Tonight we’re taking a break from our Adventures with the Littles chronicles and skipping to present day, where all the boys are home from camp…
That’s right. Tonight, I am victorious.
What have I done that makes me feel like this?
Well… I’m breathing, so I guess that’s something. Considering I actually broke down in tears on my husband before he went off for work this evening… well… breathing is good.
Today, I woke up, said a little prayer for my day, and then my feet hit the floor. All smiles, and hugs and ready to rock it…. until Chase. Dear God, Chase, was basically like:
Right. Looks like this day is off to a terrific start. So the fighting ensues about the same time that breakfast hits the table, and I’m basically expecting:
at like… any minute. Luckily the food stays in the bowl, but by about 9:30 A.M., Brody and Aaron are just dandy, but Chase and Aidan are in the background like… well….
So I figure it’s a GREAT time to go shopping and pick up the oil painting we had framed for the baby girl’s room. After all, if they’re all strapped in with their car seats and seat belts, they can’t possibly reach each other, right?
Right. We make it to town and pick up the painting, plus a ton of craft supplies. I mean, if their hands are busy, they can’t use them to beat the crap out of each other. So $50 in insane popsicle-stick-looking, water-color using craft… stuff… we head to the register, where I then have to face a standoff with my boys. Oh yes, I actually lower myself to an argument over the validity of Pez as lunch.
No, really. In the middle of Michaels. And Chase… Chase has the nerve to look at me like he can take me on, and I’m basically like:
Yup. Won that one.
So we get home, the kids take out oodles of said crafts and then begin to what? Fight. Seriously? I just dropped $50 on the most random assortment of things they’ll never use but had to have, just to keep your little hands busy, and they’re still fighting?
Yup. Aidan is telling Chase that his picture of Superman is all wrong because he’s colored in the tights yellow instead of blue, and disaster ensues. Chase loses it. Let me tell you, when Chase goes off the deep end??? Well, basically all you can say is:
Now, Jason and I freaking love this little boy with our whole hearts. I would stand in front of a moving train for my son… but he’s a force of nature. That’s probably the best way to describe Chase, especially when he’s in a temper. He’s been like this since the moment he was born, to the point where we’re pretty certain:
Right. So Chase’s head is about to start spinning with projectile vomit. I know it’s coming, and Linda Blair has nothing on this kid when he’s ticked.
Oh yes, he’s SCREAMING at Aidan, and then screaming at all of us that everyone hates him and that we all think his picture is stupid. Mind you, we don’t use the “stupid” word in this house. Why? Because no good can ever come of that word. Ever. Yet, since school has come into the picture, now apparently we all think his picture is “stupid.” So from about 10 feet away in the music room, I’m saying:
But Chase is shrieking at the top of his lungs and then crosses the line with, “You know what, Aidan? You’re a big, fat JERK! JERK! J-E-R-K! Who’s a jerk? His name is A-D-E-N!”
I step in, but before I can snap my fingers towards time-out, Aidan has to fire back. “Whatever, that’s not even how you spell my name.” So Chase full fledge jumps off the ledge and lunges for Aidan, and I’m basically like:
So fine. You’re both in time out. That’s right.
Well, that would work, except now Aidan is egging Chase on and I’m actually yelling, “Stop poking the bear!” Where Brody (who we call Brody-bear) chimes in with, “but I’m the bear!”
So Aidan and Chase are still going at it, a flight of stairs away from one another and I’ve had it. That’s it. Aidan has this supreme look of satisfaction on his face, because he’s successfully driven Chase insane (which isn’t hard to do, but still..), so he’s like:
Now… oh, now, mama is angry. So I smile sweetly as possible and say, “Hey, Aidan? You know that empty bunk bed you have in your room?”
And now he’s suspsicious. “Yeah?”
“It’s not empty any more. Chase is moving in with you.”
“He’s WHAT? For how long?”
“Until you learn to get along with him.”
Oh, he didn’t like that. Not one bit. Now he’s got those big blue eyes on me like:
And Chase, God-love him is over the moon like:
Because as much as Aidan drives him insane, all he wants is to be a Big. So Aidan tries to call my bluff, and gives Chase a face pretty much like:
So just to drive the point home, I told him to go get Chase’s comforter and move it to his room.
Yeah, he got the point then.
So nothing gets better with this the rest of the day. My voice is now hoarse from yelling, not out of anger, but just to be heard over the sheer mayhem of the house, and I realize, Aidan’s therapist is right. When you raise a house full of four boys, it’s more like you’re parenting:
So yeah. Jockey for dominance all you want boys. Mama is the alpha in this house. Craft time over. Now the boys are whining that the batteries are dead in the wii remote and now there’s NOTHING to do, and my first response? GO PLAY ON THE DARN SWING SET! I mean, come on… that thing was a big enough pain in the butt, now go PLAY OUTSIDE. Novel concept, I know.
Dinner finishes, and Chase and Aidan go at it again, this time over why Chase has to blast Justin Bieber on the karaoke machine at decibel 400 and follow Aidan all around the house with it, singing at the top of his lungs. At this point, I’m so sick of yelling, and fighting, and trying to maintain my calm that I’m pretty much like:
To Justin Bieber.
