So moving here to Fort Drum solo has definitely been an experience. One that I will not be repeating. Ever. I won’t go into the details of our journey, or the debacle which ensued once reality set in. In summation, it was my best friend, Emily, myself, 4 boys and a stressed out dog. Did I mention that we were towing a trailer with Jason’s motorcycle? Yeah, I pulled that bad-boy through the drive-through. Maybe I needed the McDonald’s landscaper to do a little ground-guiding for me, but hey, I did it.
Here’s where the pre-deployment part kicks in. Jason is in Alabama, finishing up the ALSE course. I had to move up here early because we’d already dumped 5 k into a house I’d never set foot in, and it was getting ridiculous. I know Jason would never had done this to me if he’d felt we had another option. But here I am, in a foreign state, with these four little boys looking at me, asking “what’s next?”
So, Sunday rolls around. Jason’s mom and grandparents are gone, I’ve dropped Emily off at the airport, and I am alone. With four boys. I have zero food in the house and said house is full of boxes. A MAZE of boxes. All of my bravado started to falter. It was one thing to think that I could handle anything and quite another to look around and not even know where to start.
Fast forward a couple of days. I am at my wits end. My hand is ripped to shreds from trying to change out the stuck drill-bit. The kids were completely stressed out to the point that Brody wouldn’t let me leave the room. Unpacking was pretty much impossible unless the kids were sleeping and I couldn’t get in to their rooms while they were sleeping. Nice. Add this to my washer and dryer saga, and I’d had it. The washer was too far away from the drain, so I got a hose extension and clamped that baby down. Leak. Leak. Leak. I couldn’t get the dryer vent to clamp onto the dryer, and just when I’d had it, I look and see that we have a 4 prong dryer cord for a 3 prong outlet. FML. This was pretty much my breaking point.
All I could think was that Jason will be gone by October. I have a year of these kind of challenges in front of me, and I’m failing miserably. I’m cranky to the kids, and my stress level is through the roof. All I keep hearing is people telling me, “you’re strong, you can handle it.” Well, at this pint, it certainly didn’t feel like it. I’m sorry, but the “You’re strong and can handle it” fairy doesn’t show up and magically make everything better. How the hell was I going to make it for a year with hockey and soccer and boy scouts and tball and doctors appointments and no Jason? Oh, and NOT lose my mind? At this point, I’m pretty sure Jason thought I hated him because the poor man couldn’t talk to me without me snipping. A lot.
Then a few of days ago, a switch flipped. I found my routine again. Those of you who really know me understand my need for a schedule. Well I found it. I also found the Home Depot and the Walmart. I fixed the washer, re-wired the dryer, stocked the house with food (thanks Tami!!!), had Aaron enrolled in school and Aidan’s kindergarten assessment done. My super-mom cape started to fly in the breeze. Boxes started getting unpacked and thrown into the garage. Hey, I figured J could break them down once he got here. 😉
So what I realized is that I just experienced the first week of a deployment all over again. That period of time when you’re just flailing around trying to find this mysterious footing which disappears the moment you think your sanity has found its purchase. I just had to take a deep breath and seek out my routine in a new environment while flying solo. I had to remind myself that my four little guys were not my enemies, nor were they conspiring against me to keep the house in boxes. I relaxed, and just started to fly.
I’m grateful for this experience because it’s shown me what I’m capable of. I’m still apprehensive about this upcoming deployment. Ok, that’s putting it mildly. I’m dreading it. But at least I know now that we’ll be okay. I feel like I got a sneak peak at our next year for these last two weeks, and while it was anything but pleasant, in the end I came out victorious. And the boys are all still alive. That’s a plus. Besides, Jason gets here tomorrow, and there’s plenty of boxes left for his unpacking pleasure…