Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Early Christmas

My Christmas started at 7:47 am on Saturday morning at Sky Harbor airport ( maybe a little later, but who's counting) when I got my husband, my SOLDIER, back after 6 weeks of being apart.  Now I know in the grand scheme of military life 6 weeks is almost a laughable time apart, but for us, this is the longest we have ever been away from each other.  The hardest wait was not this last 6 weeks, but the last few minutes, down to the very few last seconds as he was coming up the security walkway that very clearly said DO NOT ENTER it wasn't until he finally reached the very last of those horrid signs that I told Gunnar to run!  I, with a Starbucks in each hand, could no longer hold back my tears after seeing my handsome husband clad in his Army ACU's and my beautiful son clinging to each other.  Then it was my turn, I handed him what I later learned to be his 3rd Starbucks of the very long transition from Oklahoma to Arizona and hugged him like I have never hugged him before, Starbucks and all.  I don't know which of the 3 of us was beaming more, but I think we may have been the happiest family in the airport that day.

After the airport we went to my parent's house for my Dad's famous brunch.  He made pancakes, bacon, and eggs with OJ and coffee (yes, more coffee!).  My mom and my sister both teared up at the sight of Curtis in uniform, and I saw in my Dad a very proud father in law.  Even Luke, my parents dog was super excited to have him home, I don't think his tail stopped wagging the whole time we were there!  We enjoyed our brunch, but were all exhausted, Curt had been up for about 48 hours straight at this point, and I don't think I had slept much for the last 6 weeks he had been gone, and Gunnar was drained from pure excitement, so we headed home for a movie and some rest.  No sooner did the movie start then I was asleep on Curt's lap and Curt was asleep too. 

Later that evening we decided to go for some pizza, a luxury Curt is not afforded in BCT, and one we all paid dearly for later.  We hadn't realized how drastically our eating habits had changed in such a short period of time, and the deep dish Chicago style pizza did not set well with any of us.  It meant an early bedtime for us all, and REAL sleep for me for the first time since before Curt left.  I slept so soundly I didn't even hear the text I received from a friend at 10:15 pm, when normally I would have still been up, or at the very least would have heard the text from my usual resting phase since I don't really sleep.  Not this time, I was OUT COLD, and let me tell ya, it felt GREAT!

Sunday we did some shopping, Curt's jeans were a tad big, and a bit saggy, so he needed some new ones.  We also had a few other errands to do.  Then I had off yesterday with the intent of getting a Power of Attorney (POA) and my military ID at Luke AFB about an hour from our house and then having lunch with my Grandparents.  Well, the military loves to play the "hurry up and wait" game, so we went straight to the ID place and I asked Curt to go without me to get the POA so we could kill two birds with one stone.  In my now optimistic mind I was thinking we would be done about the same time and be able to hit up the BX (Base Exchange) before we had to meet Pops and Grandma Barbara for lunch.  Little did I know that 2.5 hours later the POA would be long finished and I would still be waiting (not quite as patiently as I would have hoped) for my turn for an ID.  A few minutes later out comes a gentleman who has been working there the whole time to tell the crowd it's going to be a minimum of another 2.5 hours to get an ID.  At this point its 11:30 and we are supposed to meet for lunch at noon.  No to mention I had just wasted much precious time with my husband, normally this would have put me in a pissy mood for the rest of the day, but I just said, com'on let's go.  We needed the POA and we have it.  I can always get an ID another time, I don't have to have it until my doctor appointment in mid January, it's not the end of the world if I don't have it today, and I'm surly not going to waste anymore of my Hubby's time waiting here.

