Monday, May 14, 2012

Turning Over a New Leaf

Here is another blog from back in 2009 when the husband was deployed in Iraq. It is one of a series of "chapters" I wrote, beginning with my Good Grief post.  As I read through the past experiences and feelings, the very ones that created a real challenge for my mind, I am amazed by how nearly three years has gone by.  During deployments, we all think they are never going to end.  We all wish that we could just press the fast-forward button and have it all be over in an instant.  But what we don't realize is that our lives are already on fast-forward.  Life really is short, and we must embrace each moment that comes our way, whether we are comfortable in it or not.  I am hopeful that this post will give a little bit of inspiration not just to military wives, but to everyone who wishes to slow down and enjoy life.    

(From September, 2009)  “Don’t it always seem to go that we don’t know what we’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”  These words, from the song Big Yellow Taxi, by Joni Mitchell and later covered by Counting Crows, say a lot about life that most of us can probably relate to.  I have always liked this song, but the words did not stand out to me until I was listening to it during a workout shortly after Randall left on this deployment.  As I listened to it, tears came to my eyes because the words hit so close to home.  I realized that all summer long I had been taking for granted the fact that he was here.  On a positive note, there were times when I would get frustrated because he would get home from work so late, something that was out of his control, but I would redirect my thoughts and remind myself to be happy that he at least was coming home at the end of the day.  On the other hand, being the incessant busy body that I am, I also used his presence to fulfill my desires to get things done.  There were rooms to be painted, outdoor chores to be completed, and continuous cleaning to be done inside the house.  Sometimes I felt guilty about pressing my to-do list onto him when he already worked so hard during the week and knowing that he did not have much time at home before he deployed again.  However, I pushed these feelings of guilt aside and we worked together to get things done.  Being the great husband that he is, he followed my lead and helped me complete the tasks.

Now, I am kicking myself for not taking more time to relax and simply enjoy his company.  Though I am happy that we got as much done as we did, I know there are things that we could have put on hold.  I was so focused on wanting to get things done that I didn’t realize that the thing I wanted most was already there.  Perhaps I should have listened to him when he would say, “Stop doing the dishes.  They can wait until morning.  Come relax with me.”  My reply was always something like, “But I can’t relax until they are done.  And if I wake up in the morning to a sink full of dirty dishes, I’ll be in a bad mood.”  Seriously, what is my problem?  Nonetheless, I have realized my faults and am determined to turn over a new leaf.  There will always be things that I would like to accomplish, but from now on the number one thing on my list is going to be to enjoy my family.  Maybe sometimes we can enjoy each other while accomplishing tasks.  However, life goes by too quickly when one is speeding through it trying to get things done.  My goal is to slow down, take time to relax, and let the pile of dishes wait until morning.  My dad used to sing me a verse from a song, “Slow down, you move too fast. You’ve got to make the morning last.”  Let this be a gentle reminder to enjoy those things that matter most in life before they are whisked away faster than it takes to blink an eye.

We are now six weeks into the deployment.  Sometimes I think about how fast those weeks have gone by, other times I feel like we should be at the five month mark by now.  Either way, what is important is that we are progressing further towards Randall’s return each day.  Every morning is one day closer to being together again and that brings joy to my heart.  We are still early in the deployment, but already I am filled with excitement for the end.  I cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at least I am traveling through it at a consistent pace.  Sometimes I wonder if I might get myself into trouble by thinking into the future too much.  I tease myself when I think about the late dinner dates that we create for ourselves after the kids go to bed or the glasses of wine and intellectual conversations on the couch because in my heart they feel so close, yet they are still so far away.  This is a new thing for me to have these feelings so early on.  Last year at this point, my focus was on having our baby in February, not on his homecoming at the end of March.  Once the baby was born, then I would be able to focus on his return.  This time, I do not have such an event to focus on, so naturally I end up thinking about when he will be home again.  It is difficult to be so excited for something and knowing that I just have to be patient.  However, the unfailing power of prayer has given me the strength I need to grasp this patience.  This excitement that I am feeling, this early anticipation, is no doubt one answer to my prayers.  Think back to Good Grief where all my feelings of joy were lost and all I could only focus on was the fact that all the happy times we had over the summer were gone.  I prayed for these feelings to get better.  Now, joy has been restored to my heart because I know, even though it is still five months away, Randall is coming home!  


  1. Thanks for your comments/ encouragement on my blog. Enjoyed this post! I tend to be a busy body too... Its so hard to balance what you want to accomplish during the day and relaxing with family. Reminds me of the verse "we are in the world but not of the world"... the world is always telling us to be productive, but our family is God's blessing to us (most of the time. hehe jk). So thank you for reminding me to slow down. :)

  2. I'd like to believe that I have gotten better about putting the unimportant things aside before a deployment and focusing on quality time with my husband....
    But, I fail miserably about focusing on quality time during the deployment.
    I get so caught up in wanting the dep to go by quickly that I forget I need to live in the moment and see what I need to learn and of course not miss out on one minute with my kids!

  3. Great post. Such good reminders.