. You stress about how it is going to be, take time to adjust, and then function just fine as if it was never any other way. I'm doing this, we're doing this. I couldn't be prouder.


We said goodbye to Rob eleven days ago. I've been meaning to write about this experience for, well, eleven days now, but my free time is incredibly limited and I am exhausted by the end of the day. Once the kiddos are down, I just want to park it in front of the all-American pastime (DVR reality shows on TV) and knit for some all too brief moments before I put myself to bed.

The Sunday Rob left was probably the hardest experience I had ever watched. He would tear up simply looking at the kids. Thankfully they were oblivious to what was going on. Me, I was numb. I had never known what numb really felt like until then. I found comfort in very simple things, how my hand knit sweater wrapped around me like a wool/alpaca hug, and the physical warmth from the coffee mug in my hands.

Once we left the house, we were both instantly better before we had even exited the neighborhood. Like a band aid, we needed to rip it off and the build-up of Rob leaving the kids was worse than the actual event. I was thankful Rob drove and I could release tension from my fingers into my knitting. Some people are emotional eaters, I'm an emotional knitter. I love deftly maneuvering my fingers into beautiful patterns with expensive yarns. The rhythm is repetitive, trance like, and incredibly soothing. I knit when I'm happy, sad, mad, bored, or anxious. This day it was the anxiety of upcoming days, weeks, months of single parenthood that drove me to my treasured pastime.

Checking in to Atlanta Hartfield Airport was seamless and so very mundane. The everyday hustle and bustle of air travel continued all around us as I was treading inexperienced waters. Should I have been visibly upset? Resentful? Sad? Listless? Really I just felt numb. I watched as servicemen and women walked along on their way to destinations unknown. Some travelled to much more dangerous places, some for double the time of Rob's deployment, some even for a return trip to the Middle East they never expected. I also knew that some were on they're way home. To loved ones, spouses and children who missed them dearly, babies they had conceived but never met, and dogs who would would never forget them despite lengthy absences. An incredibly analytical person, I watched and took in the scenes around me with a new set of eyes. I felt excitement for the day Rob will return home and so incredibly thankful for the duration and location of his deployment. He will be in Kuwait (one of the safest of locations) for seven months, this is nothing compared to the year-long or eighteen month tours some many Army and Marine personnel are doing in places much more dangerous. An eternal optimist, while enduring this separation I am grateful for its brevity in comparison.

Looking back now, our goodbye hug was a little humorous. It was an embrace for dear life; I clung to Rob like he was a life-preserver. I wasn't sure I could survive the kids without him. He headed towards security and was instantly out of my sight. Everything around me seemed to expand and my field of vision just widened and drew back, just like in the movies. I had never felt so small in my whole life. Turns out there were no tears, no outbursts. Just me as a newly single mom leaving the crowd. Making my way out of the airport, to my car, and home to Grace & Fin.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pre-deployment work-up

A ship, or a battalion, or a carrier group, etc. will go through a period of "training evolutions" or drills to ready themselves for an upcoming deployment. The days and weeks of this is often called a pre-deployment work-up. For many Navy families this can mean long work days, last minute schedule changes, days or even weeks apart before the real separation officially begins. This also includes boatloads (no pun intended) of stress. Our little family has been doing just that.

Rob leaves Sunday. We have been busy updating wills and POA'S (power of attorney), buying recordable books, ordering a flat-daddy, getting Rob an updated passport, seeing family, spending time as a family, squeezing in all the "quality family time" we can, and fighting like two housewives on a reunion special. (Paging Andy Cohen, we need a referee to handle some of this and add witty commentary to lighten our moods.)

Apparently pre-separation feuding is completely normal and to be expected. The practical reasoning for such bickering eludes me. (Paging Dr. Freud, please have a seat on the sofa next to Mr. Cohen.) I've created the term or Pre-Deployment Bipolar Disorder for this experience. Subconsciously I don't want Rob to leave, and consciously (at times) I almost want to punch him all up in his condescending, never-wrong face. These marital spats are over quicker than they start and there are many a meaningful "I love you" from our lips and those shared gazes that speak louder than words between a husband and wife.

This week I'm doing really well. Last week I had my moments. I vacillated between feeling empowered, capable, and prepared to feeling so anxious and vulnerable I wouldn't want him to leave the room. I may no longer have the Navy here in Athens since the base closure, but I have more than a handful of friends who have offered and are ready at a moment's notice to help this family. This leaves me feeling beyond lucky, and appreciation does not even begin to describe the gratitude. For once in my life, I have no words.

This week it is Rob I am most worried about. I could not physically leave my babies. That is something I am most certain I am not capable of. To imagine what his impending departure feels like for my husband breaks my heart. When Rob returns Fin will almost have doubled his age and Grace will no longer be using diapers (hopefully) and probably be fluent in another language (more likely). The things he is going to miss coupled with Grace's pleading eyes asking for her Dad has the magnitude to break me in two. These things cannot break me, because I must not let them.

