Single parenting these days

By , April 30, 2010 2:15 pm

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself these days.  Haus, as the lead on an engineering project, hasn’t been home very much and the over fourteen hour days are getting old for both of us.  He’s gone before the boys are up and home after they are already in bed.  At least on Saturdays he’s been able to be home for dinner.

I got a little boot to my keester this morning when I drove my dad to the airport.  He’s been gone for a year in Baghdad and finished his outprocessing at Fort Carson today (yah for random Grandpa-time!).  He flies home this afternoon to my mom who has played the single parent gig for the last year.  I’m whining over a few months, she’s been doing it for a year… on a farm… by herself.

After dropping him off at the airport and driving home with two “I’ve-been-in-this-carseat-for-over-two-hours” kids, I almost pulled my tiny violin out again and then I remembered one of my friends that just moved her household… by herself… with two kids… while her husband’s in Baghdad.  I have countless other friends that are doing it all, the cooking, cleaning, caring, working, by themselves while their spouses are deployed.

Sooo, yeah, it’s no fun to do everything while Haus is working ridiculous hours, but he’s not being shot at, he comes home at night, and this is very temporary.  This weekend he has to play single parent while I’m off shooting targets for my National Guard drill weekend.  I don’t remember him ever complaining when I go off to play Army so I guess I can buck up for a few more weeks while he brings home the bacon.

Just wanted to say thanks today, to the ones left behind, the spouses and families that pull through while their loved one serves for us.  Thank you for the support!

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From Army to Mommy: My Story Part V

By , April 20, 2010 7:08 am

Bubba, my inquisitive 4.5 year old, asked me several times today if I used to be a princess and if his Daddy fought a dragon to marry me.  Maybe he’s seen Sleeping Beauty one too many times.  Although Hubby didn’t battle a dragon, Bubba reminded me that it’s about time I told the story of boy meets girl, or boy meets Army girl in my case.

You should probably start at the beginning so if you haven’t already, click here.

I actually met Hubby in a freshman orientation seminar.  How could I forget that 6’5″ gang-banger-wanna-be with six earrings, a baseball cap cocked to the side, basketball shorts sagged almost down to touch the tops of his knee-high blue soccer socks, and Birkenstocks to finish off his look.  He will tell you to this day I wasn’t looking much better in my preppy-Mc-prepperson outfit.

I may have met Hubby the first day of school, but I became friends with him by dating his best friend, Cowboy.   It’s horrible to admit, but while I was dating Cowboy I kinda couldn’t help but think that his best friend was pretty darn cute.  Haus, aptly nicknamed as he was built like a house, made a major impression on me.  Not only was he handsome, funny, and entertaining, he was extremely intelligent.  Pre-engineering football player?  Don’t find those every day.

Wait. Stop.  I know what you’re thinking.

I dropped Cowboy like a sack of Idaho potatoes and skipped over to new boyfriend, Haus, at the beginning of my sophomore year, right?  Like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I read as a kid, I would have loved to skip a few chapters back to “Happily Ever After.”  Haus had other plans.  In between my ROTC commitments and his football practices, we spent almost every day together and I thought for sure he was falling for me.   Late one night in September, however he told me no.  It happened right after I brought up where he saw us going, naturally in between flipping my blonde hair and batting my eyelashes.  He gently shared how great he thought I was, but firmly stated he would never betray his friendship with Cowboy.  We would have to remain friends.

Friends?  FRIENDS?  I, of course, told him that was what I wanted too, but behind closed doors I lamented to my roommate.  Who did this guy think he was?  You see, I considered myself pretty persuasive up to that point and had never really had a boy tell me, “I like you, but let’s be friends.”    Even weirder, he still wanted to hang out with me, you know, like friends do.  I was totally confused.  When I had used that “friends” line, more times than I’d like to admit, it meant, “See ya later and probably not ever.”  Several times a week, Haus still knocked on the door and ducked into my basement retreat to study or invite me to dinner at the dining facility.

As the year continued, I dated off and on, as did he, but we confided in each other as we faced problems in our dating relationships.  It almost broke my heart when he told me he was falling for someone that lived on my hall and I remember telling a new boyfriend that I would have to see if my brother, Haus, approved of the new relationship.  Looking back it all seems so confusing.  Haus dating someone, me dating someone else, while at the same time deepening our friendship with each other.  Oh, and did I mention I was still going to school?

