Saturday, July 5, 2008

Our News

We didn't keep the girls up late for fireworks this year, and there wasn't a parade of any sort nearby for us to take them to. Now, before our four little firecrackers will ever experience a true Independence Day celebration with fireworks and parades, they are going to know something about the real costs of freedom. Their daddy is going to Iraq for a year. Scott will miss out on some very precious times, but hopefully the girls, at least, will be too young to remember it years from now. So I guess this blog may change a little as I'll have less time to myself to work on it but a much stronger desire to document everything well so that Scott doesn't miss out.


The rest of this very long post is one I wrote originally on the 7th of June, just a few days after I received the news. I've postponed publishing it until now and therefore edited a bunch to make the time references real (and added some stuff too), but I've purposefully tried not to edit out any of the emotion because while I don't feel nearly as distressed by it now as I did then, I do want to remember how it felt. Crazy, I guess?!?


I have been a military spouse before. Scott was on active duty when we were first married and without children. He has been in the Guard or Reserves since he left active duty many years ago. He was even mobilized with his Reserve unit for 18 months while we were still living in Alabama, and that was what prompted our move home to where we are now... me being pregnant with the triplets another baby while Ella was still so little, and all! His unit at the time never left the country though they were responsible for training the guys who were going overseas. As a result, I haven't really considered myself a military spouse since we left Ft. Campbell almost 8 years ago.


I think that the people who know me in real life can attest to the fact that I'm normally an "emotional flat liner". I am never one to be easily excited, take anything to heart that isn't my emotion to own, get too upset about things, etc. Don't get me wrong, I LIVE life. I spend my days laughing with and loving on the Four Silly Sisters, for goodness sake. I think my emotional condition is partially a result of genetic makeup and at least partially because I know God is ultimately in control of the whole universe... how could I think Him to be "messing up" what is going on in my little part of it?!?


All that being said, I was in and out of a funk for a few days after receiving a phone call from Scott a month ago while in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Our conversation started out normally, and then while I was attempting to unload the girls from the car, it took a turn. He casually mentioned going to Iraq for a year in August, and by the way training would start late the following week. At this point I actually thought, well if he is going better to be leaving soon (see that no emotion thing?!?)... kind of like ripping off a band aid vs. slowly removing it. It's going to hurt either way!


As is typical of my experience with the ARMY thus far, give things a day or two and the info will change. By the next day he was pretty sure he would be going, but training isn't to begin until 15 July. So, guess what? Now we've begun to s l o w l y peel off our band aid.... (keep in mind I wrote this part a month ago) We're in that limbo state where we're full of unanswered questions and mountains of paperwork. Just the massive paperwork change over of all our health/dental insurance from our regular carriers to Tricare, our association with the DEERS system, wills, power of attorneys, and all the other paperwork yuckiness makes me twitch to think about.


What and how exactly do we explain it all to the girls? Scott typically works a few days away and then is home for a few days as an airline pilot, so him coming and going short term is something the girls completely understand already. In fact, they all even understand that he's a pilot because every single plane that flies overhead receives accolades of "Hey Daddy", and "Daddy's air-pane" from our back yard. They don't, however, understand the concept of months or years just yet. We've been trying to prepare Ella, but I'm sure she still has no idea. She informed me the other day that the phrase "back from Iraq" rhymes nicely, her words. She is using it to convey lots of thoughts.... like when daddy comes "back from Iraq" she wants to get a new dog.


Please don't get me wrong. I am incredibly grateful for all the thousands of blessings we have. I am just getting used to the idea that our regular lives are going to be put on hold for a year and perhaps allowing myself to wallow a little bit on occasion. I'm especially sad for all the things that Scott will miss and hopeful that I'll do a great job of keeping the girls in touch with him while he is away.


Scott seems to be a bit more relaxed and even excited about the opportunity. He feels incredibly blessed to be living the life he has... able to live where we want, working a regular job he loves, able to provide for our four girls and myself, and doing it all with the freedom that most Americans take for granted. He doesn't! Even though he doesn't relish the idea of being away for an entire year (13 months including training) and missing out on Christmas, birthdays and all the other stuff in between, he feels compelled to earn some of the freedoms that he has been given. Fortunately the job he'll have there, though not flying, seems like it will be a good fit for him, and the unit is a good one too. He's already begun working his way through a long list of things to do that will make life easier for me while he's away. Next up, he's to start video taping himself reading books and telling stories so that they girls will be able to see him on tv occasionally. That will suffice until we find out what kind of communications we'll have back and forth between here and Iraq.


