Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane...Or Not

Something happened yesterday and I needed and wanted to share because it's important and because I'm a jackhole if I don't.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting alone in the house for those blissful 2.5 hours when there are no children here. I had melted into the sofa, and had *officially* surrendered. Big time surrender. Glasses, yoga pants, whack t-shirt (but not the Boobs Akimbo T-shirt) and sneakers. And I was NOT headed to the gym, or coming home from the gym. I was looking at the Doomsday clock in my house and watching it basically say, "thirteen hours until McLovin leaves..." and hating life.

I'm watching the Big Bang Theory and McLovin calls and we're blathering back and forth, mostly me, because I've worked overnights all this week, which just makes me stupid because I sleep for about 18 minutes between when I get home from work and when I have to get up for kids and school and breakfast and why do we have time zones? Because if London was on the same time zone as us, then 2am would be 2am everywhere and everyone could get some freakin' sleep. They just need to get used to it being sunrise at 11:45pm. I think it's only fair. I'm invoking the "We're Bigger" Rule here. That's what she said.

[Editor's note: Kate works for English people. - Lydia]

So, he says something about, "hey! so, I'm in the office in a meeting with..." and then I'm super interested because Sheldon is reciting all the stars that are closest to Earth and "isn't that great?" and what?

Four important lessons here:
  1. Talking to me during Big Bang Theory is maybe not the best idea...
  2. It was TiVo'ed so maybe I could have hit pause...
  3. Starting any sentence with "I was in a meeting..." guarantees I'm not listening anymore...sorry, but it's true. That man spends six thousand hours a day in meetings. I was in a day long meeting for ten minutes last week.
  4. What's great is not that I now know the stars in decreasing proximity to Earth, but that McLovin is not going to Again-istan.
Which should have elicited a scream and a touchdown dance and possibly even a THAT'S RIGHT! yelled out into my front yard. Which you think might be rare but not really. Must be odd for our neighbor across the street to be out pruning her begonias, see me come outside right to the curb, do the double pointing fingers like you're in the beginning of a snap-off brawl/dance between the Sharks and the Jets and yell out "THAAAAAAAT'S RIGHT!" and then just walk back inside. Maybe I should consider the back yard as an alternative?

But because I'm -- me, I think I said something awesome and understanding like, "what...ugh. Are you kidding? Why?" because all I'm thinking is that I had cereal and tomatoes out for dinner tonight because that's what the kids love and he just looks very confused when I do that and, well, c'mon. You wrap your brain around a plan -- even if that plan sucks hot monkey balls, like your husband going to Again-istan -- and you do what you gotta do. The Bride was coming over that night to help me manage the kids take my mind off it be supportive drink and we were just going to make the best of it. See friends, eat weird things for dinner, and possibly let the house and the dog and the kids and me surrender because that's what you're allowed to do when your husband goes to Again-istan.

Here's how our week went:
  • Lefty spent days glaring at everyone because Again-istan was so far away that even Google -- the end-all, be-all, know-all of his universe -- couldn't figure it out. And if Google can't find it, then how were we supposed to be able to find a phone there so we could talk to him?
  • Happy -- HAPPY! he has that name for a reason -- was King of the Meltdowns. All week. At preschool, the grocery store, when he woke up, when he went to sleep...when he couldn't figure out Blue's Clues, and when Diego was a re-run.
  • McGee just looked wounded. And took this week to start reading the newspaper, and asking things like, "Mom, which country is Kabul in? What about Kandahar? They're both in Afghanistan. Didja read this?" and would thrust a paper under my nose talking about explosions and such.
I broke down on Wednesday morning. Called Lydia on the verge of tears. OK, fine...full tears. I had a bad feeling, this trip wasn't going to go well. How many times can you avoid bad things happening to you when you're in a country where bad things happen all the time? She was everything a friend is supposed to be during my Chernobyl meltdown. "He's going to be fine. Cherish your time together now. You can't do this to yourself, the kids will fall apart." She probably really really needed me to stop flipping out. It's like if she showed up at my house saying, "I'm going to the runway show at Prada. You in?" Well, the first answer would be YES! but I'd be like, "umm, Lydia? Prada?" and then my head would implode, which is WAY harder to do because the brain-y parts get in the way.

