Archives for the month of: April, 2012

Last week was rough. I’m not sure what was happening on SB’s side that had him so stressed, but we just felt really, um, off? disconnected? separate?

All of our conversations were turning into fights, and there was just some invisible, cranky, monster between us. I finally texted SB and just asked if something had changed because he seemed completely indifferent towards me. I expected to get a message back that lovingly dissuaded my fears; something like, “of course not baby, I’m just really tired and busy at the moment, I’m sorry”; instead I got one that said something like, “I think I am, I don’t know why”. POW like a punch to the gut – I mean, I appreciated his honesty, but the last thing you want to hear from your husband is that he feels indifferent towards you.

I decided not to immediately get upset and irrational (must have been the 7 days of self-reflection I had to do last week – thanks JCU!), usually I would have, but instead I tried to understand what was going on in his life and in his brain.

The weekend came, and things started to get better, our conversations were more engaged and my sweet, loving husband came back. But our brief foray into ‘indifferent’ land had scared me, for sure, and I think him as well, so we started to talk about how we had ended up there; communication (see, I’m learning, hehe).

What we discovered, we have now dubbed, ‘Soldier Mode’, (I’m SO sure that we are not the first to experience this, and you’ve probably all already named it this, so don’t worry, we won’t try and take credit for it, hehe). When SB is on the job, Mon-Fri, he is completely immersed in Army – barracks, sergeants, corporals, training, etc; there’s just no space for thoughts of me and home.

That’s how I want it to be though. Once we had worked out what it was, and that it wasn’t about me or anything I did, I accepted ‘soldier mode’. I figure that the more he focuses on his training now, the more ‘soldier’ he becomes, the greater peace I will have when it comes time to deploy. I want him to be soaking in every tiny piece of potentially life saving information, I want him to learn to do his job to the very best standard possible. I want him to fully enter into ‘soldier mode’, so that he can come home and slip back in to ‘husband mode’.

I am so proud of how hard he works, and even how he is able to slip in and out of ‘soldier mode’, it’s a skill that I was hoping he would acquire because I really want him to be able to focus, 100%, on getting the job done and coming home.

I love my soldier, no matter what ‘mode’ he is in.

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From here, via Pinterest

It’s been 6 months now that we have been apart. The day that we finally get to be together is drawing closer, and even though I don’t know when it will be, I can’t wait!

This is hard! I never thought it would be easy, but it’s just felt extra difficult lately. Last week, I was in Cairns, making friends and learning new things, and SB was with his friends, hanging out, being silly, and having fun.

It’s hard to feel together, connected, involved, when you are basically leading entirely separate lives. I can’t speak for him, but I’ve started to worry about where I will fit in to his new life – will I just be a buzz kill since he won’t be living in the barracks with his friends anymore? Will he miss his freedom? Will he wish he didn’t have me?

I can speak for myself when I say that I’m so grateful for this life. It’s hard, very hard, and it will get harder; but I have, so far, had a chance to learn so much about myself – what I’m capable of, what I want, and what’s important to me.

I’ve never been so sure that I love my husband, and want to spend my life supporting him. I was made for marriage and I’ve realised that the most important thing to me, is trying to be the best wife & partner to my soldier. This may seem old-fashioned, but that’s me; family is my number one priority.

So while we may feel disconnected at the moment, I know that once we are finally together, we will find a new normal, and as long as we’re both committed to loving each other, we can get through the hard times, the distance, the separation.

xxx

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. For my readers that don’t know ANZAC Day “marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.”

I didn’t grow up with ANZAC Day, I’m American, so we had Veterans Day. It included a parade and basically, as a non-military child, a day off of school. Even in the past few years, while I have respected ANZAC day, I haven’t really paused to think about what it means, or what it’s honouring. This year it means so much more.

While the day is really set aside for the soldiers themselves, I find my thoughts drifting to the families. All of those wives, children, parents and siblings who were left behind and who lost their beloved soldiers.

