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I think I’ve written before about how it can be difficult to come up with things to talk about with your partner when they’re gone. So far, most of the trips J has taken, he’s had his phone and some way of contacting us, so at most we’d only have to go a few days without speaking. Usually we’ve been able to text as we normally do; which if you ask anyone that knows us, is A LOT.

We text constantly. I kind of thought it was a honeymoon period sort of thing, for the first year or so of marriage, but nope, it’s stuck around. We just talk about everything that we’re doing, thinking, feeling. It wasn’t until this most recent field trip that I realised how important this connection is…

…no contact for 2 weeks. Now this doesn’t sound too bad in theory, I guess, and for some of you, this might not be an issue. In the past I know that I have sometimes felt like it was difficult to come up with things to talk about when we’ve had constant contact; I’ve even wished before that we wouldn’t have contact because I’ve felt such pressure to keep our conversations going. I can now say for a fact that, for me, no contact is WAY worse.

I never realised how much I rely on talking to my husband about everything. Talking is how I process and deal with things, and right now is an especially stressful time to not be able to talk to my guy; we’re posting out of Darwin, having a second baby, parenting a wild (but fun) toddler, and I’m finishing my first round of social work prac. There’s a lot going on, and I need to talk it out; my poor mother has had to replace J, and she gets daily phone calls where I unleash my crazy.

I know it’s not for long, and the point of this post isn’t to whine; it’s more to say that I realise now how much I would rather be struggling to come up with things to talk about, than struggling with not being able to talk at all. I am grateful for the communication I have with J, and I won’t take it for granted again.

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As we get on in this life, things change; we’ve just finished 3 months apart, and I found myself thinking how different this time was, so I thought I’d share since I finally have something to write, and mostly for my own memory’s sake.

It feels like we’ve been doing this forever, in fact, it feels like we’ve had about 5 separate lifetimes; I can split mine into life in America, moving to Australia and those few years of high school, dating J, living in J’s grandmother’s house the first year of our marriage, basic training, Darwin pre baby, Darwin post baby…so I guess that’s 7. Each period is so different, and they feel like separate lives.

If we ignore basic training, which was its own, bizarre acclimatisation to life in the Army, trips when we first moved to Darwin, and the one we just completed feel so different.

J was sent on his first field trip a few weeks after we moved to Darwin…can’t really remember how long it was (it will be in the blog somewhere). While I remember it sucking, new place, no friends, alone, I think it was easier than it is now.

This trip that we just finished was definitely the worst we’ve ever done. The time went by at a snails pace, and I missed him more than I ever have. See, before, I would just put my head down, and either keep busy with work & uni, or crawl into a cocoon of tv-shows, hours and hours of tv, which helped to distract me and pass the time. I missed him, but I guess we felt more separate (not sure how to describe it any better), and time apart was just something we did, and it didn’t really affect me the same way as it does now…

Archer is the difference (I assume). Now when J’s gone, it feels like a part of myself is missing. We parent, and live as a team more than we did before, and so I feel the separation so much more than I did before. I also can’t pass the time in the same way I used to – there’s no endless hours of tv, and anyone with kids knows that the days move slowly, but the years speed past. There’s also feelings of sadness that he’s missing things, and I guess we just feel closer now that we’re parents.

Anyway, so while the separations themselves are harder now, the readjustment is SO much better! I suppose this is due to all of the reasons that separation is harder. We used to have a pretty difficult adjustment period – I felt like I was being crowded, and he felt unsure how to fit back into home life, and this went on for at least a few weeks.

This time, adjustment lasted as long as the first, kind of awkward kiss, and the length it took to pick up his baggage. Then it was simply joy to have my partner, friend, and heart back. I could exhale and not be alone anymore, I could exhale and enjoy watching my boys play together, and I could exhale knowing that things were back to normal. 

2 weeks later, I’ve pretty much forgotten that he was ever gone, and can’t really imagine what those months were like without him – it’s like they just get erased, and we pick up where we left off. I was looking at my Timehop app (it’s super cool and shows you what you were doing on social media on that day for the last 6 years – sometimes frightening), and realised that almost to the day J got home from this trip, he had left for another 3 month field/course trip. That means that in the last year, we’ve had at least 6 months apart, that’s not including the smaller trips which probably add up to 1-2 months. But ya know what…if I hadn’t looked at Timehop, I never would have known that we’ve spent less than half of the last year together.

We make the time we have together count so much, that the time apart is simply a pause button that is forgotten as soon as we hit play again. I hate the separations now, but I wouldn’t want to go back to how it was before. I now know that separations are harder now because we love deeper, our relationship is stronger, and our reunions are better, and I for one am so thankful to have someone that I miss that much. 

 

For the first time in awhile, I actually have things to write about, but don’t get the time with the baby! My sister’s just put him down for a nap though, so I’m going to try and write this quickly!

J has surprised me a few times. He’s told me different arrival times and then shown up early. At the time, I thought this was fun (even though I was usually sus), and harmless. Turns out, this is my NUMBER ONE NO-NO of Army Wife life. These harmless little surprises have created an extremely cruel expectation in my mind.

This weekend was my best friend’s wedding. J was going to try to come, but eventually they told him he couldn’t (that’s another {infuriating} story). No matter how much evidence there was that he was telling the truth, and no matter how many times I told myself, “you are being an idiot! he said he’s not coming!”, there was still a part of me that kept expecting him to just show up.

For a whole week, I was on edge, waiting to see him appear, even while he was sending me photos of himself at our house. Every time he took a few hours to respond to a text, I thought “he’s on the plane!”. Every time I drove to my in-laws, I expected to find him sitting there, and for all of them to laugh about the secret they’d been keeping.

but every time I got a response, or showed up at my in-laws and he wasn’t there, and I would have that disappointed, sinking feeling again.

