Archives for category: babble on and on…

It can be hard not to hate the Army sometimes. I curse them at least once a month, when they take J away, or fail to give us information, or the mess with our lives in some way. This is what happens, this is part of the life, and it can be so easy to blame them, and hate them, and just take out your anger on them.

What we need to remember though, is that there are benefits.Without the Army, I wouldn’t be able to stay home with my son, we probably wouldn’t have even had him. We have a house we could never afford otherwise, and great job security, and we get to live in different places (this can be seen as a positive or a negative).

The sacrifices that we make can be great, and I would never ask J to make them just to get the benefits. The most important thing is that this is what he wants to do, and appreciating the benefits simply helps to accept all of the hard times. Am I always able to do this? Definitely not, haha, I frequently curse the Army and wonder why we are doing this to ourselves, but eventually I remember, and I am thankful, both to the Army who offers us these benefits, and my husband, who sacrifices so much more than I do, and works so hard so that we can have them.

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I’m a bit late with this, but it’s been 2 years since J joined the Army. I cannot believe that it has only been 2 years! I swear it feels like at least 5 – not sure if this means that time is going fast or slow? hmmmm

I think it’s just that SO much has happened in that short amount of time, and it feels like we’ve come so far. Pre-Army life feels like a completely different life altogether, and I guess it really is.

I can’t really speak for J, who I’m sure has learnt just as much, and grown/changed just as much, but in the last two years I can say that I have changed. I’ve grown up, become more confident in my ability to take care of myself and my family, become more independent, gotten used to saying hello and goodbye to my husband frequently and on short notice, and I’ve had to put myself out there in order to make friends (something I’m very uncomfortable with).

This life has been hectic, infuriating, devastating, frustrating, and empowering.

I still don’t know how long we will remain in the Army, or where our journey will take us, but despite all the bad; last minute goodbyes, being apart a lot, interruptions to our personal life, etc; I am thankful for having experienced this life, and for all the good that it provides as well; seeing new places, housing, being a part of something important.

These 2 years have been the most challenging, and most rewarding of my life so far, and I’m really looking forward to what the rest of our time in the Army (be that 2 years or 50) brings!

This may already be a lesson; a can’t remember if I’ve written it, but I know that this isn’t the first time it’s been applicable.

Field Law states that when your soldier is gone, things will go wrong! And unlike things like I posted about yesterday, these things are usually big, really stressful, and something that you would love your soldier to handle!

Today J left for field. It’s just a quick one, so I wasn’t too stressed. That was until I saw that Jawa had gotten under our fence (that we reported broken when we first moved in) and was playing with the neighbours dogs.

After pushing her back under once, upon which she went directly back into their yard, it was clear that this problem wasn’t going away…panic! I have NO idea how to fix a fence. After a call to DHA which made it clear that the fence probably won’t be fixed for ‘a few weeks’, my panic grew…

…and this is when another Army life thing comes in handy – friends! I have been ‘saved’ by this particular friend of ours quite a few times in the last couple of weeks, so I was reluctant to bother him yet again, but honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. What’s so great about our friends is that he dropped everything, took me and Archer to Bunnings, and is now in my backyard fixing the fence.

So the real lesson here is that Field Law is survivable provided you have fantastic friends, like we do!

So hopefully this is it for this field trip – I usually have one big thing go wrong.

 HUGE thanks to our great friends…promise we’ll stop asking you to help us out soon!

I’m not sure if what I’m about to write about is a positive or negative, probably by the end of typing out my thoughts I will have worked it out, but I want to hear what you think!

When our soldiers are gone, all jobs fall to us. I find myself struggling with asking J to do things when he is home though. It usually goes something like this in my head:

“I should really change that lightbulb. I should ask J to do it. Oh, I might as well just do it because he won’t always be home, so I need to know how”

I’m not sure why I do this as opposed to getting him to do as much as possible for the very same reason, that soon it will all be on me? Besides feeding the dogs and doing the lawns, I pretty much adopt the attitude of DIY.

It’s not that I never ask and he never offers to help around the house, I just always have the battle in my head first. I guess I just don’t want to become totally dependent on him; I want need to be able to take care of us when he’s gone.

For now I will continue to make sure that I can do things myself, but I will try to calm my inner DIY diva, and let J help out while he’s around (and he does, I got a sleep-in this morning!).

Does anyone else do this? Or do you do the opposite and save jobs for your soldiers? 

Since the last time I wrote – pondering whether or not to continue this blog – I’ve received so many nice comments from people saying that they are reading! I’ve heard from a few new Army WAGS; this is so exciting, but it’s also a lot of pressure! I feel more pressure to write now that I know there are people reading and even looking to me for advice (haha, I’m as clueless as all of you are – just trying to take it one day at a time).