With that we were off.  We ran...literally...ran, through the BX trying to find a pair of Army ACU's for Gunnar, but that is no easy task with 5 minutes to spare the week of Christmas and on an Air Force Base no less.  So the mini ACU's were a no go and we were only a few minutes late for lunch.  We promised Gunnar we would get them in OK in February at Curt's graduation.  This was after I, with a catch in my voice, had to explain, that Santa could not bring the ACU's because we did not put them on his list before we sent the list to Santa, so Santa doesn't know he wants them.  If anyone knows how to get mini ACU's by Christmas, PLEASE let me know!  Then we had a nice lunch with my Grandparents and did a few more errands, including picking up a pinewood derby car for Gunnar and Curt to work on for the Cub Scout's pinewood derby I know NOTHING about that is coming up sometime in January. 

Then yesterday it was back to work, the boys, Curt mostly isn’t feeling quite up to par, which is not at all like him.  In the entire time we have been together, he has been sick only once, and he slept for about 15 hours and was over it.  This however seems to be lingering.  We did manage to take a horse drawn carriage ride with our neighbors church last night to go Christmas Caroling through a near by neighborhood.  It made me once again realize the many little things I used to take for granted when we were together all the time.  Like the simple joy I get from sitting next to him and holding his hand, or hearing him whisper I love you in my ear. 

I know he may only be home for a short time right now, but I could not be more thankful that I have this time to spend with him however limited it may be, to show him the changes in me and to show him and tell him, just how loved and appreciated he is.  Having Curtis home is the only Christmas present I need or want.  My Christmas is complete, whatever else comes after this is just icing on the cake.

My Christmas Present

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A True Christmas Miracle

This is in no way my miracle, but it is one that I personally witnessed last night, and I have to share.  Gunnar has gone to Primrose School since it opened in early November of 2008.  He started as the only pre-kindergartner in the school with an amazing teacher named C.  C moved up to become the kindergarten teacher as well, so we had the joy of having her for 2 years in a row.  This spoiled us to the enth degree, and I won't lie, 1st grade has been no walk in the park.  This school has been a huge blessing for our family in many more ways than I can ever begin to explain.  Over the last 2 years I have gotten to know C rather well.  We have shared some of our different joys and sorrows with each other, and she has always been someone I can count on to listen when I need an ear, and I hope she feels the same. 

For as long as I have known C she has put her all into her job as a teacher.  She loves children, and has always wanted to expand her family of just her and her wonderful husband B.  During different conversations over the last few years she has let me know of her struggle to conceive and her desire to let it be put in God's hands as to when a child would be right for them. 

When I got to the school to pick up Gunnar last night I saw a beaming B standing before me with an infant no more than 9 or 10 weeks old sleeping soundly in his large, yet gentle arms.  Standing a few feet away was a slightly stunned C with tears brimming on her eye lashes.  I walked into this scene and my heart caught in my chest, could it be?  Since August when Gunnar started 1st grade at a new school I haven't had nearly the amount of time to chat with my dear friend C, and I wasn't quite sure if I was seeing clearly what I thought I was seeing.

Sure enough, through the catch in her voice she was able to tell me that the sweet baby sleeping so soundly in her husband’s arms was going to be theirs.  They were talking him home that night and B had brought him to the school as a surprise.  B had arrived with the sleeping baby just minutes before I came to get Gunnar, C was still recovering from her initial shock when I arrived.  She told me then that she couldn't hold him because she knew she was going to cry as soon as she did and she still had to close up the school (it was nearly 6pm and almost closing time).  I could see in her eyes just how hard this decision was for her. 

Meanwhile B was standing beside me, a man of very large stature, he reminds me of a mountain man, or a lumber jack, if that can give you some type of visual as to his size, with the smallest baby boy and the biggest grin I have ever seen.  It's not often that you see a man so comfortable holding a child, let alone one so small, but seeing B hold this baby was so perfect, a completely wonderful fit.  They were the two most content people I have seen in a long time.  It was an amazingly heartwarming moment for me, I can only imagine how C was feeling, seeing her new family together.  Just thinking about it now gives me goose bumps.

We are all too aware that nothing is final at this time.  That sweet baby who fits so perfectly in B's burley arms is only with C and B for foster care for the time being.  They are in the process of trying to adopt him, but it will be a long and drawn out process to make him officially theirs. 