Right before I went to Cairns, we had morning tea with my mum’s Aunty – we’ll call her Aunty G. Now I would have loved to do a formal interview with her, but that’s not how it happened, so I didn’t get to write anything down, and there won’t be any direct quotes – maybe one day I’ll interview her for real. What I did get from my chat with Aunty G is the immense differences, and similarities of her life as an Army wife (70-odd years ago), as opposed to mine. The draft was still going, so all men, whether or not they wanted to, had to be soldiers. This meant that basically all wives were Army wives; so there was no such thing as Army housing, because that would have had to include the majority of Australia. There was no such thing as Skype, phone calls weren’t an option, and email didn’t exist, so letters were their only option. Letters that took a minimum of 2 weeks to arrive, and that were so censored, she described them as looking like ‘lace’ at times. I asked Aunty G if the fact that everyone was in the same situation, made her feel less alone and more supported – I expected her to say ‘yes’ – but she didn’t, she basically said that everyone was so worried, stressed, consumed by the war, that they didn’t really talk about it beyond asking if they’d gotten a letter recently. I sometimes feel like since Army life is so different from that of a civi, we are isolated and misunderstood, but Aunty G made me realise that that can be the case no matter what community you are in. Aunty G and her husband went on to have a long and lovely marriage, outside of the Army. I would have loved to ask her a million questions, but it was afternoon tea, not an interrogation, and the attention quickly shifted to my mum’s wedding.

Aunty G, and all those other wives and families, of all the soldiers throughout our history, are who I think of on ANZAC Day; who do you think of?

xxx

elephants & beaches...what more could you want?

I may be obsessed with elephants on the beach, because this is definitely not the first such photo that I have pinned to my Pinterest. haha but I mean, c’mon! if this doesn’t make you smile, you are cold. 🙂

From Pinterest

hi all.

promise I haven’t forgotten you. At the moment I am suffering through a 7 day workshop for my uni course and I don’t have much time to post…

I do have things to tell you about though, so here’s a quick preview…

blast from the pasts, increasing capabilities, army attitudes, etc.

so don’t forget about me, I will be back. 🙂

xxx

we're all together!

SB got to come home for Easter! It was so nice to have him home. We took the dog to the beach and one of our friends managed to snap some pictures. It’s so rare to be together, so any picture where the two (or 3, even better!) of us are together makes me happy. Lando was super cute chasing the ball. hehe Hope that you all had a great Easter, and those of you whose soldiers weren’t home – I was thinking of you.

Picture is my own.

We still don’t know where/when we are moving. I’m so excited to find out and to move on to the next stage of this life, but I know that I need to be patient – it is a virtue after all.

But I can’t help wondering, speculating, researching and obsessing, hehe. I told you before how I know something is soon based on the milk’s expiry date. Since I don’t have a date though, I just wonder…

Every time I shampoo my hair, I wonder if I will have to change the bottle at this house, or the next. Every time I take out the trash, I wonder if the roll of trash bags will run out here or there. I wonder where I will turn in my last assignment, change my next ink cartridge, buy a new toothbrush, new dog food, new mascara.

These are the things I ponder.

How do you mark time?

xxx

pretty...

from We Heart It, by way of Pinterest

When I started this blog, I promised to be honest, to write about things even though they may be, in this case, a little risque, hehe. So nana, and any other family reading, you should probably skip this one. Right now, I’m wishing I had written this blog totally anonymously, haha but the post must go on.

There are so many things that go into building a healthy relationship. When you are together, one of those no-brainer factors is physical intimacy. It’s a fantastic, and important part of relationships, but it gets taken away when our soldiers are gone. We get so caught up, in the limited time we have to talk, with updating them on what’s going on, what the kids (or dog in my case) is up to, how they are doing, that flirting (and more) get pushed to the bottom of our priorities.

Each couple is different, and will have to choose for themselves how to go about dealing with distimacy (that would be distance + intimacy, hehe). Some couples will choose to completely eliminate sexuality from their conversations, others will go full-on pornographic, haha, to each their own.

What’s most important is not feeling embarrassed by wanting to introduce some distimacy. Sure it may not have ever crossed your mind to send a naked photo to your husband before, I know it didn’t ever cross my mind, but we aren’t a normal couple who sees each other everyday anymore. When you are together, you don’t have to send a photo, or a text, or an email, or a video, or even a letter, because they’re right there in front of you, but as Army Wives, we have to get creative ;).

I always considered sexting to be something reserved for pathetic, trashy, attention-seeking teenagers (like my teen self), not respectable, committed wives. Then I realised (as I had to choose how much distimacy to introduce into our own marriage), that trust and commitment are what set my sexting apart from 16 year old sexting. I know that my husband isn’t going to show his buddies, and rumours aren’t going to spread around school. I know that sending a photo to him isn’t about attention or getting him to like me (he already does!), it’s about maintaining that precious bond that intimacy brings to a relationship.

Now, obviously, I don’t know how this will change (and I’m sure it will change), once SB is deployed overseas. Less communication, and less medias for communication will, I’m sure, limit the options for distimacy even more, but we’ll write that post when we get to it.

I would love to hear what you think!

xxx