I suppose the point of all my rambling is to say thank you to those who are reading, and especially to those of you who have sent me such lovely comments! I know I don’t post much, but it’s honestly because I don’t have much to say…

At a certain point, this unusual like, that at the beginning was so foreign, becomes normal. Suddenly there’s nothing really to write about because all I would have to say is, “another day of playing with Archer, then J came home, we had dinner, and went to bed”. This in itself is an Army Wife Lesson I suppose – that life does return to normal!

When J goes away, it takes a day or two for me to create a new normal, and then suddenly, we’re just living life. Then he comes home, and again, it takes a few days to redefine normal, but we always do, and before we know it, things are boring again.

So my message to you ladies who told me that you’re partners have just left for basic training is this: things will go back to normal for you. You will be ‘bored’ with your life again soon. For now, make this your normal, because in the end, normal is really relative – and up to you!

My gorgeous boy arrived last week!

Archer arrived on Tuesday the 12th. He weighed 8lb 11oz, and was 53cm long. He is perfect and my week has been spent basking in the immense joy he has brought to our family.

This being my blog about Army Wife life, I’m sure you’re all wondering how all the J drama unfolded…

perfectly!

The last couple of months have been so stressful with all the uncertainty, and there are 100 different ways this all could have played out – we happened to get the best one!

Not only did I get to have my son in our hometown, surrounded by our friends and family, but the hospital turned out to be amazing and I got my dream birth, AND most importantly, J made it!

For all the changes of plans, and lack of information, when it came down to it, J’s rank took care of us, and we are both incredibly grateful.

Now obviously, each situation is going to be different, and this is just our experience, but let me tell you how J ended up making it home in time…

I came to Brisbane at the end of February, right before I hit ‘term'(37wks). J left for exercise a week after me, but was booked on flights to Brisbane on the 14th (already a huge blessing, and something they didn’t need to do). I was SURE that Archie wouldn’t come early, in fact, I was sure he’d be late and I’d need to be induced, so I was happily waiting for J to join me here. Not a single sign of labor my entire pregnancy, then Monday morning contractions started.

The second I saw that they were timeable (and two minutes apart) I thought ‘oh, sh*t’! We had 4 more days until J was coming, and I was devestated because I thought he was going to miss it when we had come so close. I called his rank and they let me talk to him. He was shocked and freaked out because he was sure he was going to miss it too. He told me he’d update his rank and let me know what was going to happen, and hung up quickly.

Over the next hour my contractions started to space out and I got really cranky thinking I had called J for nothing. When he finally did call back, he was already on his way to the airport and his flight would get him here by 4pm! It was amazing how fast they got him home, but I was freaking out because I thought it was false labor and he was going to get home and then Archie wouldn’t come for another 2 weeks.

Thank goodness it was too late to change our minds, because our boy was born at 0638 the next morning! I spent my entire labor with my head buried in J’s chest, and he held my hand while I pushed. I could not have done it without him (well I would have had no choice, but it would have been a horrible experience instead of an awesome one), and I wonder daily what would have happened had he not made it.

Not knowing, or being able to plan is the hardest part of this Army life for me; it’s what I struggle with most, but this experience has served as the biggest lesson in just trusting and going with the flow. This was out of my control, and in the end worked out better than I could have imagined or planned. That’s not to say that things will always work out so well, or that I won’t struggle with the lack of information in the future, but I think I can see now that it’s not that the Army wants to mess with our lives, it’s just how it is, and fighting it won’t help anyone.

I’m not sure how to thank the people who made it possible for J to be here when our family was made, words aren’t enough, so instead I will do it by continuing to support my husband, and by being grateful every time I see my big guy holding my little one.

I’ve spoken before (a lot) about the need to be flexible when it comes to the Army. Usually not knowing anything until the last minute isn’t anything more than a bit annoying. I can usually just sigh and say “well we’ll know eventually” and not worry too much about it.

Not this time.

This time we know that there is a pre-deployment exercise in the month that I’m due to have our first baby, but we don’t know when the exercise is. We don’t even know for sure if J is going on the exercise.

The rumors and “heads-up” all started months ago, and we kind of just went with our usual wait-and-see approach, but as the belly gets larger and there’s still no information, the panic sets in.

We talked about having my mum come up as soon as he left, but we didn’t want her to waste all of her holiday time waiting on a baby who will probably (like most first babies) come late (but that isn’t guaranteed to).

Then we talked to the doctors about inducing me, but they (and I) weren’t too keen on that plan, and it’s impossible to schedule something like that when you have no dates!

Then we made a back-up plan, where I would go to Brisbane for my due-month if J was going.

Well the not knowing and waiting was getting to be too much stress for us both, so we’ve just gone ahead and made a plan.This time, instead of me fitting into J’s plans, J is going to fit into mine.

I will go to Brisbane right before 37 weeks, and stay until the baby is born. J will meet me there when he can, and we will bring our bub home together.

