Friday, May 14, 2010

Temporary (Babble)

One of my kids’ favorite books is called ‘Too Much Noise’ which is about a grumpy old man who thinks his house is too noisy.  A wise man tells him to fill his home with all manner of loud animals and things get much worse.  When the noise reaches its peak, the wise man then tells him to get rid of all the animals, and the orignal sounds that used to bother the old man now seem not just tolerable but pleasant.

I feel like I’ve reached a point like that in this deployment.  I had too much to handle when my husband left in the fall and it was overwhelming at times.  Running the violin store, teaching lessons, and caring for the kids seemed like more than I could do.  Then I decided to sell our house and move into the one across the street.  That added a ridiculous amount of work into a schedule with no room for it, and now that the move is done and our responsibilities to the old house are winding down as we get nearer to the closing, I feel more calm than I have in a long time.  All I have to do is run the violin store, teach some lessons, and care for the kids.  I’m not in danger of being bored, but I have to say it just doesn’t feel as hard as it did back in September.  Things are going well right now.  It feels jinxy to write that, but I don’t want to be a superstitious person, so I will just admit that things are fine and let it be.

There are still some kinks in the system, however, and in my newfound quiet moments I’ve been thinking about what they mean.  When I step outside myself a little and try to see what other people see, I realize some things don’t look set up as well as they could be to function in the best way.  And the reason is because this phase is supposed to be temporary.

One of the hardest parts of living on this end of the deployment is that I have to operate as a single parent, but not redesign my life to really be one.  I have to be self-sufficient, but still leave room for Ian for when he comes home.  As impractical as it sounds, I don’t want to be too self-sufficient.  When I stumble in my routine because my partner is missing, it helps remind me that he’s needed here.  I don’t want to erase the necessity for my husband in our lives.  I could make certain things easier, but I need to need him.

Part of it is just me being stubborn.  For instance, I don’t want to learn the more businessy sides of my business if I don’t have to.  Ian is good at things like Quickbooks and all I want to do is fix violins, so we’re a good team while he’s here.  When technical things with the business get complicated I hold my breath and think, “Just a few more months….We just have to get by for a few more months and Ian will know what to do.”  If Ian were never coming back, I’d have to dive in and make myself learn it all.  And I know it’s that vaguely superstitious part of me surfacing again, but I don’t want to do anything in a way as if he’s never coming back.  He promised me he’d come home in one piece.  I live with an underlying terror that he won’t.  Not learning Quickbooks somehow means he has to.

Mowing the lawn is another thing I approach haphazardly.  Currently I rely on a boy who is about ten years old who just sort of shows up when the lawn looks shaggy and I give him five bucks plus a tip.  That’s working, but if this weren’t temporary I would find a way to do it myself.  Same goes for learning to use the grill, figuring out certain computer things, and cleaning up the garage.  (I’m sort of horrified by how much the division of labor in our house has fallen down stereotypical gender lines, but it just kind of happened.  I honestly hadn’t noticed it until Ian got deployed the first time.  I still own most of the cool tools, though.  My kids know the bandsaw is a mom thing.)

I’m not helpless by any means, and I don’t want to make it sound like without a man around I can’t get by because that’s just not true.  I think I’m managing pretty well, considering.  But those coarse edges here and there feel necessary.  Certain things aren’t supposed to be easy.  I’m not a masochist, but I accept that there are things that are supposed to hurt.  Knowing my husband is working in a dangerous situation in Iraq hurts.  Watching my kids growing up a little more each day without their daddy here to see it hurts.  Ian matters to us, so his absence is hard.  The only way it wouldn’t hurt is if we didn’t care.  The hurt is part of how we know we do.

When things get rough I just focus on getting through one day at a time.  During the last deployment when I was pregnant (and eventually toting around a newborn) sometimes I focused on just getting through each hour.  This deployment compared to the last one is a lot like the ‘Too Much Noise’ book.  Even with the move this experience has been much easier than before, primarily because I’m not dangerously sleep deprived.  And as I said, right now things are fine.  As fine as they can be with a husband-sized hole in my life.  But he promised me he’ll be back.  This is temporary.

No comments:

Post a Comment