I am realizing I am about to become a different person. This will change me. I am going to be Mom & Dad for the next 7 months. I will be good cop, and bad cop. I'm going to be potty training on my own, and enlisting Grace to help teach her brother to walk. I will be teaching my children strength and endurance by example. Sweet Lord, I am going to need all the patience I can get. Some days I will be at my best, others I will be at my worst.

My good friend Mackenzie (another Navy Supply Corps wife) gave me the best advice so far. I blatantly asked her one day, "How am I going to do this?!" She responded, "You just will, because you have to." Starting Sunday, I will. Some moments I may think I won't be able to do this, but I just need to keep reminding myself that I can and will.

It also doesn't hurt that Chick-fil-A is just a block away. At least the kids won't go hungry. Unless it's Sunday, when Chick-fil-A is closed. Athens friends, take note, we may need to be fed and watered on Sundays.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Catharsis from my fingertips

Rationally speaking, my last post was one big downer. Depressing as it may have read, it was the final piece of the puzzle that straightened me out. Mentally speaking, I'm in a great place. As great a place as one can be in right now.

Writing is a creative outlet for me. Nothing is more satisfying than a well worded phrase, or a string of terms that pulls you readers in and suddenly you GET me. I love to make others laugh and feel uber fab at the end of a hilarious post. But life is not all sunshine and calorie-free carbohydrates. I don't consider my life any worse or better than anyone else's, I'm just willing to share all of it. The good, the bad, and the funny.

Our status is still in limbo, but we hope to find out soon just how the rest of 2011 should pan out. I have faith in my Navy to send us somewhere we belong whether I think so at the time or not. There is a firm believe in this clan that things happen for a reason. If Rob doesn't deploy to Kuwait next month it wasn't meant to be and we're meant for something else. Truth be told, I never wanted to come to Athens and cried every single day for the first week we were here. Big ol' sappy hormonal pregnant tears, too. Look how that all turned out.

I'm still pulling for deployment, fingers crossed. As much as I'm not a planny-planner, I would like to stick with this original plan. California after Kuwait seems like a fabulous adventure and it'll help steering my minivan out of town if it's headed west with Katie Perry streaming through the speakers. Although I'm not super thrilled to single parent my brood for the deployment duration, I also see it as a right of passage. I've survived deployments with Rob out to sea on my own, but haven't had to pull up my big girl panties and super-mom it up through the good days and bad. Strength is found when I least expect it, and I'm willing to prove my salt as a Navy spouse.

Writing about this helps me think things out and get them out. I can type and leave it, and then it hounds me no more. Blogging is definitely cathartic for me and keeps our friends and loved ones updated. Double win. As for what happens next, we're still waiting to see, and then write.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

status update: bruised but not broken

Rob had a mole on his leg, but now it's gone. We found out that the mole was actually cancerous, a melanoma. It was very shallow and small, about the size of a pencil eraser. The surrounding area of skin was also removed and found to be clear. He just had seven stitches removed that closed up the offending area. Thankfully, we're ok. Rob doesn't have cancer. Rob, does not, have, cancer. But he did.
There is nothing that can scare you sober like "cancer" entering your medical records. Since the melanoma scare HAS entered his medical records our plans may be changing. Rob had/has orders to deploy to Kuwait from April to November of this year. Not so much now. He's "not medically eligible for deployment."
You would think I would be jumping for joy he's not going away, however the opposite is true. I am not chomping at the bit to parent our two small adorable yet chaotic children by myself, but it's what we planned. First we danced with cancer, but only for a moment and left unscathed yet shaken. Now we are in limbo. If Rob doesn't deploy, we'll be leaving Athens in April instead of November, and we have no idea where. Not only do I like to pretend we're never going to leave Athens, but I don't like being slapped in the face with the possibility of our impending departure to parts unknown.
2011 has been a one-two punch and left us swaying where we stand. Knowing that we almost had to battle cancer, but won't is not all blessings and gratefulness. I do feel incredibly grateful and lucky this was caught early. I also feel battered and thrown. We didn't have to fight the fight, but we didn't leave emotionally unscathed either. In an instant life became so fragile and an overcast shadow crept in the fabulous bubble my domestic life is here in Athens. A giant unwelcome wake-up call.
I don't know where we're going next or when. I do know I don't want to leave Athens. I joke about it publicly but cry privately almost daily. I will miss how much teaching knitting at Main Street Yarns feeds my soul. I will miss the only home my children have known. I will miss the friendships that make me feel more like me. I'm so lucky to have people that get, love, & appreciate me (and vice verse). I will miss the WOW Bootcamp workouts that make me feel strong and fast and capable of anything. I will miss my life here in Athens and pray every night that God will keep us here.
I'm on an emotional roller coaster waiting to hear if Rob will get a medical waiver and we can proceed as planned. We're still standing though. Life goes on. Grace still goes to preschool and we still go to play-dates and I'm still teaching a few knitting classes. Life is still living while we're waiting to hear where it will take us next.
The good thing is Rob doesn't have cancer, the days I get so frustrated and angry I need to remember this. Rob doesn't have cancer. We won't have to schedule chemotherapy on our calendar alongside well-visits to the pediatrician. We won't have to endure the body damaging side effects of radiation while trying to potty train our kids. Most importantly of all, we could have been facing a battle to keep my husband and the father of my children. But we won't, and we're ok, and I need to remember that.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

