Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010

Goodbye 2009. Hello 2010. Wow what a year. A lot has happened. My children turned a year older - four, nine, and eleven. My husband hit 30+. I hit my husband's age plus, well, a few. Jeff and I had our first argument in several years - to the point of not speaking the next day. (I never want to do that again! EVER!)  My oldest son started middle school. A magnet school with very high standards that he worked his little behind off to get into. He's the "good" kid and ever since pre-puberty has struck, it's been a struggle. My nine year old went off his ADHD/ODD meds this year. YAY! And he's doing fantastic in school (and home). (Minus a small hiccup.) I decided to keep little Miss Thing home from Pre-K this year, unable to let go of her. What a mistake that was. This girl is simply ready for school!
My stepdad passed away, leaving my mother as a single woman for the first time since she was 17 years old. My father had a heart attack followed by major bypass surgery (at least I was notified this time). Friends found themselves in situations they don't want to be in again - ever (not my place to discuss - sorry no gossip here!). I found myself on an emotional roller coaster - and anxious...for the future...for the upcoming year.
The last few months of 2009, I probably bored my friends to death with my indecisions and anxiety for the upcoming year. A lot is going to happen and my future was cloudy. I felt ill, in the pit of my stomach, with all that is ahead. Here it is, January 1, and I have to say, I am no longer anxious. I've got a plan. The outlook is beautiful.
This year, Jeff and I will go through our sixth deployment. It will be six to eight months long. This, by far, will be his most dangerous mission yet. I am unbelievably scared for his and his shipmates futures. I am growing to detest this military life: the stress, the anxiety, the absentness on important dates...continuously.  My support system here, away from my family, dwindled to almost none during the last deployment. I was at a loss of who to talk to and only spent less than 10 hours away from my children for the entire duration of the deployment. I truly thought, for a bit, that I would go insane. Loading three children up because you forgot something at the store, each and every time for six months, is, well, a chore. When I wanted to pull my hair out and return to the fetal position, it simply wasn't an option. A chief's wife once told me, "Oh you'll get used to it." I don't think I ever have.  When the kids were little, it was easy to pretend Thanksgiving was really Christmas and celebrate birthdays three months early. Now that they are older, they have a better grasp of time. The boys are completely bummed their dad will be missing their birthdays, yet again. Jeff is upset that he'll be in the middle of some ocean for Nyla's first day of school. Somehow, someway, we'll all get through it. We always have, we always will. The days will be long. The months will drag on. The countdowns will commense. I don't really believe deployments get better. I do, however, fully believe, that my coping skills improve.
Nyla will go to kindergarten this year (next school year). My days will be free of children for the first time in 12 years. What on earth will I do?? I feel this immense pressure to "do" something with my life. It's almost like empty nest syndrome - but with a whole lot less freedom. Do I get a job? Go to school? Sleep? I have no earthly idea. For 12 years I've been Jeff's wife and (insert kid)'s mom here. Which is fine - at school, at home, in the neighborhood, at Jeff's command parties, etc.. I aspire to be more than a wife and a mother - for me. I aspire to have something of my own: a job, a career, a hobby, volunteer work, education...something! I have the funds available to go to school, yet I have no clue as to what I want to be when I grow up. Let me rephrase that: I have no earthly idea what I want to be that coincides with Jeff's military status and will still allow me to be the primary, stable parent.  Do I finish my criminal justice degree or do I go for something else? Do I go for what I want to be and hope I get clinicals/internships that will work with my kids' school hours? Or do I just bite the bullet and put them in afterschool care where I will only see them an hour or so before bedtime? The last time I only saw my kids an hour before bed, I drove myself crazy with guilt. I don't ever want to do that again.
So here's the plan: I'm buying a professional camera and all the goodies that go along with it. Back in high school, a dabbled a bit with a used Pentax my dad gave me for my 16th birthday. (I know. I wanted a car too!) It wasn't a fancy digital camera, like what I'm getting ready to purchase. But, it was detailed photography. And I loved it! It became a passion of mine and dare I say, I was good at it. I didn't appreciate it back then, but I really wish I had stuck with it through the years. So, incoming hobby! Woot!
I'm also missing my family terribly so. At my stepfather's funeral, I saw my cousins for the first time in over a decade and it was such a shock. Ten years flies so fast. They were my children's ages the last time I saw them and now, they have kids of their own!! How does that happen?? I vowed that I wouldn't let ten more years slip by before I knew it. The next time I see my extended family, won't be at their children's graduations.
It bothers me extremely so that my children don't know the feeling of extended family at the holidays or for their birthday parties. I try to make them as great as I can and start new traditions here at home, without all the family. And honestly, they don't know what they're missing...really. It only bothers me. But still, it makes me sad and feel bad for them. Not having the oodles of cousins to play hide and seek with on the fourth of July, it's a crime! I contimplated for a month or two about moving the kids and I back home near my mom in Indiana. But, I cannot bring myself to make Jeff live on the ship. I cannot take his home away. I cannot break up this family, simply because of my emotion. It was a heartwrenching, gut-twisting decision that I stayed up way many a night contimplating. I drove my friends crazy talking it out. (I'm an outward thinker.)
So here's my plan: This summer while Jeff's gone, the kids and I are going to go spend a good month (give or take) with my mom. We're going camping with cousins and their kids. We're going to visit my grandmother for the first time in 11 years. (I know, I'm a horrible granddaughter.) We're going to have a ton of fun and see tons of family.
All in all, 2010 will be a trying year. It will be tough in some areas, but different in a lot of ways. I welcome it with open arms and am delighted to see what it brings.

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