What does it mean to be “strong?”
Well, when you look up the definition, it says, Strong; 1. Having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks; 2. Able to withstand great force or pressure!
Although it’s not the same definition of strong that I want to talk about, it does have it’s similarities!
For me, I think more about emotional strength, defined as; emotional stability and resiliency, characterized by assertiveness, caring, coping, and stress-management skills.
Well goodness, it’s like the world was looking at my life and thinking, “you NEED to read this!” and I certainly did!
Sure, the first definition holds true for some situations (rearranging furniture, carrying both children at the same time because they just want mommy to carry them to bed, am I right?) but that emotional strength sure tugged at my heartstrings. The caring, coping and stress-management aspect, really. Those are about the hardest parts of deployments. Being able to care for those you love, but doing so alone. Being able to cope with struggles and roadblocks that you can normally tackle with help, but doing so alone. Being able to manage your stress in a way that is going to hold your sanity AND not cause emotional harm, something you’d normally be able to do together, but now you do alone!
No, that’s not swearing, that’s merely a blob of gibberish and anger when it comes to realizing that I haven’t been those things for my children. Sure, more times than none I have been, but it holds true that when you focus only on the negatives, the positives are like tiny specs of dirt and you have a hard time believing they are truly positive!
Whew! Time to open the doors and let it flow, right?!
Yes, I fell into the slump and had ZERO ambition to do anything. Really! Just picture someone vegging on the couch with no care in the world…her glass of water by her side, the remote on her hip, a bag of chips on her lap and she hasn’t showered in….ummmmm…days! Yeah, that was me! Not so much the “vegging on the couch” aspect, but more of the “Hey, kids! Want to come snuggle with mommy in her bed and watch movies today?” YEAH, I went there!
Granted, it didn’t last long, but it was long enough to know that I was being a turd of a mom and needed to get my butt up and moving….and FAST!
So, I went to prayer! Every time the children screamed, I prayed a quick prayer for patience. Every time I had the urge to just sit and do nothing, I prayed a quick prayer for ambition. Every time I yelled at my children for no reason at all (yes, this happened), I prayed a quick prayer for forgiveness. Every time my mind shifted to my Husband, I prayed a quick prayer for safety! And BOY, did He listen to me!! ❤
That next day, I opened up the hallway closet to look for something and instead, found myself tearing it apart, throwing away raggedy sheets, finding baby blankets from 2 years ago that I knew we could donate, rearranging so that it had more room/space.
Upon doing this ONE activity, I walked my lazy butt upstairs and grabbed about 15 boxes from our attic. What happened next was ahhhhhmazing! I filled 12 garbage bags full of baby clothes/toys to drop off at our local consignment shop. I put aside our best outfits to send to a friend and family member. I had so much happiness in doing it. Are we officially done having children? I’m honestly not sure. Should we have gotten rid of everything? Maybe not…but boy, you couldn’t stop me in that moment if you tried!
Whether we have another or not, I know that God will provide and we will be OK! We know what we need and don’t need for a newborn and in all honesty, the thought of being unknown and holding onto everything did not overcome the thought of giving it all up to others who might need it and can use it!
So, here we are. More than a month into this wonderful thing we call deployment and while there’s the sadness of missing my husband, my children missing their daddy and the loneliness of doing things myself, we are definitely making it work for us!
We had my mother-in-law visit this past week and what a blessing it was for her to come! We missed her, dearly and I truly believe that God had her come specifically when she did, for a specific reason! Here’s why:
On our way to the airport to pick her up, I had to stop and get groceries (and gas). Rae had been complaining that her tummy hurt earlier in the morning, but I had figured it was just because she had just woke up and needed some food. I fed her breakfast and she hadn’t said anything more about her tummy hurting. Fast forward to the grocery store, she made one comment about her tummy hurting so we went to the bathroom and all she did was #1. So, we checked out and quickly drove to get some gas so we could be to the airport in time. This is where everything took a turn for the worst. I had about 1 gallon left to pump when I hear Coop yelling to me through the window. I open the door to see what’s wrong and he says, “Rae’s tummy hurts.” So I quickly finish pumping and hear a bang on the window. She threw up all over herself and Coop was pounding on the window (and crying) to get my attention. “Rae just puked all over!!!!” WHATTTTTT? Oh my. So, I did the quick rush of hopping in the car and pulling ahead to where I could park (there were 2 cars waiting behind me in line). And there I was. For the next 10 minutes just cleaning everything up.
