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Friday, 22 April 2011
A warm welcome to Erin, thoughtful and eloquent mom of three~ telling the story of her life interrupted (in a way that is perhaps more common in the US than for us Canadians?).  If you have a parenting story to tell, or something to share and you are interested in guest blogging here at BTRT, drop me a line!

My Life Interrupted
People like to ask me two questions when they learn that my husband is deployed.  #1 "How do you do it?" and #2 "What, are you supermom?"  My answers are "I don't know" and "Good grief, NO!".

But, if you really want to know, my typical day as a single wife with kids = Chaos.  I'd like to say it is at least organized chaos, but it isn't.  When Manley is home and not playing with planes (um, I mean serving our country in the Air Force) life with three children in fun organized chaos.  The kids are always the center of our day.  
When he's away we all go into survival mode.  I am so outnumbered, even an extra set of hands wouldn't help.  3 extra sets, maybe.  The children are; Rayna (7), Maris (turns 5 in May) and Griffin (turns 2 in July) plus two dogs and a three legged cat.

My day revolves about getting everyone where they need to be as close to on time as possible.  Rayna has to be at school by 8, Maris at preschool by 8:45 (note: there is just enough time between school drop offs to stop by Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee!  Caffeine is my bff), then I cram in the Y, grocery shopping, bill paying, maybe a play date with the AP group, mail a package to Manley, laundry, clean the kitchen from breakfast, etc and it is time to get Maris from preschool.  That is all a typical mom's morning, though.  And, if Dunkin Donuts coffee isn't part of your morning routine, I certainly hope another coffee joint is!

Afternoons are the quiet before the storm - nap time.  Blessed nap time!  For the kids, anyway.  I start dinner.

Once Rayna gets home from school we start all over with homework, soccer, swim lessons, bible study... This is the time of the day when I could cry from wishing so hard the garage door would go up and my husband would come rescue me from the noise/wants/needs of the kids.  Oh, and if he happens to get the chance to call - everything stops.  Everything! Meals, baths, bedtime, soccer all gets put on hold to hear his voice.  The world takes a wonderful deep breath and we are a family again for a few minutes.  We live for the ringing of the phone.

I've watched our children grow up immensely these past few months.  There is no one to turn to and gasp at when a milestone is reached.  I try to down play them when I talk to Manley.  The hardest part of him being away is just that, he's away.  He's missing so many memories that can't be recreated.  There is always a quiet moment on the other end of the phone when I tell him of the great things his children have accomplished recently.  It hurts to hear the catch in his voice when he does speak again.  I can hold and snuggle our kids when they miss Daddy.  I can sneak in their room and watch them sleep when I miss my husband.  We have each other.  When he misses us, and the phone conversation ends, he's alone and far away.  I can't make it better for him.

But, the kids won't slow down just because Daddy can't be here to witness it!  The baby is now walking (ok,running) , mimicking everything his sisters do and talking.  Maris is getting ready to turn the big 05 and  graduate 4K and move on to joining her sister at the "big school" and Rayna, Rayna is my hero.

She's only 7 but she amazes me every day.  Rayna and Manley are two peas in a pod.  Manley is Rayna's best friend.  The day he left for duty, she broke.  She begged me not to leave Daddy at the airport through heart wrenching sobs and tried to grab onto the pillars in the parking garage just to be able to stay as close to him as possible.  (Just so you get a clear picture of this:  Rayna is screaming, sobbing and trying to run back into the airport across 4 lanes of traffic.  Griffin is perched on my hip crying because it feels like I am about to drop him while trying to crab at Rayna.  Maris is pulling at my shirt asking where we are going to go for lunch. I promised them lunch out.  Go ahead, you can laugh.  It is funny.  Now.  And I am sure it is all on a security camera somewhere soon to go viral.)

Back to Rayna: She refused to eat even her favorite foods and she shook when a plane flew overhead for days.   But, she still did this really amazing thing because her father couldn't be here to do it.  She gave her heart and soul to help other kids who needed a friend.   Last month, Rayna shaved her head for St. Baldrick's.  She shaved it.  Bald.  And, boy is she stunning!  She shines even more now.

Manley participated in the charity for the past two years and, upon learning his dates, Rayna asked if she could stand in his place.  She wanted to show kids that they are beautiful no matter what. (Yay, she does hear me when I speak. Hope she still believes this when she's a teenager and life gets even more tricky.)  Rayna set a goal of $5000 and through the help of other amazing shavees she became captain of a team and together they raised $15,000 for pediatric cancer research!

The past few weeks have been a little rough.  Kids can be so mean.  Adults can be so mean.  I've watched her get off the bus in tears because someone called her a boy but she also told me, after an especially nasty comment, "But, Mommy, if she had to say something mean at least she said it to me and not someone who was sick. Isn't that why I did this?"   My 7-year-old gets it.  She understands what it is to be a good person.

I don't think I am a supermom at all.  I think I am muddling through what life has handed me and being met with hugs and kisses no matter how much I mess up.  I think I'm blessed.  I think my kids are super kids.  I think most kids are.  Think about it - they are the ones who have to deal with us adults.  They are innocent, loving, curious, free, truthful and we are the ones who change the world around them to fit into our dreams.  I think, if I want to be a supermom, I need to take a lesson or two from my children. 

Many thanks, Erin, for sharing your story (I think you are pretty super, definitely in supermom territory!)


Anonymous said...

Beautiful family. We're getting ready for deployment #2 this summer (last time around the Army sent him away for 22 months; this time, it will "only" be 12-15 months), so I know it's far from easy! Thanks for sharing your story - it is encouraging to the rest of us out here. God bless you and your husband. :)

Deanne said...

Erin, I know this story by heart. You are an incredible mother and wife. And I am blessed to be able to call you one of my best friends. ♥ And just for the record, you don't give yourself enough credit. You are a supermom! *cue superhero music* Love ya girl!

Suzie said...

I think most moms feel like they are "muddling through." You never know what the next day will throw your way. This was a beautifully honest post. Thank you, Erin, for sharing a piece of your life with us.

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