I'm sure I'll feel better once some of the TO DO's are behind us and we're on to the good stuff of just spending quality time with him before he heads off. The limbo part is the worst. Ultimately, it will all be fine because God is in control.

18 comments:

Dorinda said...

Oh wow MB! I can't imagine. My DH's neice's husband did two tours but she only had one child at the time. Very different. I will pray that you are peace during the whole transition. Do you have help while he is gone? At least to get out every once in a while? Keep us updated!

Tara said...

oh my goodness. That really stinks. I say that and I am living it but only with one child instead of 4. I will be keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers as it is HARD but as they say "this too shall pass". If you ever need and ear that is in a similar boat I'm here. I absolutely hate this for you guys. I am so proud of my husband but I can't help but be pissed at times that he is working so hard for our freedom while everyone else sits around and complains. Your girls definetly have a very brave Daddy they should be proud of.

Brandi said...

I complain about Joe being gone in the summer for classes, I can't imagine what it would be like for over a year! I hope it flies by for you guys!

3 Peas N A Pod said...

I cannot imagine what we would do without Chris for 13 months. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. Take care!

Kim said...

At the pool the other day when Scott and Ella were there, Ella said that "daddy is gonna miss her sistas' birthday and chissmas" as nonchalantly as possible. When I asked her if her daddy would miss her birthday, she looked at me with this puzzled look on her face and said "No! He be back!" At the time, I knew he probably wouldn't, but I thought it was funny that it was fine that he would miss the other things, but not HER birthday! Oh how this year is going to fly by with God and those 4 cutie pies getting you through. It is a blessing that Scott will feel connected by your blog. Can I come watch him on TV too? (Has he thought about a version of the WIGGLES? HAHAHAHA)

Kerin said...

I'm so sorry that he will have to be gone for so long. Are you near family? Do you have any help? I will pray for his safety as he helps defend our country. "You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat." (Isiah 25:4) May God be your shelter and shade during the time your husband is gone. (I found your site through Lots of Scotts) I will keep you all in my prayers.

Cadi, Lance and our 4 miracles. said...

You sound so much stronger than I could ever be. I will pray for you and your family.

Cadi

CarolinaMama said...

Thank you for serving our country! We appreciate the sacrifice that each of you make. God bless you and sustain you. Love the blog - I am one of four girls and an older brother. Girls are fun! Yours are adorable!

Laura said...

You all will be in our thoughts and prayers throughout the year. What a great idea to make some video tapes so the girls can see daddy while he is away.

Jennifer said...

that is tough MB. my husband travels regularly but only a few days at a time. i try to keep things as simple as possible when he is away but it is still a lot with four.

i like your ideas about the videos.

Whitney said...

MB - I am sad to hear the news that your family will be missing Daddy for a long time. Many thanks to Scott, you and the girls for being a military family so the rest of us can enjoy our freedom. We will be praying for all of you in the coming months. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed! If you need anything, I am not too far away!

Whitney

JMT said...

I hate that you will have to miss your husband for over a year. I know your girls will adjust and find new ways to bond with daddy over the year anyhow. My friends that have recently deployed have had daily internet access and phone priviledges. I hope his unit has a similiar situation. Jen is excited about getting all the girls together for the play date.

Mandy said...

I'll be thinking of you, and praying for your family. We've thought about Cary going to Africa for a summer, but I would dread even that. I'm grateful for people like your husband that preserve our freedoms.

Cassie said...

Serving our country is an awesome thing...I will be praying for you and your family during this next year....Much love and prayers are coming your way

pinkmommy said...

I can't begin to imagine how hard it would be to be apart from my hubby for an entire year! I will be praying for you all and for your sanity as you become a temporary "single mom" to 4 girls!

The Dairy Wife said...

MB,

Wow! I don't know what to say. My prayers and thoughts are with you, for his safety and a swift year until he returns to you and the girls.

Take Care,

Tanya

Jen @ One Moms World said...

Oh Mary Beth. Big (((HUGS))). I'll be thinking and praying of you all often that all goes well. Give your husband a big KUDOS from us and what he is doing for our Country. Make sure to keep us updated :)

Valentine Family said...

Our thoughts and prayers will be with all of you in the coming year while Scott is away. I can't imagine how hard it will be for all of you for him to be gone for that long. He is an amazing man to be serving our country!!