The Great Wait… For Orders

It’s that time. Time to start thinking about deployments and care packages and how I’m going to adjust to solo parenting without any communication with my husband for months at a time.

Yup… we are in the window for our orders (and yes, OUR orders because as a MilSpouse, I’m included on those orders). Huzzy will be detaching his current command in November and should have to report sometime in December.

Besides a three year tour recruiting in Michigan (which was kinda his choice), he has been stationed here in Washington state ever since he completed his training. That’s more than 10 years here, total. There are only two places he can be stationed (besides recruiting), and that’s here and Kings Bay, Georgia. KB is the armpit of Georgia… it’s 40 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, so it’s definitely southern Georgia. It’s located on a built-up swamp and is a pretty isolated area.

It’s always been easy to stay in Washington because, for some reason, many people would prefer to go to Georgia (maybe because they like the heat or closer to family, etc), and 60% of the submarines are stationed in Washington. Never been an issue.

Until now.

Huzzy’s ability to look/shop for orders was supposed to open on the 1st, but now it’s been pushed back to the evening of the 13th. However, he talked to the detailer and was already asked if he’d go to KB… and to the least desirable boat type as well. He’d be miserable. Absolutely miserable.

We do not, under any circumstances, want to go to KB. Besides the fact that we love it here in Washington and absolutely hate weather in the south, we have a house here, my mom is considering moving here to help me with Skipper once she’s born (and she will not move to Georgia as she hates the heat as much as I do), and it’ll be financially detrimental to us. I have been planning on starting my own communication consulting business after she’s born, which I wouldn’t be able to do if we moved until after we moved and got really settled and THEN had to start fresh with no contacts. We also have a house that, due to the current market, would cost us several hundred a month even if we were able to rent it out… on top of the rent in KB that we’d have to do. I’ve looked at rentals there and, like here, the BAH is several hundred dollars shy of what we’d need to rent a house. So we’d be out probably at least $500 a month between the two… and BAH is more than $200 lower there. So that’s approaching $1,000 less in the budget. Not do-able.

I could get an additional job, of course (on top of Jamberry and my Navy Reserve stuff)… but the closest city where that would be possible is 45 minutes away with no traffic. Commuter traffic would probably make it in the hour one-way commute. Plus, then there’d be daycare expenses as well that would eat into it.

And really, I realize that this is something all military spouses go through, but when you have been told (and have 10+ years of personal experience behind it) that you’d never have to leave… it’s a rough transition of thought. On top of that, I’m, of course, just about two weeks away from full term and five weeks from my due date. I have enough to worry about without this unexpected stress.

I just hope Huzzy can grab orders to something here. Even if it is the least desirable boat.

 

Signature

Advertisements

Homecomings

Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams. 
~Hosea Ballou

Friday was a busy day as I was helping out with the USS John C. Stennis homecoming as part of my civilian job. Those poor Sailors on the ship had been on a seven month deployment and came home last year only to find out a few months later that they were leaving on deployment four months early and would be returning at the same time.

So instead of having eight months off before a four month deployment, they had about four months off before an eight month deployment. Now, those four months they were “home” weren’t all at home. Carriers have workups and stuff that send them out for a few weeks at a time to prepare for a deployment. There was a 22 month old child who had only seen his father for 90 days of his life.

The homecoming was bittersweet. It was sweet because of all the fathers (and one mother) who came home to babies they had never met before. It was bitter because… there were sweet little babies everywhere. I can’t wait until I can watch Huzzy with our child for the first time. Hopefully that won’t happen after a deployment, but we have only two more years of trying before deployments will start again for three years. I was hoping to have a kid by now and be pregnant again before he went on deployment.

For some reason, I have always had a feeling that I would have a hard time getting pregnant. I don’t know why I would ever think this because my mom was a fertile myrtle with only one ovary and my grandma had no issues, either. But somehow, I just knew. I think you’ll find this is true for many dealing with infertility.

While I always felt I’d have a hard time getting pregnant, I had a feeling I wouldn’t have to go so far as IVF, nor injectibles. We still have two cycles (once we start again) on pills before heading to injectibles, so it still may happen that way. But in all honesty, I’m starting to feel as though this might not happen for us. As in, never. We’ll try IVF once and whatever FETs may result from that, but I think that’s as far as we will go. I’m just starting to think that we might never have a biological child. And that hurts.

