PS: Thank You…

I survived my first week of blogging and I must admit – I am loving the public commitment! Thank you to everyone who took the time to read my first week’s entries.

My plan is that every weekend I will close my week with a post of a quote, link, article, blog, tips, videos, pictures, and the like – as a “PostScript” that I think will be engaging , educational, and/or helpful  information about families, children, and deployment.

So, here I go…

 

Today I came across this article:

Fact for Families: Families in the Military

http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/families_in_the_military

A great resource for parents with children going through deployment – what signs of stress and serious problems to look for!

 

I wish everyone a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

 

Until next week….

Down with NEEDLES!!!

needle

                Not too long ago today I was peeling my daughter away from the corner of Quest Diagnostics. It took three adults including myself to hold her down to get blood drawn for her yearly school physical. The sniveling began from her chocolate eyes (as she calls them) since last night. I gave her a heads up on the clinic visit because my 6 year old going on 35 – doesn’t like surprises – she would prefer to prepare herself  (I assuming emotionally, mentally, and physically).

                Prior to leaving our home this morning and last night – we bargained and made a deal. She was allowed to cry but had to control her screaming (because it is really that BAD – at times to the point her throat hurts!). If she was capable of holding back her screams she would get to pick where we had lunch (fast-food obviously) along with a ‘prize’ of her choice (within budget of course).

                On the way over to Quest Diagnostics, my daughter even opted to not bring her Nintendo DS – (anyone who has a child with one knows what a big deal that means) she said couldn’t do anything but think about the ‘needle’ – and of course all that said with tears. My heart ached for her because I knew exactly how she felt – I myself am no fan of ‘needles’ and have to prepare myself for blood work. The only difference is that it is not as socially acceptable for an almost 30 year old to scream and cry at the site of a needle in public as it is for my 6 year old.

                Inside the center, my daughter was as nervous as a mouse trapped in a snake’s cage. She shriveled herself up on the chair, hoping to not be noticed. Once her name was called – the river began to flow from her eyes. So there we were with the sweetest phlebotomist you can ever have for an uneasy child. I thought for sure my daughter would find comfort in her soft tone voice. YEAH RIGHT! As soon as she saw the room she began to back pedal like we were dragging her towards electric chair. She went behind the door and cried in the corner. I could see her trying to convince herself to just get it all over with. I could hear her whispering “I can’t do it – I can’t do it -I hate needles”. My heart stung with pain as I tried to console her and just like any other mother – I wished I could’ve taken her place.

                I tried to talk to her and explain that this is something that is a must and that there is no other option. Needless to say – talking didn’t work. The phlebotomist then pulled out the “frantic child plan” – one person holds child’s legs – another person holds the arms – and one other person draws the blood. I think my daughter’s screams could be heard in the next town! Screams so deafening that nearby glass could have shattered. Even as we walked out of the room the phlebotomist said jokingly “I will send you the bill for my hearing aid!” as she waved goodbye. Nonetheless my daughter survived the needle (just like she did last year and the year before) and in the end she still got the fast food and yes, the ‘prize – I gave in. Looking at her through the rearview mirror of my car driving back home I could empathize with every tear drop that fell on her sweet cheek. Not only because I too despise needles but because I could connect to what she was feeling in so many levels.

                Whenever my husband leaves for deployment, training, duty, work, or for whatever reason Uncle Sam calls him, my family and I have no choice and his response is a must – there is no other option. I also prefer to know as early as possible if and when my husband has to be away from us (thus where my daughter most likely gets that from) so I can emotionally, physically, and mentally prepare. When I was told my husband’s deployment date I too found myself feeling trapped in a corner – attempting to convince myself that I could do this. The military had become my ‘needle’.