It’s official. I’m about to break my deployment promise to myself. I’m about to lose my shit.
So after Aidan rips the machine out of Chase’s hands, which was pretty much inevitable, and screaming begins anew, I tell them it’s time for brother-bonding. To bed they go! They’re still fighting up the stairs. Fighting as they brush their teeth. Fighting over the temperature of the air conditioner in the bedroom. Aidan pleads with me not to do this, not to force him to get along with Chase.
But you know what? At this point? This is what I feel:
But that’s not really an option, seeing as I don’t drink. I might have to reassess that decision.
Aidan is now closed-mouth screaming. Oh, you know that awful sound. So instead of breaking down sobbing out of frustration, or fighting back with them, I slip into honey badger mode. Oh you know… honey badger.
And when Aidan is blaming me for the injustice of the world, and the absolute torture of sharing his room with his little brother, I give him a sweet smile, kiss him on the forehead, reach up and hug Chase, and then walk out after a goodnight. Why? Because:
Sorry boys. Mama doesn’t back down when she sets her mind on what’s best for you. Yell, scream, fight, cry, I just don’t care. There’s no blood, he’s not killing you, and you’re kind of stuck with one another as brothers until one of you dies…
Yeah. So all the boys are in bed, and they’re still what? Still fighting. I can hear them all the way downstairs on the opposite side of the house.
Here’s where I get embarrassed, but hey, it’s not like the rest of my personal life isn’t on here, right? Jason wakes up and hops online to say good morning (my goodnight), and I break down sobbing.
Freaking Sobbing like a teenage girl who got dumped at prom (and no, that didn’t happen to me). He’s asking how my day was, and since we have a 100% disclosure policy (this is what keeps our marriage real during a deployment, peeps, no judgment), I tell him. I tell him EVERYTHING.
And then he asks when the last time I went out and did something by myself, with no kiddos, just for fun…
And I had to think.
It’s been almost a month since I spent a day fetching the swingset, and that’s the last time I spent solo time with another adult. Jason informs me that doesn’t count, because it was for the kids. So I think back. And I think harder. And that’s when it hits me.
I can’t remember.
I haven’t seen any of my “previous deployment” girlfriends in a month? More? Longer? Crap. I don’t even know. So much has changed since the last deployment. So much of my support structure I was so proud of has faltered, failed, dissolved, PCS’d… And I say the words I know I shouldn’t: “I’m so tired of being alone. So sick of being this lonely.”
And all I can think is that I’m stuck here, way too far away from my family, and basically…
And while we have a full disclosure policy, I feel awful telling him this, laying this on him. Why? Because as lonely as I am, as tired as I am of being alone, I know that I only have him to miss. He’s missing us ALL. Yup, I was that lame wife.
True to Jason style, he handled it like a champ.
I’m now under orders to book a babysitter for a full day and find a bookstore. God, he knows me way too well. Sigh.
I just wish I could fix him as easily.
So a few minutes of torrential, drama-queen sobbing and I’m feeling better, talked down off the ledge by my incredible husband, who always says that deployment is harder on me than it is on him.
He’s dead wrong. I know it’s harder on him, without a doubt. While the kids may try to drive me to drink, they certainly aren’t shooting at me. But he’s sweet to say it’s hard here at home. 😉
So tonight I am victorious. Because the boys have been out of school, and hammering at each other, for a month, and we’re still here. Because when I get this upset, all I think is:
But I don’t do it. I hold steady and don’t eat my feelings. But damn, I’d like to. Brownies. NOM NOM NOM. Oh what? Kale? Yeah. Kale it is.
That pic is courtesy of Running Woman. 😉
So you know what? Today is a day where everything is not okay. And that, in itself, is all right. It has to be. There’s nothing worse during a deployment than plastering a fake smile and holding until you break. For me, cracking just a little bit under the pressure lets me heal, repair, assess my weak spots and come back with fortifications. If I stay too strong and ignore the cracks, well… everything crumbles and brings the whole house tumbling down.
I can’t tumble the house, because this will all start again in about 7 hours when those tiny feet are up and… well… arguing. But I know the most important thing as their mama is make sure they know I love them, and
Nope. The boys will always know I can take what they can dish, because there’s nothing they could do that would make me crumble, or let them fall. Everything else in my head comes second to them. Yeah, life is a wee bit stressful at the moment, but they are who I won’t ever falter or fail. Those tiny little souls who didn’t choose this life are the most important part of it.
The boys are asleep. That means they’re not fighting.
I love Jason. He loves me. 6,000 miles can’t change that.
Yes, tonight I am victorious. Beaten down a bit, but victorious all the same.
Oh, and Aidan? You’re still stuck with Chase until you can learn not to poke the bear.
As for me? My parents will be here to visit in 9 days, and Running Woman gets here 3 weeks after they leave. I can hold out. Homesickness can’t last when home comes to you, right?
Here’s to a better day tomorrow.