I love my job and I love working at things like the Stennis homecoming… but at the same time, I feel as though no matter what I do, nearly every day I’m somehow slapped in the face with the pain that is infertility. The pain never stops because, at this point, there is no closure. It’s an open wound that is continuously seeping and can’t close because every day, it’s broken open again.

Signature

Month of the Military Child: My View

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.  
~Joyce Brothers

This month is “Month of the Military Child.” I hope to have some guest bloggers for you and know of one so far… if you’d like to guest blog, please let me know. I want to have the guest posts on Wednesdays.

I’m going to start off this series. I don’t have a military child (though I did for a day the other week before my IUI ended in a chemical pregnancy… more on that later). However, I have spent time thinking about what it will mean when we have a child and Huzzy goes back to sea. Huzzy started shore duty a year ago now and we thought we’d for sure have a kid by now so he could maximize his time with him/her on shore duty.

As it is, even if we were to get pregnant this cycle (which is not looking good at all), he’ll have just over a year before going back to sea. That’s much less time than what we wanted, but I can’t control it .

Photo from Seattle Times this weekend of families sending off loved ones on the USS Nimitz

Photo from Seattle Times this past weekend of families sending off loved ones on the USS Nimitz. This is an Operation Kid Comfort quilt.

There are several things I’d do for our kids when Huzzy went to sea, including Daddy dolls, videotaping Huzzy reading stories, etc. One of the things I came across… actually just yesterday… was a daddy/mommy quilt.

The quilt is actually a product of Operation Kid Comfort, part of the Armed Services YMCA. Children 6 and under are provided a quilt with photos of their service member and kids 7 and older get a pillow.  This is such an awesome offering and definitely something I’ll take advantage of if/when we finally have a kid.

I think another awesome thing about Operation Kid Comfort is that you can volunteer to put together the quilts. From reading their website, it looks as though all the pieces are shipped to you and all you need to do is put the pieces together. I don’t know how to do a quilt, but I may learn in the future so I can do something like this.

What types of things do you do for your kids when your spouse is deployed? If you don’t have kids yet, do you have any ideas on how you’d try to make deployments a bit easier?

Signature

The Twelve Subbie Days of Christmas

I wrote this last year, but it’s worth re-posting. Or at least, I think it is.

The Twelve Subbie Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
A seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the second day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine (ew!)!

On the third day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside (shhh, don’t tell),
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud (*cough* thanks, hubby),
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Fiiiiive emails at once!
Four missed holidays (yes my birthday counts),
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Six days of duty…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (Boy did I need that!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Seven days to pay the rec bill
Six days of duty (New Year’s Eve, again?)…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (finally!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Eight Single Sailors at dinner,
Seven days to pay the rec bill (WHAT did he spend it on?),
Six days of duty…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (finally!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
Nine different duty stations! …
Eight Single Sailors at dinner (how much do they eat?),
Seven days to pay the rec bill,
Six days of duty…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (finally!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the 10th day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
10 weeks ‘til the next deployment…
Nine different duty stations (I don’t even know where I am!),
Eight Single Sailors at dinner,
Seven days to pay the rec bill,
Six days of duty…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (finally!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the 11th day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
11 still-unpacked boxes!…
10 weeks ‘til the next deployment (yikes, already?),
Nine different duty stations,
Eight Single Sailors at dinner,
Seven days to pay the rec bill,
Six days of duty…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (finally!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

On the 12th day of Christmas, my subbie gave to me:
A 12-hour plane ride to see family!…
11 still-unpacked boxes (from three moves ago!),
10 weeks ‘til the next deployment,
Nine different duty stations,
Eight Single Sailors at dinner,
Seven days to pay the rec bill,
Six days of duty…
Fiiiiive emails at once! (finally!)
Four missed holidays,
Three strains of boat crud,
Two phone calls from topside,
And a seabag of clothes smelling of amine!

Signature

Month of the Military Child – The Best Parts of Being a Military Child

The older I grow the more earnestly I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give. 
~Ellen Glasgow

April is Month of the Military Child. Since Huzzy and I don’t have children, I put out a call for guest bloggers to help out. I originally wanted to do a guest blogger every Monday, but I had so many fantastic responses that you’ll see a guest blogger every Monday and Thursday!