So I ask that anyone reading this send up your prayers, or your good vibes, or whatever it is you believe will tell the universe that C and B are the rightful parents to this amazing bundle of joy.  I personally saw just how perfect this small family was together, and I know it is what is right and true for them to remain together, whatever the odds.  I can honestly say that while I was not any part of this amazing miracle, I was witness to it, and I feel so blessed to have seen something so pure as the unconditional love that these two amazing people have for a child born to someone else. 

I know in my heart that this child is going to grow up with C and B in the warmest, most loving home that a child could ever be brought into.  My Christmas wish is to see this Christmas miracle follow through to the very end.  I want to see this perfect little family as legally bound as they are lovingly bound.  That is my grown up Christmas wish....I can only hope it comes true.

Edit:  I did not use names to protect the identities of those above

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A weighty Issue

Weight is a touchy subject with most women.  Even women I consider to be flawless can find fault with their selves, I believe in some respects it is part of how we are hard wired as women to find fault with our appearance.  Weight for me has always been a sore subject.  Even at my smallest adult size I was never happy with that size or my own body. 

I have struggled with my weight all my life.  As a "tween" I was usually bigger than most of my friends, the same as a teen.  As an adult I have struggled more so.  In my early twenties, when I met Curt, I was as small as I had been in years.  It was as close to being happy with my appearance as I had ever come.  After dating for a while, we settled into a routine and I gained some weight, which wasn't unusual for me.  I was still within my normal "range" so to speak. 

Then I got pregnant with Gunnar and ballooned up to the highest weight I had ever been.  Yes I realize that is what happens when you are pregnant, you gain weight.  This was an exorbitant amount of weight, on top of the "settled" weight I had already put on.  It took until Gunnar was 2 years old until I was finally back down to a more manageable weight for me.  It still was no where near ideal in my eyes, but it was better.

About 7 months later I started getting sick.  My doctor changed some of the medication I was on, and things didn't go exactly as planned, and I got worse.  The resulting changes in medication, along with many other factors, led me to gain an exorbitant amount of weight over a very short period of time.  Over the next few years I was so unhappy with my weight and how I felt in general that I continued to eat, and gain, eat and gain.  It was a viscous cycle that I could not seem to break.

During this time, my migraines, which had been at bay for years, had returned with a vengeance.  I saw doctor after doctor, and no one seem to know what was going on.  Finally my Dad was able to refer me to a neurologist who specializes in headache medicine.  I started seeing him in April and he has helped my get my migraines under control.  Since he was able to help me relieve my constant, nearly debilitating pain, he was able to also help me take back control of my life and in essence my weight.  The medication for the migraines helps keep my appetite at bay, and not being in pain helps me be more active.  In short, I have been able to lose just over 50 lbs since April.

Now the reason I had to tell you all of that is so I can tell you this...because I have lost that weight I don't have clothes that fit, and I am trying to lose quite a bit more, so it doesn't make sense to spend the money on new clothes.  Being that I have an avoidance issue, I have tried having things that I already have altered, and that works ok, but it's not ideal.

I actually have a fair amount of clothes in my current size, my dilemma was, that they were at a "friends" house who has chosen not to speak to me for some time now, for reasons I do not know or understand.  So after putting on yet another pair of pants that didn't fit, I bit the bullet and sent the dreaded e-mail.  I asked for my clothes back and requested that if I was not home to leave them at my door.

About an hour later my door bell rings and I have a box shoved in my face.  I look over the top of the box to see said "friend" scowling at me.  She then asks if I have any of her clothes to return, to which I calmly report that they have all been given to goodwill as per her instructions to my husband in October.  She then gets red in the face and says that she said only the clothes that were in the garage (like she would know what clothes I had where, com'on) and that she did not say ALL.  I simply said "I'm sorry for the miscommunication but Curt asked several times and both you and your husband confirmed that the clothes were to go to goodwill, and that's where they went.  At that point she turned to go, and suddenly turned around and asked if she could ask me a question.  I say sure, and she asks through gritted teeth why I stopped being her friend. 

