Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bless This House

How do you say goodbye 
to the first house that you and your husband bought? 

The third residence in your life together,
but the first place that truly became a home. 
You painted rooms together. 
You put down roots– and roses. 
You hung pictures.
Your husband built a screened-in porch 
and you both sat on summer nights, listening to the electric hum of the cicadas, drinking wine or eating ice cream and talking of this-and-that. 
You hosted friends– 
hunkered down during storms 
dripped the faucets on cold winter nights,
opened the windows in springtime (and then closed them again once hot humid summer arrived!)
Your husband played guitar
You played piano
You spread your crafts on the kitchen island
You cuddled together in the living room with the lights low
because your husband installed a dimmer switch.

How do you say goodbye 
to the house where you conceived your three babies?
The house that sheltered your storm of grief
when you returned, empty-armed,
from your twin daughters' funeral
The house that sheltered your nervous joy
as you waited the nine long months–
the house that saw, within its walls,
as your son came from your body
and you and your husband heard his cries 
and smiled as he settled into your arms.

It is just a house– perhaps not.
Perhaps more than that– for it has been home. 
And life has been full and rich within, and perhaps–
we'll leave the echo of the tears and laughter, 
the life
the love.

We have a little picture on the wall
"God Bless This House and All Who Enter"
We've taken it down now
But let the blessing remain.

Monday, February 15, 2016

An Attempt at Processing

I'm trying not to think about three weeks from now because that's when Nate gets on the plane in Denver and flies off to Korea. 

It's funny because usually I'm such an introspective person, in tune with my emotions, constantly processing and analyzing what's going on in my inward self– all that for better or for worse, there's certainly good things and bad things about being that way. But now I've got emotional brain-freeze, and I can't (or won't) process. I suppose part of it is trying to get ready to move, which is always stressful, and even more so when you've got a seven-month-old who doesn't make crossing things off your to-do list any easier. But I think more of the freeze is owing to me just wanting to deny what all these tasks and boxes and packing tape and bubble wrap is going to culminate in– which is separation from my husband.

I've talked to other military wives who have said that in anticipating the separation, you usually reach the point when you just want it over with. Just leave, so I don't have to dread the moment of parting any longer. Just go, so that I can start counting down the days till you return instead of panicking over the days ticking by till you leave.

I've become annoyed with myself for how upbeat I try to appear when talking about it to other people. And I am annoyed with them for playing along. It's so much better he goes now, while Sean is too little to remember, I say. Thank goodness for Skype and email and texting– it's really easy to stay connected these days. People nod and murmur agreement. This way he can focus on getting his upgrade courses done and doing all the hard work that's expected of him without worrying about me being lonely and homesick in Korea. My face is bright, my tone light. Because that's how we're supposed to be, we military wives, isn't it? We're "strong" (whatever that means.) It's what we signed up for (it isn't. No girl in the world knows what she's signing up for when she marries military. She only thinks she knows.)

So I'm going to get this off my chest:

Dear everyone-I've-talked-to-about-this-upcoming-Korea-tour, 
Being apart from Nate is going to stink. I'm not happy about it. I'm not upbeat. I feel like there's no good option in this kind of situation, and for our circumstances we've merely chosen the lesser of two evils. It sucks. The only reason I may have tried to seem "que sera sera" about it in conversation with you is because I feel helpless and tired and scared and angry, none of which are emotions which anyone can express in casual conversation without making the other person extremely uncomfortable, and we all know we're not supposed to make people uncomfortable.  
If you have any good advice for me, I will be happy to hear it, as long as you don't tell me about how strong you were when you went through your situation, because the last thing I need is a standard to try to measure up to. On the other hand, if you tell me about how you had stupid fights with your spouse when you should have been focusing on the little time you had left together, and how you just wanted to stay in bed every morning because maybe somehow that would keep what you were dreading from happening, then we should be friends. Also, I already know that this is God's plan, and that doesn't make me feel better right now. I would rather you remind me that it's okay to be weary and confused and scared and angry, because He can handle it.