Friday, June 24, 2011

Real first lesson in being a military spouse: You don't say "goodbye."

*Forewarning: this is not my favorite blog to write. Nor will it be my most eloquent. I'd rather just not, but since the idea of this was to record our Navy life experience...I probably should.*

At first, I will admit I thought this "don't say goodbye" business seemed like semantics. It's all the same, right? See you later, see you soon, goodbye- they all seemed to be created equal. SquidRecruit was pretty insistent on not saying goodbye- not even bye really. I was okay with his decision, and he's not alone- I've heard funny stories from miltary fiances, wives, and girlfriends about their soldier/airman/coastie's odd little quirks and preferences when it came to parting. But, I just did not get it- it just all really seemed the same!

Until SquidRecruit was actually leaving. Then goodbye would not come out. It was too heavy on the tongue, the end sounding much too far off in the distance, and my mouth just refused to cooperate with my brain. Especially with my completely heartbroken Bug right there. That word was not an option. We HAD to say see you later, see you soon. Bug had to know we would in fact see him soon, and I think we did too. We had a shorter send-off for him than anticipated, but it ultimately was less painful for our sweet son that way- Sugarplum Fairy was totally oblivious, fussing over a lid to her drink most of the time the rest of us were trying to cope. But oh poor Bug...he was a mess, which of course made messes of us. We left SR with his recruiter once the tears had eased. SR refused to leave till our little man was okay, which I love him for- and before anyone says it- yes, I know we will not always have that luxury, but this time we did and I thank God for it. Bug let it all out again on the way home, but calmed down in time to go in the grocery store to pick out whatever ice cream he wanted for dinner. His dad wouldn't actually leave till the next day, and we'd talk to him more than once in that time gap, but the worst part turned out to be over for Bug- I was so afraid afterwards that he'd be upset for so long. It felt like anything could remind him and upset him. It's something awful to watch your strong little firstborn crumble and hurt like that- it made SR and I positively panic.

The good news is, he really didn't. Each day after got better, apart from Father's Day- that was tough of course, kind of salt in an open wound. But since then, Bug has done really well. Sugarplum has bouts of demanding her Daddy, getting kind of angry, and then moving on for a while, and then the cycle begins again. Bug just let his pour out- Sugarplum kind of has a slow leak going. I know this sounds like a lot, but honestly, it's been much more manageable than I imagined. Getting the box and then the letter from his RDC (boot camp instructor) was really exciting for us- we have a brand new appreciation for the mailman. Their "Dad Dog" and "Daddy Bear" have been invaluable. We miss SR terribly, but we're finding a groove that works while he's away, and it's very obvious how much our amazing friends and family have been praying for us, and been there for us face to face as well. That and the wonderful support of the ladies at Navy For Moms have been lifelines. I feel like if this were a test, overall we are passing. I just hope Great Lakes is ready for our brood come August...

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Box

I promise I will get to the goodbyes and aftermath soon, but..I had to post this:


Oh yes. I have been waiting for this bad boy since last week, when I found out other people were receiving their SR's box. This box contains everything that they had with them when they made it to RTC, and can apparently invoke all sorts of emotions in its recipients; sometimes almost mourning even. Not me. As soon we pulled in the driveway, I saw it. And I squealed, which prompted Bug to ask if it was a happy or sad squeal. Happy I told him, and happy I was. We brought it in and had to open it immediately, and Bug grabbed SR's bag as fast as he could and called dibs. Always an advocate for modesty, Sugarplum needed to know what her Daddy was wearing after seeing clothes being pulled out. She finds the fact that SquidRecruit has to have shots and has a bedtime hilarious, but the thought of having to show skin was enough to make her nervous. Love it. Anyway, we got the box, it contained two shirts that smelled just like my amazing husband and it was the best day I've had in a week, and a much appreciated follow up to a rough Father's Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Twelve thousand words

`I don't know what to say about our last week with SquidRecruit, other than it was amazing. It was everything I built it up to be and then some. There were some hard goodbyes, but there were some fantastic moments. He had so many people sending him off with well wishes and prayers, and our families by our sides all the way through. The smoothness of that time carried me all the way to the day he left. I decided instead of writing down every single thing, I'd just let the pictures tell the story- I'll need all my keyboard letters for the next post I do believe.

The guys doing "guy stuff"...ya know, the kinds of things that require their giant guy muscles.

One of several of the kids' birthday surprises: a build a bear with a special message from Daddy. Big hit, before and after he left.

Last trip to church before he headed out...took way too long to get this as usual!

Getting their energy up for....
Geocaching! We spent our last full day together geocaching, and we drug Pops and a VERY apprehensive Mamaw B along with us.

Sugarplum's geocache trade

Flowers picked by our little cousin, placed in the cup where there had been lemonade, also made by same little cousin and given to SR on his last night home. He's missing him a lot already, as has his sister. Sweet kiddos.

SR getting chewed on by precious niecey Belle, our little Japanese import. Check out Bug and Daddy's identical head angle and face...pricless.

Last picture sent to Daddy from the kiddos before his flight

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

As of today, after 21 months of all sorts of hurdles, hoops, talks, and lofty plans, futureSquid is now a SquidRecruit. And already he's missed in a huge huge way. When I've regained thoughts that run together smoothly, I will recap his departure and relive those sweet weeks before. In the meantime...we're hangin' in there, and God is good- all the time.