At this point I'm a bit dumb struck, because she is the one that stopped speaking to me, and deleted me from facebook.  So I say exactly that, and she starts yelling loud enough for any neighbor to hear (we were outside) about how it was all my fault and that I stopped talking to her and deleted her, yada, yada.  I told her I wasn't going to stand there and continue to be screamed at, that whatever way she wants to see it we stopped talking.  At any point either of us could have chosen to step up and say something, and neither did, what’s done is done.  Then she proceeded to tell me what an awful person I am and how Curt and I just used her and her family, yada, yada

I know this sounds crazy in a small victory blog, but it is a victory for me.  I never before would have had the courage to ask for my things back from someone like that.  I would never before have been able to keep my composure during or even after that type of scene the way I did today, and I never would have ventured to do any of it alone, like I did.  So as strange as it may be, there are many victories for me in a very weighty issue, that I hope to continue to resolve one day at a time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

22 Minutes 10 seconds

I should start by telling you that my phone talks.  It tells you the name of who is calling before it actually rings.  It usually does this 2 or 3 times and then starts to ring.  On my drive home today my phone started shouting at me like it does anytime I get a call, only this wasn't any call, my phone was shouting "A Perfect Husband" (yeah, yeah laugh...we do this so that we are each listed as the first person in the phone in case of random pocket dialing...or when Gunnar used to get a hold of the phones and call the 1st number in them all the time).  I was more than a little startled as he is still in Red Phase aka non contact, and it is a Wednesday, so even if Red Phase had ended without me knowing, phone time is usually reserved for Sundays only.

With my heart beating and my hands shaking I grabbed for my phone as quickly as I could, fearing, completely irrationally, that I would somehow miss this single call.  Out of breath for no reason other than pure delight I said hi and hello more times than I can count.  I really does take a moment to register that I am actually hearing his voice.  Then suddenly when I do, I'm all butterflies and stuttering like a love sick school girl.  My brain and my mouth don't seem to connect, and I have all these things I want to say, and I want to tell him everything all at once and it's like a jumble of nonsense.

I realize this after I've jabbered a bunch of gibberish for the first 5 minutes or so when I finally take a deep breath and say what I've been trying to say all along...I love you, I miss you, I'm going to see you soon!  It's at this point that we finally settle into a more manageable conversation, and he tells me about what he's doing and I tell him that everything here is fine and we just can't wait to get him home.  We spend a few of our precious moments talking about "business" what I need him to bring home, and what I need him to get done before he gets here.  He asks me to send him a few essentials, and I tell him I will gladly get them out to him as soon as possible.  We talk briefly of miniature ACU's for Gunnar, and what size to bring home from the PX and we exchange more I love you's and I miss you's and before I know it my 22 minutes and 10 seconds of bliss has come to a close.

I had no idea that after nearly 9 years together and almost 7 years married that I would have butterflies just hearing the sound of my husbands voice.  I never knew that there would ever come a time when I would search for picture of him on Facebook just to see if he has changed since I last saw his handsome face.  I
certainly never in my wildest dreams expected to be sitting here, writing about how close this distance has brought us.

Monday, December 6, 2010

This Contentment I Feel....

Do you ever just know that your life is suddenly going exactly according to plan?  Not your plan, not your spouses plan, not even what you dreamed your life would be, but THE PLAN?  That plan that was predestined for you from the time you were conceived, that you have so often strayed from?  The one that you think you have control over, but you are really just along for the ride?

I was looking at the most recent pictures that Alpha Company put up on Facebook, and I came across one of Curtis.  I saw something in him at that moment, and I knew, this is what he was born to do.  This has been THE PLAN all along, and we, or rather I, have been bucking the system.  At that moment I felt this complete and utter feeling of joy and contentment with everything in my life.

