And boy...was I right.
You would think that 4 weeks is enough time to get settled in after a move. Not the case. We moved at a snail's pace some days, because, oh yeah - tiny humans rule the house. We had minor home repairs to do, unpacking, the organizing and then reorganizing that comes with getting settled in a new home, trying hit up all of our favorite spots before Chris left, squeezing in some family time, and of course, catching up with all of our friends and family. There was always something going on, so we never really settled into a feeling of "normal" before it all got uprooted again with Chris's departure. The conversations turned into "oh well - I'll figure that out after you're gone" when it came to crossing things off the to-do list. We were literally still working on things the hours before he left, and we still didn't get it all done. It wasn't my preferred way to send him off, both of us feeling rushed and unprepared. We hardly even talked about him leaving, mainly because I was afraid my tears would start and wouldn't stop. We managed to sleep the night before he left, probably because the ongoing exhaustion trumped our worries and anxiety. I wish we had more time. But then again, his departure came up so fast that there wasn't much time to feel sad about it; we were so busy.
I'm trying my best to find the positive in each day. It hasn't been easy, though. This is the hardest thing I've had to do in a long, long time. And I'm not going to sugar coat it. This sucks. I think a general complaint about Facebook is that everyone paints this picture of what a "perfect" life they live, when we all know we have our good times and bad times, and most of the time we really only feel like sharing the good times. Well, here you go - here are my bad times.
I knew the storm was coming, and I've been doing everything I can to just keep my nose above water. There was literally a chunk of about 48 hours this week where I was constantly having to give myself a pep talk: "Just keep going. Just keep moving your body and getting things done." I felt like breaking down about every 5 minutes.
And the role of the mother comes into play a lot in this whole process: not only moving to a new house, but also saying "goodbye for now" to daddy. I want my kids to feel secure and settled, and I want to take away as much stress off of their little bodies and minds as I can. So that means sacrificing all of my time and energy and putting their needs first. I feel guilty that I can't do a better job at that right now. My stress load hit it's peak when Ava suddenly spiked a really high fever and I felt totally unprepared and overwhelemed. Thankfully we had just been to our new doctor for Liam's shots, and we talked about Ava's upset tummy. She sent me home with a stool sample collection kit (umm so that was an adventure I'd NOT like to repeat!). I suddenly had 2 kids with fevers (Liam's was from his shots) and I felt like I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I had to keep putting my errands off because I just couldn't get to them. I finally made it to go get groceries right before the kids' bedtimes. Am I crazy, I thought?! And wouldn't you know it, Price Chopper was having some sort of crazy 6-hour sale...and I was stuck in the chaos of lines all the way up into the aisles. At that point, I thought, oh well - we need things and I already went to all the trouble to drag us all to the store, so I might as well get it over with! I was just in disbelief at how much I got slammed with in those 48 hours. I could go on and on but I don't want to bore you with the sucky (and poopy!) details.
This week I wanted to quit. I wanted to quit it all. Each day has made me such a ball of stress. I feel like now I have my whole head above water instead of just my nose, so that is an improvement. I feel like I'm getting closer to being able to relax again and think clearly and plan. Right now I'm doing everything in the spur of the moment: what we are eating, where we are going, and when I am going to find the time to get things done around the house.
Most of the week, the kids' napping has NOT aligned very well, so no breaks for me during the day! Liam appears to FINALLY be cutting a tooth, and so he is cranky and not sleeping super great at night. He wants to lay there and cry after I nurse him. A crying, inconsolable baby in the middle of the night is so, so hard. Ava had a really, really hard night when Chris left. We had never heard her cry like that before. We felt TERRIBLE. She had a couple more tough nights after he left, but she seems to have adjusted. I have to say, I am so proud of Ava for how she has been doing, though. She's a tough girl! We talk very openly about where daddy is and that he is going to be gone for awhile. It was so hard for us to tell her that daddy was leaving; it was pretty heartbreaking. Thankfully our iPhones allow us to facetime, text, and share an icloud photo album! Text!!!! I can't believe it - his last deployment was not like this AT ALL. It's hard to say what the rest of his time over there will be like, but for now, the kids get to SEE their daddy EVERYDAY through facetime! So that's been a real positive this week!
My military mom friends tell me the first month or two is really hard as everyone is adjusting to daddy being gone, and then you kind of settle into your groove and things don't seem as bad. I am ready for some days where things aren't so crazy - I've had some help this week so I've had a few breaks here and there, and that has made all the difference. My new goal is to work hard and make the most of my days so that I can catch up on everything and then have these tasks behind me and RELAX!!
And it's been kind of hard to be in public and to be subjected to the comments from strangers this week - the whole "wow you've got your hands full". I have to just smile and try to quickly walk away while I fight the tears and think: you have no idea. I really didn't even want to leave the house this week for that reason. I needed to get out for a variety of reasons, but I wished I could be invisible. It's really, really hard when you know that you are barely holding it together - the littlest thing can send you over the edge and break you down. I am very much a reclusive person at heart, even though I also like to be out and about and socialize, too. I just wanted to hide this week. To hunker down until the storm passed.
The kids' Daddy Dolls came in, and they are PERFECT. Ava's is pink on the back and Liam's is blue. It made me teary to open them! Ava wasn't too interested at first, but as soon as I encouraged her to include her daddy doll in the bedtime routine, she was hugging him and kissing his face and holding him during her bedtime story. Now she keeps him in the crib with her at night. I hold Liam's daddy doll up so he can see him, and he stares at his face and smiles! It makes me feel a little better that they have something to look at and hold when they want.