Look, don't get me wrong. We're THRILLED he's not going. But we also know that 1) it only means he's not going RIGHT NOW; and 2) it's kinda hard to brace and prep and dread and then sorta reconcile it and just make plans around it only to have it all sproing! back. I think we all kind of have whiplash.

As for me, well, let me step back for a minute. Thursday morning, after the 9:20am Happy Meltdown in front of EVERYONE at the preschool, I lost it.

And got weepy, because we only had one more day and I was scared and bombs and things like "collateral damage" were going through my head and the point is I saw Mrs. Darling - who is awesome and funny and totally gets my weirdness AND I saw the Preschool Principal who is kinda hardcore, which makes me love her even more because she's always just this side of Chuck Norris-ing something but since they're little kids she keeps it in check. Add in the whack novelty headbands with the springs and bouncy spiders that she puts in her hair and you know the kids are like, "OH! I loooooove your headband!" and she's all "Thanks little dude!" and if you said the exact same words she'd punch you in the throat, but only after you walked your kid into class because she wants to lurk and wait for you to slowly wander back and then you're on the floor and the only evidence is this flash of long blonde curly hair and bouncy spiders on springs. The point is, I. Almost. Hugged. Them.

[Editor's Note: Kate does not hug. Does NOT. - Lydia]
I was so whacked out I almost hugged people. And I came here and boo-hoo'ed all over the blog and I pulled myself out of work on Friday so I could be with McLovin and do the dramatic cab pulls up to the driveway and we all stand there weepy when he got in and drove away and then he didn't go and now I'm an a**hole.  For lots of reasons...because part of me was like, "Whuck?! We're all planned for you to go..." and I didn't just WOOT! all over the place instead. Because there's a million moms out there in America -- and here in MommyLand  -- that don't get that last minute reprieve and ALSO don't whine and moan all over the place like I did for the past week...because I'm irritated that this could all change next week and then we do it all over again...because I couldn't just suck it up and be the freakin' grown-up in this house and had to make it all about me me me. And everyone was so awesome yesterday, sending messages and then I had to be all "oh, never bad" like a dick. Ugh. I'm totally Chicken Little. And let's not forget about the hugging. Gross.

You know who's thrilled that McLovin isn't in Again-istan right now? McLovin. And that's enough for all of us. I'm so so so happy you're home baby. Truly and really and I'm sorry I didn't say that the first time.

By the way, all I have planned for dinner this week is cereal and sliced tomatoes. Hope that's OK. It's actually awesome. But you being home? Even awesomer.

xoxo Kate

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. I hate to say it, but I probably would have acted the same way. You get into that mindset, the "He's leaving" thoughts, and then he doesn't. It takes a while to process.
    (I'm also NOT a hugger, but dealing with deployment totally made me hug people and also get used to others hugging me. I've grown.)

  2. Dude. Don't feel bad. You were on a roller coaster. Be happy you didn't throw up.

  3. Props for being human. That's what we love about you.

  4. I get giddy over the fact that the thought of hugging me evokes such blind panic.

    I am glad for you though. {{{hugs}}}}

    Mrs. Darling

  5. Yay and WOOT!

    It's not in the same league, but when my husband is all 'I have to crunch at work, you two aren't going to really see me this week'...and then he starts coming home ON TIME - I want to punch him. "Where's your dinner? At work! Or you can have brinner, which you hate and we only have when!" It really makes me cranky for a good hour or so, cause I'm thrown off my stride :)

  6. Out of curiosity, does no hugging apply to the kids too or just adults?

  7. I have soooo been there with the whole 'change in the deployment plans' experience. What I hate is when you are set on a specific date for him to leave and then the trip doesn't get cancelled, instead it gets delayed by 2 or 3 weeks instead. All it does is extend the torture period! You know he is still leaving, and you're as mentally ready as you can be, but you're still stuck in limbo with him in the house acting normal! So frustrating - you just want to kick him out so you can start ticking off days and get back to the good stuff more quickly. Ugh. Congrats though on being utterly honest about all those complicated conflicting feelings - and those who don't 'get it' have never had to break their hearts in 2 and send half of it to Again-istan where it is in constant discomfort, loneliness, and sometimes danger. To those people: SUCK IT, FANCY!

  8. Woo hoo for reprieves! And cut yourself some slack... it can't be easy gearing up for that stuff, and even when you're glad about the change, the turning around sure can throw you off!

