1460 M&M’s

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Usually I blog out my thoughts. It helps me clear my always-running mind. It helps me focus my feelings and then shelf them. Hey, don’t mock it, it’s how I cope. Besides, I figure that this is better than a diary to look back on how far we’ve come. Jason’s been gone 3 weeks now, and I was certain I would have posted dozens of blogs about how much I miss him and how the kids and I are coping.

Well, I haven’t.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say; it’s quite the opposite really. I have so many streams of thought going through my head that I just can’ t pin them down. I can’t seem to focus on one thing long enough to make a coherent post. I can barely sit down long enough to eat something that resembles food.

I wish I could say that I am adjusted. I really wish I could say that the kids are adjusted, but that’s just not the case. We’re in this hazy no-man’s land, where one day I feel like we’re getting it down, and the next day I’m just struggling to make it through the next crisis. But every night, the kids eat an M&M from the jar in the kitchen. At the beginning of this deployment, the jar held 1460 M&M’s, one for each boy for each day daddy will be gone. One day down, but I can’t really think about how many are left to go. That stupid jar has a lot of M&M’s.

I’m still in survival mode. I get the kids up, breakfast made, lunches packed, bigs to school, I make it through the day, run errands, feed the kids dinner, try to give them the time they each need, get them bathed and put to bed. Then it’s homework and cakes. It’s our normal life, but a huge chunk is missing, and I can only seem to take it one day at a time.

3 weeks down. That means all of Jason’s laundry is done, but it’s still in the laundry basket because I like seeing it there. I still can’t bring myself to wash his pillowcase because I like smelling him next to me while I sleep, but my cell phone rests where his head belongs. I still have insomnia, but some nights the exhaustion actually gets me to sleep. Then I welcome the crazily vivid nightmares. Oh yeah, I had forgotten just how fun this could be. 3 weeks down, but don’t you dare mention just how much longer I have to go. I can only focus on the days, maybe weeks directly in front of me. If I look at that stupid jar, panic sets in. I’ve personally counted out those M&M’s. My hands have touched each one. But each one is more than a piece of chocolate. It’s a goodnight kiss, a hug at the end of a bad day, a smile when birthday candles are blown out, or a conversation over dinner. He’s missing this. Times 4. five, if you count me, but it’s not really about me. Jason’s been gone three weeks, and already we’ve had Halloween, a lost Layla, bumps, bruises, splinters, tests, and even a birthday. I just can’t stand to think about the entire year ahead of me, so I’m literally taking it one day at a time. Sometimes it’s more like 5 minutes at a time. Good Lord, I miss routine.

A friend of mine reminded me that just a few months ago, when she was adjusting, I had told her that the first weeks were the worst, to shove her way through the first 6 weeks and then take a look around. It’s hard to take your own advice. My problem is that I want to be adjusted now. I want to be like the wives who are out and functioning and have clean houses. I would really like my to-do list to shrink by the end of the day instead of growing. I’d like to feel in control over something. Anything. I’d like the kids to stop fighting, stop screaming, stop demanding everything at the same time. I’m about to buy one of those “take a number” machine and hang it at a toddler-friendly height.

But we are adjusting. We are slowly building our lives around the hole that Jason has left, trying to leave enough room for Jason to slip back into place when our time is over. So yes, we’re making it, but I’m not ready to say that we’re there yet. So I’ll push my way through the next few weeks and then come up to periscope depth and take a look around. Meanwhile, there are hugs and kisses to be given and M&M’s to be eaten.

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