My sophomore year meant harder ROTC commitments and I struggled every day in my pre-med classes.  By March, I was exhausted.  I knew I loved a couple things.  Hanging out with Haus, the few English Writing courses I was taking, and singing with my girl band (Yep, I was in a chick band which I will have to write about later).  I also really liked the increased challenges in ROTC, but felt like the one thing I dreaded was my major.  Biology.  Pre-medical school Biology.  Did I really want to be a doctor in the Army?  Something had to give.

To Be Continued…

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Choosing to stay home

By , April 17, 2010 10:20 am

I had an amazing plan.  I would pack up with seven of my closest girlfriends and spend the weekend in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  We’d laugh, we’d cry, lots of estrogen would be involved.  Then I realized how much I’d been away from home.  With over two weeks in Korea and then recovering from jet lag, and a trip to the South last week, I’ve barely been here.  My kids and Hubby have noticed.

After a long talk with Hubby, we decided to have a family weekend instead.  I had my regrets, when Zeke’s 45 minute cry-fest coincided with all of my friend’s excited Facebook status updates.  But then Bubba and Zeke fell on me in a group hug, settled down for bed early, and Hubby and I snuggled on the couch for a movie night-in.

I’m sure at this very moment all of my closest friends are laughing and crying and, well, bonding while I’m here with my Hubby and kids.  It was a tough choice, but one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

P.S.  Hey girlfriends, if you’re reading this I’m attaching the following pictures with captions just as if I was there.

"That was so funny!"

"Wow, these Hot Springs are HOT!"

"And then, when I was five years old..."

"Yes! I am this scary when I'm hungry. Let's eat!"

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Saved by Army Community Services

By , April 14, 2010 3:44 pm

Ever been displaced somewhere for the day?  We were.  I decided to spend the day at Fort Carson yesterday as I needed new tags and my dad had appointments on post to outprocess from his deployment.  Bright and early, I loaded the kids, a picnic lunch, strollers, oh, and Dad, into the car and drove a hour and a half south to the Mountain Post.  My plan was to find a park and run off some energy outside while my Dad completed his appointments.  I stepped out of the vehicle registration building at 8:45 a.m. and almost lost my new post tags in a gust of wind.  As I hunched over scrambling to the car, my park plans quickly blew away.

I left Dad at the Transition Center for his first appointment and spotted a car wash across the street.  Never underestimate how entertaining a five minute car wash can be for toddlers.  Problem was the car wash only took five minutes and the boys were pretty sick of their car seats.  I remembered passing a building on the way in called “The Family Connection” and hoped for the best as we pulled into the empty parking lot at 9:00 a.m.

Bubba and Zeke taking advantage of the Toy Room

We must have looked pretty wind blown and cranky because a sweet Family Readiness representative bustled us right into an indoor playroom and showed me where I could use computers.  Sweet!  The building provided services for family members that were… well, displaced.  It included an indoor play area, outdoor play area, T.V.s, computers, etc.  About 15 minutes into a Bubba-directed puppet show, a Korean support group came in for their monthly lunch.  The three elderly Korean women offered food to my kids (Bubba was down with the strawberries but only took one bite of the Mandu) while I chatted with an older Korean gentlemen about my recent training in Seoul last month.

We left the Family Connection a few hours later full and tired from playing.  I am grateful for everything they had to offer as they kept my toddlers completely entertained on a day that could have been miserable. Military Installations across the world have community centers with more programs than I could even try to list.  Many are not being used, like the Korean Support group with only a few members on Fort Carson.  I was saved that day and you could be too if you research a little before heading on post.

Not sure of the services available in your area?  Google Army Community Services or the military installation near you.  Here’s information I found for Colorado (Please note that I did not include Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, or Schriever Air Force Base in this list.):

Fort Carson Army Community Services, Colorado Springs CO

Buckley Air Force Base Community Services, Denver CO

Oh and don’t forget about Outdoor Recreation.  We rent from them every year!

Fort Carson Outdoor Recreation

Buckley Air Force Base Outdoor Recreation

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What a week…

By , April 11, 2010 10:29 pm

Commissioned a new Army officer into the Corps, finally saw my dad after his year long deployment to Baghdad, spent a few days with fabulous military friends in Alabama, traveled ALONE with my almost-two-year-old, and made it through a Army Physical Fitness Test I found out about the night before gorging myself on chips and dip.

It’s been quite a week.  Best part of all of it was hearing my little boy tell my dad, “I sure missed you, Grandpa” and beg to sleep by his bedside.

Doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

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