Monday, December 28, 2009

The Airing of Grievances

In the true spirit of Festivus, I'm ready for the traditional airing of grievances. And be prepared, this year my list is long.

I can't seem to catch a break right now...
My sweet babies are into everything. Nathan won't stay off of the tables so I have had to pull all of the chairs away from every table. They just climb everything and have no fear! My house is baby proofed but that doesn't stop them.

My mother-in-law came over for Christmas even though she was sick and as a result, our house has been contaminated. So far, it's only 4 out of 6 children but I know that eventually all seven us will be ill. Last night poor little Ryan was struggling to breathe and I was ready to take him to the hospital when he finally coughed up some of the mucous that was clogging his airway. He is very, very sick right now. On top of that, my mother-in-law also got Jason sick as well as my brother-in-law and who knows how many other people since she expelled her mucous particles all over my house and I hosted Christmas here this year. Good times.

In addition to the usual obscene workload that I struggle with on a daily basis, I also had additional holiday obligations. I made my brother homemade soup mixes after learning that he was newly single again. That was short-lived and now he's let his alcoholic girlfriend move back into his apartment. I'm sure my thoughtful, lovingly made gift will be seen by her as cheap, rude, or stupid. Oh, well.

I had good intentions of getting our Christmas cards mailed early as I usually do... but that didn't happen. I intended to get the gift packages in the mail on time for a pre-Christmas delivery... but that didn't happen either.
What did happen was over 2 feet of snow... I love snow and I was excited by the prospect of a blizzard to force me indoors with Jason and the kids. Unfortunately we ran out of food, our snow shovel broke, and the stress was overwhelming at times.
Here I am, more than a week later, and I still don't have a snow shovel. Or food. But I'm headed out to remedy that today.

Yesterday I had to take the kids to the mall for the second time by myself this month. I despise the mall. But my iPhone broke and my communications with the outside world were abruptly halted, forcing me to venture out into the after-Christmas chaos at the mall. Fortunately my phone was fixed and all 6 kids were well-behaved in the apple store. And now I can talk to Jason again.
And that brings me to my biggest struggle. Jason is gone. Again.

Early (as in 5 am) on the day after Christmas we loaded the kids into the van and drove to the airport. The kids were all asleep (except Ryan) as he kissed them goodbye. I fought back the tears and just buried my face in his chest and breathed in his scent.

Dear God, why does this have to be so hard?

How am I going to be without him for another year?

How will I raise 6 children by myself through another year of birthdays, holidays, homeschooling, and illnesses?

Who will take care of me?
I feel like I'm buried beneath the mounds of snow. I can't breathe. I can't think. I can't focus on anything except me and how much I hurt.

At the same time, I have 6 children who just lost their Daddy for what will feel like a lifetime to them. Matthew and Joshua received a set of ACUs (Army uniforms) for Christmas. Matthew has slept in his and hasn't taken off since Christmas morning. You think he misses his father? That would be an understatement.

How do I stay strong for them when I can barely hold it together myself?

How in the world am I going to do this????
After dropping Jason off at the airport I burst into tears. I sobbed all the way back to the highway and broke down a few more times on the way home. It's not like me to cry. I don't feel like myself right now.

I walked in the door of my house... our house... and saw Jason's shoes by the door. And his coat on the back of the chair. And his sweatshirt slung over the arm of the couch. And it feels like he's coming home soon, like he's not really gone. And I just cried.

I opened the folder of his deployment papers for the first time and saw in big, capital letters the words "Deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom." It just hit me that he's not coming back. He won't be back here... maybe ever. Who knows if he'll ever get to live in this beautiful house? He's stationed in Washington now and that means another move for me in January of 2011 and it means uncertainty for the future of this house.
Lest I seem ungrateful, I still must remind myself that I have 6 beautiful, healthy children. And I have a house (or two, actually) and we have food on our table. So yes, I'm grateful and I thank the Lord each day for these things.

I just wish that my husband was here to share them with me.

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