I hate my brain for playing this trick on me. It’s not his fault; he clearly told me that he wasn’t going to make it! Damn him anyways though, for ever surprising me!

So if you’re reading this, and you’re like me, DO NOT let your soldiers EVER surprise you! Even the tiniest surprise appearance can set up a horrific expectation that will haunt you for years.

 

We flew home to Darwin this weekend after almost a month in Brisbane.

Like many things in this army wife life, it was bitter sweet. It’s nice to be back with our dogs (who are indifferent to Archer), and in our house, but being away from family and friends is awful. 

Taking Archer away from all of the people who adore him was so much harder than I thought it would be. I feel extremely guilty about it, and sad that Archer won’t have kisses and snuggles from his grandparents (and others) for a little while.

When I became an Army wife, I pretty much knew what I was getting into – I certainly didn’t go into it blindly. While I accepted that would be away from our loved ones, I didn’t really think about the fact that that meant my children would be too. It gave me so much joy to see my mum holding my son, or J’s dad kissing him through his big bushy beard, or J’s mum teaching us to give him a bath – I loved all of those moments.

I guess it’s just another one of those parts of this life that is less than ideal. But that’s life – it can’t be perfect, and even though we’re separated from all the people we love, I know that it’s only temporary, and that at least we live in a time with Skype!

When I was born (in Canada), my mum had to communicate with hers (who lived in Brisbane) via snail mail – so I am extremely thankful for Skype, Instagram, Facebook, texting and free domestic calls (as well as a 4 hour, as opposed to 24hour, flight home). 

***

Now, on another note…

I’m not sure how often I will post on this blog. I have another one that I started when I was pregnant to keep my spread out family in the loop, and now it houses photos and updates on Archer. 

I’m debating whether to just end this blog and post about the Army on the other one or whether to keep this one but post less often (it’s probably not possible to post less often – I’m super slack, I know). So what do you all think? Is anyone except my nana even reading this? haha

after two bonus weeks, SB left for field. I could get really upset, angry, or annoyed at it all, but instead I choose to see the funny sides…let me explain…

for the past couple of weeks, we were told, ‘you’ll probably go tomorrow’…everyday. haha so each day, we prepared for it to be our last. we made no future plans, we were nicer to each other (lol), and we both looked at the phone expectantly every time it rang. Then the same people who kept saying ‘tomorrow’ (I assume), said they didn’t think he would go at all; so we started to relax in to SB being home. It was about this time, when we were making plans for Territory day, and I started to think that maybe he would be here for my birthday (today), that the phone rang…

hahahahahahaha (I just have to stop and giggle at myself)

of course, it was this one time that I did not look at the phone, SB didn’t even answer it, that we got the message that he was on a flight in 12 hours. so I suppose the lesson here is beware when you relax and plan (even if it’s only 1 day in advance, haha, I will never ask “what should we do tomorrow” again!)

I originally started to think about the weird, ironic, silly things that this life makes me do though, when I hopped in the shower at 10:30pm to shave my legs. it’s like a reflex; SB: “i’m going field”, Me: “then I must shave my legs!”. what other lives lead to frantic de-fuzzing in the middle of the night? love it

So instead of being upset that I missed the fireworks, and I’m alone on my birthday, and my legs are now prickly again, I will giggle at all the weird, ironic and silly things, take every dog lick as a birthday present and enjoy the fact that I don’t have to shave my legs again for at least 3 weeks if I don’t want to. hahaha

xxx

…and wait.

I’ve been told so many times since we started this life, that this phrase will come to be our motto. I didn’t really get it, identify with it, like it, until now.

Limbo is drawing to an end, and I can see an extremely busy month on the horizon. I’ve been counting down the days for so long, and time as been moving SO slowly, and now suddenly there’s not enough time!

We got our tentative schedule of moving, with the tentative date of departure as June 5th. I still haven’t gotten access to DHA, or spoken with Toll. Haha, someone from Toll told SB that we should have had our DHA access 6 weeks before moving – we didn’t.

I’m not really worried, just super excited! But along with picking a house are a million other things that have come together to bless us in this month of chaos…nice timing!

1.

Uni…the end of the semester is the end of May. I have 4 large essays, and an exam all due on May 28th.

2.

Work…I still have this final roster to finish up, and I haven’t told my bosses that we’re moving (eek!). I’m casual, so it shouldn’t matter. I’m doing it today – wish me luck.

3.

Packing…oh the joy! I hear that someone from Toll will come run through the house with me so I have a better idea of what needs to be pre-packed? Looking forward to that meeting, I think it will help clear up a lot of questions.

4.

Lando…we need to work out what we qualify for & how to get the furry little (not so much anymore) man all the way to Darwin.

5.

Car…we have a ‘city’ car. We want a ‘country’ car. We are trying to trade ours for some sort of truck that Lando can ride in the tray & we can take advantage of the 4WD tracks around Darwin in. We were informed today that Toll needs to know what car we’re driving to Darwin (that’s right, SB wants to drive) in two weeks. Let the car hunt begin!

6.

All of the other tiny things that need to be taken care of.

I’m not really worried about any of these things as individuals, I have a plan of attack for them all, it’s just juggling all of them at once. At least it should make this final month go fast! I’m still excited though, because at the end of this month, I get to see SB again, and that’s the only thing that really matters.

xxx

From here, via Pinterest

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

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.

pretty...

from We Heart It, by way of Pinterest