my road to adulthood is taken by minivan

I always thought that being a grown-up would have a certain "I'm an adult" feeling to it. I'm 28 and can honestly say I don't feel like a real adult. Getting married didn't make me feel like an adult. Neither the birth of my first nor second child gave me that sense of maturity. (I most definitely got a lot of mom-turity since momming up, but I'll save that for another blogging day). No, it came unexpectedly yesterday and instantly I knew true adulthood had arrived. I became an adult when we purchased a brand new minivan.
It all started less than 24 hours before. I returned home from a fabulous evening at Casa Mia with my book club pals to Rob greeting me with, "What do you think about trading the car in for a minivan?" No. My instant reaction was NO. Our car, a Chrysler Pacifica, worked just fine and ultra-fabulous Lilah would not be caught dead car-dancing at a stop-light in a minivan. No. No I didn't want a minivan, no I didn't want to go test drive one. Thank you, but no.
Captain responsibility had talked me into at least "taking a look" within 20 minutes. Rob is a creature of clear conscious, sensibility, and is as hard working as they come. What you see is what you get with my husband. It is no surprise to me that he has chosen a military career as a Naval Officer because his character reads straight from Uncle Sam's wish list of American values. His wife, on the other hand, is one hot mess. Many times, OK, all the time he is the voice of reason when it comes to decision making. So it was no surprise that once he started talking-up van ownership, I was going to fold faster than an amateur poker player. Little did I know that less than 24 hours after that conversation my new minivan would be sitting in the carport.
Yesterday he planned on playing racquetball with his commander and then afterwards pick up Grace from preschool to return home right before nap time. I asked how racquetball was and he informed me due to his partner bailing on him, he had spent the morning at the dealership and was "knee deep" in buying us a minivan. All I had to do was just test drive it. We didn't have to buy it if I didn't want to...blah, blah, blah. My sweet beloved was playing me like a cheap fiddle and smiling the whole time.
I sheepishly walked into the dealership and found the dealer Rob informed me about. After polite introductions and strong handshake, I uttered like a sullen teenager, "I'm here to drive a minivan." He showed me the van, and I tried not to gasp in shock as he opened the sliding door. The entire interior was the color of a soft cream suede. Because part of the seats WERE SOFT CREAM SUEDE! What the hell was my husband thinking?! The demographic we belong to is sponsored by Gymboree, not AARP. What Rob saw was luxury and what I saw was a vehicle not child friendly. I obliged and test drove the orthopedic dreamship. My posture was ramrod straight and every bit of me was convinced that this whole minivan buying scheme had been the wrong idea from the start.
The dealer being the dealer showed me a second vehicle. Same exact model, just one level down in accessories package. I tore through it inside and out looking for the deal breaker, the negative aspect that would be the kiss of death to this vehicle purchase. It wasn't there. What was there was remote dual sliding doors, 3 DVD players, leather interior (black, not tan), power EVERYTHING, and the pair of aces in Rob's hand, space and convenience. I was done before I had even driven it, but once I did drive it I inwardly admitted defeat. Trying to reveal nothing, I thanked the dealer for his time and informed him Rob would be in contact with him if we were interested after a spousal pow-wow.
Driving home I felt excited and defeated at the same time. Had I really given in? Was this the end of cool as I knew it? I was conflicted and Rob could see that when I told him to go buy us that minivan. The smart and sensible part of me agreed, this was the vehicle for me. A small bit of me still lingered in remorse. Then Grace woke up and I went to her room to get her. She lovingly exclaimed, "Mommy," and that's when it clicked. Enter adulthood, stage right. A minivan was about suiting my needs and my family's needs. Seeing that adorable little face made me realize I wasn't doing this for just me, I was doing this for her and her brother too. And all their soccer gear, and pals, and juice boxes, and any other duties called upon this super-mom. No hero can do their job without the proper equipment.
Buying this van has made me feel more like a real mom than ever. My friend Peggy told me I would never look back. She's right, I haven't (I also haven't needed to with the reverse rear camera!). It is my first new vehicle and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I did a happy dance when Rob pulled in the driveway. I opened the door to the carport to wish it goodnight before going to bed last night. This morning I padded through the house like a kid on Christmas morning just to peek and make sure it was still there. This analogy is very fitting considering I skittered right past our Christmas tree, which is still up.
This vehicle is so right in all the right ways. I can only imagine how excited that first mom was who drove the first minivan. She probably thought, "Finally." The minivan was created for mom, and mom is who I am. A super fabulous cool mom. Give me good beat and I will still be car-dancing at the stop-lights. I'm more mature now in adulthood and realize image is nothing and convenience is everything.