For so long I had this feeling that I was holding my husband back from something, but it seemed that neither he nor I knew what it was.  For those of you who know Curt, even if he knew what it was, he never would have said it anyway.  His life's goal has always been to makes sure that Gunnar and I are happy and provided for at any and all costs, even at times his own happiness.  It seems now we may have found our answer.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and everything in due time.  I know full well that 6 or 8 years ago I could not have done this.  I know that 2 years ago I was not ready for this, and when we started talking about it a year ago I had my doubts I am sorry to say.  They were never doubts of Curt's capabilities, but of mine.  To be independent enough to run a household without him, and to be both mom and dad when he is away, but there comes a time in a marriage where you have to give more than you take, and it was my turn to give.  I had been taking for way too long.  It was time for Curt to have a chance for a change, and this was his chance.

Although it was a bumpy road from his enlistment in June to him shipping out for BCT in early November, once it set in that this was it, I was able to see things in a whole new light.  I have found a me I didn't know existed, one I hope Curt is going to be very proud of when he gets home.  I have also as you can see, found what appears to have been THE PLAN along, hiding amongst a picture buried in the Alpha Company Facebook photos, and I see him, and all I feel is pure contentment.  It is a truly amazing feeling.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Credit Where Cerdit is Due

Much of who we are comes from how we are raised and who we are raise by.  My parents are two of the most amazing people I know.

My mom has always said I was an "easy" baby.  That makes me wonder when I stopped being "easy".  I was always a good kid.  I rarely got in trouble, and I did what I was told.  I didn't talk back (much) and I got fairly decent grades most of the time.  Even knowing all of this, I know I wasn't an "easy" "tween", teen or even adult (until maybe the last few weeks).  As I've said before, I am a very emotional person by nature much more than nurture. I'm sure this is part of what made me no longer "easy".

This is where the credit part comes in.  No matter how difficult I may have been to deal with at one time or another, for one reason or another, over the last 30 years, my parents have always been there for me.  They have always taken care of me in a way that no other two people in this world ever have or ever will.
I have often disagreed with the way my parents have handled different decisions I've made, or not made.  I have often been much too wrapped up in my own ideas of what should or shouldn't "be" to accept their knowledge as correct and in turn learned many lessons "the hard way".  In the past I routinely asked for advice only to turn around and do the exact opposite of all the advice I was given (and usually have it blow up in my face). 

It has taken me 30 years to realize that I don't have all the answers, I'm not always right, and mom and dad do know best 99.9% of the time, because they are the ones who have spent the last 30 years picking me up each time I have fallen.  They have done this without fail, without question, and without ever asking for anything in return.  I don't know many people who can say that no matter how bad things have gotten there was always someone to turn to.  Well I have two. 
It's time to give credit where credit is due, to my parent, who have always been there and I know will always be.  Thank you for raising me to understand the value of where good parenting beings, and for teaching me how to hopefully be a good parent to my son, so that some day he to will realize that parenting doesn't stop just because your child grows up, if anything, that's when the hardest part of parenting begins.  It's all so easy when you can make all the decisions for them, but then you realize they have a mind of their own....that's the hardest part.

I sent an e-mail to my dad the other day to thank him for getting Curt home for Christmas.  The e-mail read “Have I mentioned that you are the MOST AMAZING Daddy a daughter could ever ask for?! Thank you so much!  I love you!" and dad's reply was "Yes you have. You’re very welcome. I can’t wait to see Curt’s bald head. I also have a ticket for you for his graduation. I’ll get one for Gunnar too."  I can only hope that when he replied "Yes you have." in response to me asking if I had mentioned how amazing he is, that he truly realizes just how true that statement is.  