                The days leading up to our physical goodbye all I wanted to do was shrivel up and disappear. Tears invaded my pillow and Kleenex became my best friend. I found myself frantic, nervous, and in shock at the fact that had no choice but to go through with this – there was no other alternative. The only option I had was to peel myself from the corner and learn to walk on the journey of deployment all while suppressing the urge to scream as my husband is pulled away from me. I can’t say the same for my waterworks however. Every now and then I need a good weeping cry to fall asleep and/or to get moving in the morning. And I’m sure, just like my daughter, these emotions will come up again in the exact identical form every time we go through deployments and such. But ultimately, I know (precisely as my daughter knew too) that regardless if kick, scream, or cry I too will get my end of the deal and will be ‘prized’ with being with my love again. Definitely worth the pinch…

Dearest Everyone…

 

                 As a military wife and mom, life can be filled with joy, tears, happiness, and frustration. While our spouses are away protecting our country we are left behind to care and manage the homefront solo. We find ourselves stuffing our own packs with strength, patience, time management, budget skills, understanding, and love, everyday – including lugging it to and from the family vehicle along with the little ones.

                 I have begun this journey here to express myself as my family and I walk through the highs and lows of military deployment. Since the beginning I found myself challenged in so many ways – from the smallest crisis to the largest dilemmas you can imagine and each of them I have mostly dealt with alone.

                From the time my husband has been deployed, it has been almost like textbook. Everything I read and everything people told me to expect has pretty much happened, from pre-deployment anticipatory grief to extreme anxiety. But although it seems like every military spouse walks the same path – it is never the exact same journey and experience one feels compared to others.

                Today I can say that I am gaining control of anxiety and it is getting better. The first few weeks I felt I couldn’t even breathe. Feeling like I was trapped between two brick walls and every now and then a specter of some sort would come and squeeze me in some more. For a moment I even feared I had some sort of lung cancer, resembling a hypochondriac. I even turned to my sister, a physician assistant, for medical advice because I refused to admit that my difficulty breathing was a result of my fears of being alone and worrying about my husband being away. It took me quite some time to coming around and finally accepting that it was indeed anxiety. It was as though I had to go through my own 12-step program to get there!

                Once I recognized my anxiety, I turned to look my fears dead in its eyes, grabbed it by its horns and I began to yell back. I acknowledged that the only thing I have absolute control of is myself. I can’t control where my husband goes, I can’t control how often I can speak to him, I can’t control when the bills come or when we get paid, I can’t control my daughters breakdowns, and I can’t control life’s glitches (big or small) – all I can control is how I react to each and every situation. I had to learn to let go of my desire to be in complete control of the things around me. And let me tell you it was not the easiest thing I have done – that’s for sure.

                Just as I now try to unhook my toddler from her comfy-safety apparatus – the ‘binky’, the denial of my anxiety was like my ‘binky’. It kept me safe at night and in public. Even though I suffered emotionally one way or the other, deep down denying my anxiety kept me from believing that my husband is deployed. Presently, as my daughter is going through her withdrawal from her ‘binky’ I can sympathize with her knowing that her sleepless nights will be a result of thoughts running through her mind saying  “Now that I  know I can’t have my binky control my life, how will I get through my days – especially meltdowns?!?” After a couple of days I know her fears and tears will pass and she will manage her days without her security-binky, similar to how I learned to let go of my anxiety and deal with the issues I was facing. I’m not sure if knowing all this prior to the deployment date would have made me feel any better the first few weeks my husband was gone but I am grateful I learned to deal with it as part of my journey. It is something I can continue to take with me not only for the rest of my husband’s deployment but after – in my marriage, family, personal and business relationships, and now as I am challenged by ‘binky vs me’ with my toddler as well.

                So here I am sorting my life daily and starting this blog. Every day I am tested by some unknown force – but regardless even if I breakdown and cry, I know that I have to keep going because well, I have two little ones that react to how I respond to our daily adventures. I will be here day after day divulging all the good, the bad, and the ugly – and of course – how I got through it all (hopefully).

                 I miss my husband dearly and he knows it, all I can do is continue to keep my head up, my patience intact, express myself in a positive healthy way (here) and remember that all I can do is take it at my own pace because regardless the end of the road will come at its own time.

Until tomorrow….for whatever the day may bring….