Monday, June 2, 2014

Lonely Sundays

Sundays were always a special day in my family. My mom, dad, brother, and I usually went to church first thing in the morning, and then came home to enjoy a homemade breakfast together. My dad always made breakfast on the weekends...on any given day we could choose from an egg scramble, waffles, pancakes, or French toast. They were all wonderfully good.

After breakfast, my mom usually read the newspaper and began the household to-do list, while my dad and brother ventured to the garage to work on their latest project, or just to tinker around. During the summer months, my dad spent hours working in the yard. I liked to help out by mowing the grass on the riding mower. In my twelve-year-old mind I imagined I was driving a real car on a real street and sang along to whatever song was stuck in my head that day. When I wasn’t mowing, I would spend time in the house with my mom with no real purpose…sometimes I’d help with chores and other times I’d simply find something to pass the time. There would be music on in the background and, whether they were the latest radio hits or Jim Brickman CDs, they were songs that slowly shaped my memories of those relaxing Sunday afternoons. And nearly every Sunday, I’d count the hours until it was time to go to grandma’s house for dinner.

Since becoming a military wife, Sundays have changed dramatically. When I first got married, it was difficult to accept that we would just be staying home on Sunday evenings. There was no one to visit for dinner and no one to entertain at our place. Slowly but surely, I got used to the new, much quieter Sundays and have come to enjoy the simple family time my husband and I have with our own kids.

But as military life goes, my husband is not always home on Sundays. In fact, in his current position he often leaves for trips on Sunday mornings. Over the course of three deployments, multiple training courses, and a billet that takes him on shorter but more frequent trips, Sundays often end up just me and the kids. I’ve tried to take them to church myself, but that doesn’t work out too well and I end up feeling frustrated rather than closer to God.  Many times I make a nice breakfast, but I usually can’t get anyone to sit down for longer than it takes to eat one bite and the idea of a family breakfast goes out the window. I try to think of fun things to do to enjoy the weekend, but those things usually only pass an hour or so. Sometimes I try to see if friends could come over for a visit, but they are usually busy with their own families. I get a creative itch to try a new recipe for dinner, but when I remember I am cooking for two kids as opposed to adults, I realize that the effort would probably cause more frustration than joy. And after a day’s worth of kid speak and mediating sibling rivalry, I wish I had someone with whom I could enjoy a glass of wine and some adult conversation.

It is on those days that I long for the old Sundays when I had somewhere to go and people to see. It is those days when I feel a loneliness inside that makes me wish we lived closer to family. It is those days when I realize that out of all the things I’ve adjusted to in military life, the lonely Sundays are one thing I will never get used to.