I don't know another father that would do what my dad has done for me, from the time I was 4 and he came into my life, my dad has done everything humanly possible to make sure that I would have the best life possible, from practicing pop flies with the girl who couldn't catch anything, to watching those awful softball games, to soccer (which wasn't so bad) to trying not to kill me while teaching me to drive, to countless school functions and even a private high school at my insistence for 2 years, to letting me work for him in his office after school for my first real job, to accompanying me to doctors appointments to flying cross country for the birth of my only child and even though he couldn't stay long after Gunnar was born, he was the one on the phone again from across the country instructing how to insure that I would make it through, and most recently, ensuring that my husband and "his bald head" would be home for Christmas.  There are many, many other things that make my dad amazing, these are just a few tidbits from the last 26 years.  I just hope he realizes just how amazing he really is.
My mom is just as amazing in her own right.  If it weren't for my mom's determination, inelegance, and well her spunk, my life could have been much different.  My mom was younger when she had me, but that didn't stop her from making sure that I was always loved and cared for and had everything I needed.  That has never changed from the time I was born, and I can guarantee you as long as she lives she will see to it that my family and I are always loved, cared for and always have what we need.  I can honestly say, that no matter how bad things have gotten, my mom has never left my side, literally and figuratively speaking.  We've spent countless hours "bonding" in just about every ER and Urgent Care in the greater Tucson area.  And although she got upset when I "ran away" as she like to refer to it, to New Jersey, after high school, she flew out to visit for my birthday.  She also made sure I was home for Christmas, and she was ready to get right on a plane when I got into my accident.  When I was in the hospital for 6+ weeks before Gunnar was born, she was there, every night, no matter how pissy I was.  When my blood pressure was so high a week after Gunnar was born, it was mom on the phone getting instruction from dad about how to make sure I didn't have a stroke.  And everyday in between, when I just need a shoulder to cry on or someone to ask advice of (even if I didn't previously use it) she is always there.
So to both my parents, I haven't said it nearly enough over the last 30 years, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to tell you enough over the next 30, so if by chance you come across this, I want you to know exactly how amazing you both are.  I love you more then you will ever know, and I appreciate all you have done and everything you will do in the future.  This doesn't begin to put into words my adoration for you both, but I know that each of you know my heart, so please take these words along with all my unspoken words, and know how much I love and appreciate you both.  Having two loving parents like you both is surly no small victory, it is much, much more than that.  I love you forever and always!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Randomness from tired eyes...

I was driving home today, well yesterday I guess if you want to get techenical, and I was listening to a song I have heard many times.  One I enjoy listening to.  It's called "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry (a country band for those of you who don't know).  The title sounds a bit morbid, but the song is really lovely, and the girls voice is almost magical.  Now of all the times I have listened to this song, I almost always sing along, just as I did on my way home.  That's when I caught myself singing this lyric "Gather up your tears, keep ‘em in your pocket
Save them for a time when your really gonna need 'em oh

Something about these words in my current life struck a very deep cord.  I have shed very few tears since Curt left, and for anyone who knows me, that is a rarity in any situtation for me.  So for me to be able to keep my composure, for this long, and this well, is unheard of.  I'm simply someone who is very emotional and wears my heart on my sleeve at all times.  Now my lack of  tears is in no way for a lack of missing my husband.  I check the mail every night, where sometimes it went days unchecked.  My phone is never away from my side, laugh if you must, but even in the bathroom, the Army waits for no one and nothing.  You can bet I'll be damned if I'm going to miss my 30 second phone call because I had to pee!

That being said, this lyric "Gather up your tears, keep ‘em in your pocket Save them for a time when your really gonna need 'em oh" seemed to say it so perfectly for me.  Gather up your tears, and save them for a time when your really gonna need them.  I think I finally understand that this isn't my time to need tears.  As hard as it is to be away, Curt is safe.  There is nothing right now putting him in harms way, and nothing will be for the forseeable future.  When that time comes, and we have something we have to deal with together, whether it may be a deployment, an unaccomponied tour, or whatever else the Army has in store for us, maybe that is when I will gather the tears from my pocket, because then I will really need them.  For now, my husband is safe, we are both learning new things by the day, and in my tired eyes, this so far is turning out to be a pretty amazing experence all around.