My final guest blogger is Julie from Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life. Julie is a 30-something Army Wife and Mom of 3 little boys living in Tennessee.  She loves blogging, photography and reading lots and lots of books.

——————–

The Best Parts of Being a Military Child

There are some different things that Military children have to go through.  Deployments, lots of time away from Mom or Dad, moving a lot, having to say goodbye to friends and not growing up near extended family.  However I think there are some really great things about growing up as a Military Child.

Julie's three adorable boys

1) Live in a lot of cool places.  My kids have lived in Germany and Tennessee since becoming a Military family.  I think that is pretty cool.  They have seen 11 countries and have had so many great memories.  My 5 year old loves to say that he was born in Germany!
2) Learning early on how to meet new people.  In the Military people are always coming and going.  Military kids will learn early on the best way to make new friends.
3) Having friends from all over.  I know if we stay in the Military, by the time my oldest is 18 and going off to college he will know people from all over the country.  I think that is pretty cool!  I love meeting different people from different places.
4) Knowing their Mom or Dad is doing something amazing. Military kids look up to their parents and think of them as heroes.  What a great feeling to know your parents are making a difference in the world.
Whenever it feels like my kids are having a hard time with this lifestyle, I try to remember all the benefits and what amazing things they will get to experience in their childhood because of the Military.

——————–

Month of the Military Child – TBI and Children

Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.
~Author Unknown

April is Month of the Military Child. Since Huzzy and I don’t have children, I put out a call for guest bloggers to help out. I originally wanted to do a guest blogger every Monday, but I had so many fantastic responses that you’ll see a guest blogger every Monday and Thursday!

My next guest blogger is Amber from Random Rants of An Army Wife. Amber and her husband, Doc, were married after just four months of dating and six+ years later… they are still just as in love. But just like any love story, this one has its twists and turns. During his most recent deployment, Doc was injured and subsequently has TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Amber and Doc have two adorable girls.

——————–

Earlier this month my husband, Doc, came home from work to see our 4 month old daughter in a Red Sox onsie, he asked me where I got it.  I reminded him that it had been our 2 year old daughter’s when she was a baby.

Sweet TC

Me:  Remember she wore it to one of the Red Sox games that we took her to when she was 5 months old?

Doc:  We took her to a Red Sox game?

Me: We took her to two.

Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon.  Doc has very little memory of our 2 year old’s first year.  TC was born 3 weeks after the accident that left him with a mild TBI.  He was deployed and his vehicle rolled over on the way to a target.  After coming to he had a few broken bones in his face and a concussion.

When he came home we had no idea how bad it would be, in fact Doc declined the midivac overseas and continued to run missions while injured.   He was a Ranger, that is what they do.  We didn’t know what we were in for, he came home early from deployment to be home while I had the baby.  While he was home the headaches wouldn’t go away, his memory was spotty, he would get disoriented and lost in places that he should have known, his temper was out of control, he couldn’t get his head and mouth on the same page.

Our oldest daughter TC turned 2 in February, she is a spitfire.  She looks just like her daddy and thinks he is just the coolest.  She was born just weeks after his accident, he knows he was in the delivery room but he doesn’t remember her birth.  He doesn’t remember her first steps, he doesn’t remember when he spooned her first solids into her mouth.  Luckily we have way too many pictures of all of these events but that doesn’t replace his memories.  She can now pick up on when he’s having a bad day, she can see it in his face like I can.  At two years old she knows when daddy is going to be in a bad day.

While some of his symptoms are better his temper is still horrible.  It breaks my heart because he’s just so short with her when she’s acting out.  He’s not always bad, they have their fun and I pray that those are the memories that stick with her.

Smiley A

Our youngest Little A was born this past December, she’s lucky that Doc will most likely remember her birth.  Hopefully by the time that she’s 2 Doc’s temper will have mellowed.  I think she will be more sheltered from Doc’s bad moments because her sister is so loving.  This damn TBI will force TC to grow up faster to protect her sister. I know many military children grow up fast I wish mine didn’t have to because (as Dr. Phil would say) daddy’s a monster.

I guess we are lucky that the girls didn’t know Doc before his injury, they don’t have the confusion of “why did Daddy change”.  As they grow we will have to decide what we want to tell them about what happened and how it changed him.