She seemed ok, we had changed her clothes and we had about 20 minutes until we’d be at the airport. We were 1 mile from the pick-up and she did it again! ALL OVER! Another quick stop in the cell-phone waiting lot and then it was finally time to get Grandma! But here’s where it gets good!!
After we came home, we knew she was still feeling icky and she continued to walk in a squatted position saying her tummy hurt. (Constipation is what we decided it was, based on her symptoms). Every time she’d say, “Mommy…..” it was an immediate rush to the bathroom, just in case. Unfortunately, I caught that tone from her but didn’t quite make it in time. She sprayed that all over the entire hallway wall and floor! To top it off, I had just set the dinner table! So, there we were, cleaning up vomit. My mother-in-law was immediately in action and had those lysol wipes out and went to town in the hallway while I cleaned myself and Rae up. The blessing of it all was that I had her there with me. Had she not been there, I’d have probably broke down and lost it. But we were there, together, and we were able to sort of giggle about it.
And, she didn’t judge when I cracked open a bottle of wine for my beverage of choice at dinner ❤️
Jumping ahead, the next few days were good. Kids seemed ok, no more my tummy hurts and we were able to grab dinner together (alone) and get some mani’s and pedi’s! The REAL excitement came Wednesday night! I laugh about it now because it was truly that of a Mom’s going to lose it, real fast scenario. Not the “scream and shout” lose it, but the “scream and cry” lose it!
We had all eaten dinner and the kids wanted to go play outside for a few minutes. It was great. Coop put his running shoes on and was perfectly fine. THEN!!! He comes into the house crying that he was hungry. Gave him a banana and he attempted to eat it. He was just acting so weird. Then his face grew pale and I could see it in his eyes! The terrified look of “Mommy, I’m going to puke.” So we rushed to the bathroom and sure enough….we had our second dose of vomit for the week! At least at his age, he knew to get to the toilet. BUT, this is where is started for the night! At that very moment, Rae decided that she only wanted MOMMY and wouldn’t let anything console her or settle her down. So there I was, running from one child to the next. Holding her and then holding him. Rocking her and then rubbing his back! There was one point where she was almost asleep (see that almost?) and I heard Coop call out my name from his bedroom! There I was, holding and rocking her while on my knees in the bathroom. One arm holding her and the other arm rubbing Coop’s back while he threw up! My mother-in-law was an absolute blessing that night, too. Always offering to help and asking me what she could do, but truly, there was nothing that could be done. Rae only wanted her mommy (why? of all nights, why?) and Coop, well, I wasn’t going to expose her anymore than she had been with all the throw up she’d already been through.
It was about 3am when I finally fell asleep that night and it was about 5:30am when the kids woke up hungry! Coop, especially was hungry, but then Rae chimed in and needed food, too. You know, because she wasn’t getting all the attention so she needed to step in somewhere. What better time than 5:30am when Mommy is running on fumes? SO, I grabbed some saltines, gave a couple to Coop and then found myself throwing a cracker at Rae. HAHA. Yeah! I was tired and crabby! She finally fell back asleep at around 615/620 and it was then I got my fuel, my lifeline that day, my saving grace…..COFFEE! We were able to safely take my mother-in-law to the airport that day and laughed about how she started her trip with puke so it only made sense to end it the same!!!
We certainly vegged that day! Lots of snuggles, watched a movie (or 2 or 3), took naps and went to bed like we hadn’t slept in days….some of us hadn’t! Friday was a new day! I got work done, the kids played and learned and read and laughed! WHEW! It’s amazing to see what a little prayer can do!
Now here we are! Back to our usual selves! Awaiting the arrival of our next visitor(s)! Cleaning house and sanitizing….EVERYTHING!