This plan guarantees that I will have support around me, but at the same time, it pretty much guarantees that J will miss the birth, which breaks my heart and was always one of my greatest Army fears. I hate the idea of J missing it, and I know he does too, but we’re trying to focus on the positives;

I’ll be surrounded by family and friends, and everyone will get to meet the baby much sooner than they would have, which will be nice and eliminate the issue of who comes to Darwin when; and while he may miss the actual birth, J will have some time with bub before he deploys (if he deploys). Ultimately we are focusing on the fact that in a year from now, all of this will be over, J will be home, and our family will be together.

While this plan is far from my first choice, it will be ok, and at the end of the day I will have a beautiful son who is loved by so many people – especially his daddy.

We’re moving again! Just to a different house. I don’t really want to get into why we are; our situation is completely unique and I wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea.

Let’s just say that when we moved in, we accepted the state of this house because it was just the two of us, and honestly, we were young and naive. I think I was so focused on being grateful that I didn’t stop to think about what was best for our family, but finding out that it wasn’t just the two of us made me realise that I could be grateful without settling.

So with the help of J’s rank, and DHA we got a new house, and it is beautiful (we even got a TOLL removal…not sure how that happened!).

So over the next few days we will be moving, then unpacking, and then we’re going home for a couple of weeks! So excited to get to take J with me this time! We have a mini-babymoon planned and it will be really nice to have some down time together since 2013 is shaping up to be a BIG, GIANT, SUPER COLOSSUS year.

Hoping you all had a great Christmas, and wishing you a lovely NYE!

I realised that I forgot to do a post when we reached our one year mark. I’m in Brisbane right now seeing family and friends, and it slipped my mind. I suppose I don’t need to explain, by now it’s evident that I’m a total blog-slacker!

so it’s been {more than} a year since J left for Kapooka…gee! SO much has changed, and it feels like a very long year.

I’ve been asked a few times recently – by new Army WAGS – for advice in dealing with it, or just more information about what to expect. I feel anything but qualified to give such advice, and each person will have their own unique way of dealing with things, and a different experience, but for me, there are a few key lessons that I’ve learnt…

FLEXABILITY

This is THE biggest lesson I’ve had to learn, and I still struggle with. I think it’s because I expect the Army to be super organised (when you hear military it {used to} conjur images of organisation, precision, discipline, etc to me); they are not. I mean I assume this is due to the fact that every little decision must go up and down the rank – I get that it’s not an easy thing to organise. So you have to learn to NEVER make plans. Once I started to accept that we could never make plans, and that we’d just have to ‘wait and see’ about everything {including how the birth of our child will go down}, it’s a bit easier, but there are times {like when you’re trying to decide if your mother should come to Darwin just in case J is away for the birth} when not knowing is torture. So I’m still working on it, but for me, that is the biggest lesson this last year has taught me.

INDEPENDENCE

When we were first together, and first married I remember feeling like I simply could not live apart from J. I remember complaining at work one day {we were both shift workers working opposite shifts} that I had only seen my husband for a few hours at a time for the past few days; it seems so silly now! I’ve not only learnt that I will in fact survive when he is away, I’ve also learnt that I can thrive and I can take care of myself. Do I like our time apart, well no, not really, some days I HATE it but there actually are times where I don’t mind being apart. As long as he’s away for a purpose, I can deal with separation, and I can focus ahead, on the fact that we will get to say ‘hello’soon enough. I had a moment a few weeks ago where I realised how far I’ve come, and how self-suficient I can be; I had to climb on a chair, 5 months pregnant, at the top of our staircase, and hang out over the balcony to change the outside light; that would not have happened pre-army, haha.

LOVE

There are so many more lessons I’ve learnt {which can be browsed here}, but the most important one is how much I love this man; every crappy day apart, every heart-sinking moment, even living in Darwin {hehe} is all immensly worth it. I would follow him anywhere {clearly}, and I feel honoured to be able to support him every day. This past year has not been easy, but in the end I think it has made our partnership, friendship, love and marriage so much stronger. I can’t wait to see what this second year has in store for us, there are some big things in the works, and it may include both our best and worst times, but after surviving this year, I know that if we let it, it can just make us even better!

J is out field at the moment. When he told me (a week before he left) that he was going, I felt fine with it. I knew that time apart was a big part of this life, so I tend to feel like ‘oh that sucks, but ok, let’s get it done’. This positive attitude seems to mainly be what I feel when he’s gone – I just put my head down, go into a television coma, and it eventually ends.

 but,

there are days when I want to kick and scream and throw a tantrum fit for a three year old. The last few days have been tantrum days. I want my husband home. I want him to be here to rub my back (I’m having terrible back, side, and stomach pains from the baby stretching everything out), and to feel the baby move (it’s beginning to be felt from the outside). I want to stomp my feet and scream that it isn’t fair that he’s gone, why is he gone? why did we choose this?

cranky, toddler tantrums…that’s how I’ve felt the last few days. Just wanted to share. I’m sure that they will pass; I’m sure that mere hours after J gets home, I will be ready for him to leave again; and I’m sure that crazy baby hormones have something to do with this persistent grey cloud above my head.

as a footnote, writing this has made me feel much better. I guess I just needed to have a little rant.