Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Adventure Continues...

The day that I actually drove out of town went smooth right up until it was time for me to leave. Then I cried for a good hour. I asked my husband to please remind me of how unhappy I was during our stay in TX and to tell me that he's jealous that I'm on my way to TN. He did both and then also reminded me that this was not Iraq or Afghanistan, it was just TN and to suck it up. I told him that it was easier to leave his grumpy butt behind but as a mom I wondered if it would be completely irrational for me to drive over to our daughter's school and throw her in the car with me.

I'm happy to say that it's gone pretty well so far thanks largely in part to Skype. I was worried about her being around my husband with his PTSD and temper but that hasn't been an issue at all. I honestly think the break has been good in some ways, although I miss them both, it's given me back some of my independence that I had lost. It's also given our kids one on one time and they are more excited to see each other online and talk about their days.

While in TN, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to stay with another wounded warrior wife and friend who was gracious enough to open up her home to my son and me. It's a lot to ask anyone to share a home with my rambunctious 4 year old. On a whim, I found a house to rent that felt like it was meant to be and came available at just the right time. My www friend went with me to look at it and two days later I was signing the lease. After that I decided to give her a break and have her whole house back and I took my son up to IL to spend some time with my in laws. The great thing about that is being the youngest grandchild, my son has never gotten the chance to have his grandparents all to himself and he has been enjoying all of the attention. He's still testing his limits with his behavior but we're working on that. I've heard stuff about how red dye #40 can affect a child's behavior and started noticing a pattern with his, particularly after eating something that has it. He gets so crazy and out of control until he calms down that I'm just going to eliminate it from his diet altogether. We'll start with that and keep working to overhaul the rest of his diet gradually. He's definitely not on track with some of his development, and even though I've repeatedly mentioned this to our PCM, she doesn't seem overly concerned. We'll have a new doctor/pediatrician and that will be one of the first things I bring up.

The sad part is that my kids have only ever known my husband with PTSD. My 6 year old was born during the deployment when the PTSD started. My husband left when my son was about 15 months old and he was blown up on the day he hit 18 months, so his only real memories are of his daddy being broken. I'm starting to realize just how much impact his being wounded has had on the kids. You don't hear too much about it but it's been traumatic for all of us, especially them. I think we have our work cut out for us to mend this family and get ourselves back on track.

I'm getting ready to hit the road once again. This time we're off to MI to see more friends and family. The movers are coming this week and hopefully my husband and daughter can start heading this way soon. Since I've been gone, I had to miss my husband's retirement ceremony. Fortunately someone took video of it so I did get to see it and see my daughter pin his latest commendation medal on him. I can't help but feel like the absentee wife because they acknowledged me and gave me an award for support and sacrifice, but didn't explain why I wasn't there even though I knew. I feel like people saw that and thought great, what did his wife have to do that was more important than being there for her husband's retirement ceremony? Obviously my husband understands completely and could care less what anyone thinks, he was annoyed that he had to be there.

I also have to miss my daughter's awards ceremony at school. (I don't know how my husband dealt with being gone for a year and missing out, I suck at it). She's got all A's again this quarter and I'm so proud of her. I hope when she has to switch schools that she keeps up and doesn't feel too overwhelmed. She's painfully shy and even though I'm sure the kids at her new school will like her, it's always tough to start over and not know anyone. Plus we love her teacher now, she's just amazing. I cried when I told her we were leaving. I don't know where all of these emotions keep coming out from but it goes against my need to be strong and survive. :)

Now if I could just find someone to hire me so I can go back to work full time, I will be all set. I feel renewed and I'm grateful for the fresh start but at the same time this whole transition keeps me feeling stressed. I'm not sure I really know how to just be calm anymore or what to do if things work out without too much trouble. A smooth transition still feels like unknown territory to me. I keep looking for a paper bag to hyperventilate into. I think I will relax once I have a job so I pray that someone will take a chance on me...soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Today I am packing and loading up the Jeep so I can hit the road early tomorrow. Looking back it feels like the past four years just flew by, although there were many times when I was sure there was never going to be an end in sight. I'll never hear the end of it for saying this, but part of me is a little sad to be leaving. Not that I've ever loved it here or even liked it some of the time, but so much has happened in our lives in the few years we've been here. Much of that was emotionally charged and it's hard to believe at times that we survived some of the stuff that was thrown our way.

It's hard for me to leave half of my family behind for the time being but I know they will be along soon enough. I was hoping that upon getting out of the military that this would finally be the one move that my husband and I could pick out a house together but yet again it's not going to happen. It's kind of a joke between us, but we've never picked out a home together in our entire marriage. I even have a new POA to take with me when I sign a new lease.

What I wasn't expecting were the mixed emotions that I've been having. In some ways it's hard to leave that safety net behind. Not just the military in general but the WTB. I find it oddly comforting to be around other warriors and their families who have been through some of the experiences our family has. We're fortunate enough to be moving to a location where I already know a few wounded warrior wives, plus my best friend is moving close by this summer. I don't want to make the mistake of shying away from people like I did here and in central TX. I want to get out and meet more people and feel as "normal" as possible. I don't want to feel like my husband's injuries are the focus of our lives all the time. There's no question that what happened changed the entire course of our lives. It took us in a completely different direction than what we had originally planned. I have some regrets and wish I would've done some stuff differently but it was all part of the recovery process - for all of us.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Things I am Grateful for this Week

1. Turning 34 and receiving a bouquet of roses and a card from my husband, a card that he picked up for the kids to give me and a hand drawn card from my daughter.

2. Despite another round of germs invading the house this week, my husband's unit was nice enough to tell him that he didn't have to come in for formation this morning so that he could take our daughter to school and I could stay home with our son who seemed to favor a temperature of 102 degrees for the past three days.

3. Our daughter's teacher for not assigning any homework all week until today. It was a nice little break. Also for being such an awesome teacher and being sensitive to what's going on with our move and finding out that truancy isn't going to be an issue if we decide to pull our daughter out of school for a week or two.

4. The military, for what originally seemed like they were throwing a wrench into our plans but what really amounted to closing a door and opening a window for a new plan.

5. An amazing supportive group of friends from all over the world who sent me tons of birthday wishes and who keep me going when things start getting a little overwhelming.


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