  9. Reading this, thought of the fears, sadness, anxieties suffered by the wives, mothers, sons, and daughters whose unfortunate fate it is to be Afghanis ... and as such to be on the receiving end of all those deployments. Can't imagine experiencing one's marginally secure existence in the poorest country on earth being under relentless attack, including by robotic planes guided by joy-stick operating "pilots" 7000 miles away. Betcha that Afghani mothers would out-celebrate you if all the U.S. soldier/contractor husbands, fathers, sons, daughters would just stay home. Finally, while the constant deployments cannot be anything but debilitating, the question remains: why would the spouse of a volunteer, professional military man expect anything different?

  10. Kate, You are awesome. You really put your heart on the line and to share it with all of us is very generous. Please ignore the rudeness of "Curious". That person's compassion got bleached in hot water and dried on high heat, thus suffering extreme shrinkage and loss of usefulness. Knowing something will be difficult does not necessarily make it easier to get through. I appreciate what your family is doing for mine.

  11. I like your writing style! I can't imagine being in that situation but sometimes, numbness is the only way to cope. Great entry!

  12. Woohoo for the reprieve! THAAAAAAAAAAT'S RIGHT!!!! And you know what? You do whatever you need to do to remain sane. ish. There isn't a woman among us who hasn't done or at least come close to doing the same things. Many of us don't even have the excuse of Again-istan. You are AWESOME.

  13. Wow, that's awesome that he isn't leaving! But give yourself a break - you are only human and it's hard to have your emotions on a roller coaster. My husband travels a lot for work (not gone as long as being deployed) but you do have to mentally prepare for their departure, and you do do things differently when they are not around. Glad he is staying!!!

  14. I love your honesty, and BTW, you are not a jackhole for getting all mopey, just a human.

  15. "Curious" are you sure that you are not the Govenor of Idaho?

  16. i seriously think all military spouses who go through the deployment experience totally understand...that would have been my reaction, too! my husband is back from a 7 month tour in again-istan and he's finally getting used to the "dinner" of fruit, crackers and cheese...the kids loved it and ask for it about once a week so i happily oblige :-) anyway, so happy for you! you just eloquently wrote what so many of us go through and have no idea how to explain it without making people who haven't dealt with it before think we're nuts! enjoy having him home!! :-)

  17. You're allowed to be whacked out, and whine and moan and bitch and cry and hug. You care--you love--you are human. So happy he's still home with you all!

  18. I'm not from a military family, so I can't imagine any of what you're going through. But, I am a scheduled person, and although I've learned to be more flexible with three kids and a husband along for the ride now (ha ha!), I know what even a happy change in the schedule can bring mentally and physically. So, I guess, take a deep breath, enjoy the roses, the reprieve, the delay, whatever this ends up being in your hubby's deployment schedule, and just change dinner plans one night so you don't have to have, what, tomatoes and cereal (?!) every night! Seriously, I hate tomatoes, dude...that sounds gross! :-)

  19. Really? I mean every time I read your blog I am just like Really? you are so fan-tastic.And um...for the record....If I ever meet you? I will totally hug you. So prepare yourself.

  20. You are SO human!! When our loved one gets deployed- they make sure their shots are up to date, bags packed and leave. OK- I know it is more....but that is what it appears like to me, and IT is all about me. To prepare yourself, the kids, the house, your friends, family (the MIL- OMG!) for said deployment is like being a conductor for a very FINE tuned orchestra- it takes WEEKS before they leave and never really gets right while they are gone. I know, our loved ones are OVER THERE not getting themselves killed and back to us as quickly as possible- but who has a harder job?? I have a dual-miliary family friends with 4 kiddos. Mom went to the sandbox last year- dad stayed stateside, working full time with the 4 kiddos- he would now rather be in the sandbox- name the place and time.

  21. I am so happy for you, although I completely understand how you steel yourself to get in that single-mom mindset and it is hard to adjust back to regular life. My husband is DOD and was supposed to be gone for most of the holidays, but just found out that his trip has been shortened by a week. He is still going to be away for a good chunk, and I worry about how the kids will cope, but it was still welcome news. Yay for Congress being so inept that they did not pass a budget, limiting travel to essential only! ;)

  22. I know this is almost a year later.

    Woo hoo glad I kept on reading. You got me again.....this time with happy tears!

    Thanks for keeping a new mom busy. Too busy to clean : )




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