——————–

Month of the Military Child- Children and Reintegration

Homecoming means coming home to what is in your heart.  
~Author Unknown

April is Month of the Military Child. Since Huzzy and I don’t have children, I put out a call for guest bloggers to help out. I originally wanted to do a guest blogger every Monday, but I had so many fantastic responses that you’ll see a guest blogger every Monday and Thursday!

My next guest blogger is Nadine from The Albrecht Squad. The Albrecht Squad is a Proud Army Family always looking forward to whatever adventure the Army decides to throw at them next! Whether it’s deployment, training or just Army life in general, there is nothing they can’t survive together!  Nadine is an Army Veteran herself married to an active duty Soldier who has served for 23 years and counting.  Together they are raising three boys who are 16, 14 and 10.

——————–

My husband and I met in the Army back in 1995.  We got married and started our family a year later in 1996.  Our three boys who are now 16, 14, and 10 have only known this Military Lifestyle.  Our kids have spent more time apart from their dad than they have spent together.  I figure at some point, the time together will match up to the time apart (how is that for a positive attitude!). 

2010 was the first year that we lived consecutively for the entire year as a complete family.  It was a very difficult year.  My husband returned from Iraq in June of 2009 and we PCS’d  to our current duty station four months later.  For the previous decade during Drill Sergeant duty and deployments, our Soldier was gone a lot.  My boys and I grew very accustomed to finding our routine without dad.  He was gone so much that we often found ourselves feeling off balance when he was home.  The boys had learned how to deal with the constant separation and fell into their routines easily.  They were very used to having just me in every aspect of their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, we worked very hard to keep their dad involved in everything in their lives but the physical absence made it hard to connect in some aspects.

Since Kevin was never home for very long periods of time before we moved here, the boys wouldn’t completely adjust to having him home and it rarely broke their stride.  Then we got here.  We were and are very grateful for the assignment my husband has here that affords us more time to do things as a family but it was very hard to adjust to having another full-time authority figure in our lives.  The boys were not used to having to answer to two people.  Kevin and I have discussed since the very beginning of our marriage how we were going to raise our kids but we had not really had an opportunity to put a lot of it into place as a team.  We supported one another but the reality was, I was the main caretaker and the boys weren’t used to this other person telling them what to do.

They rarely asked my husband for anything.  Permission to do things at school or to even go to things at school, the assumption was made that he wouldn’t have time.  They didn’t know how to adjust to him giving them chores that weren’t the “normal” things I had them do and sometimes they resented it.  Some of his expectations for household chores are very different than mine and the boys didn’t know how to accept that either.  There was often conflict in our house because we didn’t know how to balance it out at first.  It was hard for the boys to accept that their father would actually be home longer than a few weeks and that we wouldn’t just fall back into our boys and mom routine.

It isn’t that they don’t respect and love their father, but for 10 years we had done things on our own and during the short periods of time that Kevin was home, we focused on the time spent together instead of establishing full ground rules as a family.  It was easy for me to say that I would just deal with things since he would be gone anyway soon enough and it would fall on my shoulders anyway.  I realize now what a disservice that was to my husband and a large part of the reason 2010 was such a difficult year of transition.

The Albrecht boys welcoming home their dad in 2009

I also realize part of the difficulty of transition for my boys was the fear to believe that our Soldier would actually be home long enough to finish a project or to establish a routine.  Another emotional aspect involved the fear of  disappointing their dad.  Even though we were parenting the same way, they didn’t see it that way.  If I got upset with them for not doing something, it didn’t bother them the way it would if their dad got upset.  They didn’t want to disappoint him because they had spent so much of their life worried that their dad would leave upset or disappointed in them and then something would happen to him and it would not be resolved.  My kids put a lot of pressure on themselves about things like that.

2010 was a year of adjustment, learning and to be honest plain confusion.  We were all trying to find our balance to be the family we wanted to be.  We were a great family that was balanced in an odd sort of way while enduring constant separation, now we had to figure out how to be a great family together.  Even though that year was difficult, I look to where we are now and smile with joy in my heart.  Even during that time of tribulation, one thing that there was no confusion about was the love that my boys had for their dad and the love he has for them.

2010 was another testament of the strength and courage our Military Children have and it is through them I learn the most.

——————–