I really thought that the summer was going to drag on since we are still pretty much stuck in the house with not much to do, but it is actually going by pretty fast. We are nearing the end of June already and things are rolling right along. I am struggling a bit this week because I am conflicted. My annual girls’ beach weekend that was postponed in May is finally here, and I CANNOT wait. I know you guys are probably sick of hearing about it already, but I can’t really express how much this weekend means to me each year and how much I love spending time with my tribe. My conflict comes because this weekend is also cheer tryouts for my girls. While I know that my husband can handle it, I’m still struggling with not being here for them. I think part of that comes from just being a mom, but I also think some of it has to do with the fact that my husband has been deployed for so much of our marriage. I have always had the responsibility of doing these types of things with the girls on my own. I’m not used to letting him take on this kind of tasks with the girls. There is nothing wrong with it, and like I said, he can handle it. It’s just different for me. In the past I would have had to miss out on my girls’ trip or beg my mom to make the long drive to help because I didn’t have any other choice. Even though it has been two years since he last deployed, I think that the adjustment of having him here to help is something that is going to take a while for me to get used too. He has done shore duties before where he didn’t deploy for a couple of years at a time, but he was always still traveling a lot and not home very much. Now that he has reached the point in his career that he is no longer going to deploy and only take a few short trips here and there, I am learning to rely on his help more and more. Just yesterday, I scheduled an appointment for myself not thinking much of it. I was pleasantly surprised when my husband got home and mentioned trying to work around his schedule so that he could go with me. It honestly never occurred to me that he would go with me. Again, I am just used to doing it all on my own. I was really touched that he thought he should go and that he was going to make the effort. He has rarely been able to do things like that before. Of course, I don’t need him to go, but the thought was very touching to me and really meant a lot.
This is a dilemma that I think all military wives face. We get used to doing things on our own. We hardly ever ask for help, and we somehow make it all work. It is a sacrifice that most of us gladly make for our families so that our spouses can protect and defend our country. It’s not easy and sometimes we feel like breaking, but we manage the best we can. Some of the strongest, most courageous women I know are military spouses. You would think that we would all welcome the day when our spouse is home to help, but it isn’t that simple. When you have lived this life for a long time like I have doing things on your own and in your own way, it is hard to not only willingly accept help, but it is also hard to give up control. It is not that I want control of everything. Trust me, I don’t. It just that it has always been me doing it all alone. That is what I a used to. For example, the past two years, both of my girls (one in cheer and one in gymnastics) had conflicting competition schedules. Before my youngest became involved in cheer, I was always traveling with my oldest for all of her gymnastics competitions all the time dragging my youngest with us. My husband was rarely home during competition season. When my youngest started cheer two years ago, it quickly became apparent that my husband and I were going to have to split up because I clearly couldn’t be at two places at once, and he was here now to help. It just worked out that he traveled for gymnastics since my oldest didn’t need a lot of help, and I traveled for cheer to do hair and makeup. It was extremely hard for me not to be with my oldest and to miss out on so many of her competitions. I did not like it that he got to go, and I didn’t. I had been the one with her for so many years that it was hard for me to share it and give up control of traveling with her. While I was happy that he finally got to see her compete every competition, I was super jealous that I didn’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with my youngest to see her compete too. It was that I really wanted to be with both. I wanted to split myself in half like I have been doing for years and be with both. I don’t know how I would have managed it all if he still was deploying, but I would have figured out a way to make it work.
While I am learning to let go of control of a lot of things and learning to accept help, I have to admit that it isn’t easy. Doing it all was my way of life for 18 years. That’s a long time. It’s hard to break habits that have been going on for that long. It is even harder for me to ask for and accept help. I am beyond grateful that my husband is here to share the load and that my stress and anxiety levels are lower than they have ever been. Plus he finally gets to be fully present in our kids lives. Despite it being two years now, it is clear that I am still getting used to this new stage in our lives. I have to undo 18 years of thinking and acting, and that isn’t going to happen overnight. This weekend will be amazing and hard for me all at once. I usually don’t call home much when I am on my trip, but this time I am requesting frequent updates and details from all three on tryouts so that I feel like I am there too. I am not going to let it damper my time with my tribe, but a small part of me will be feeling like I am missing out and that I am skipping out on my duties as a mom.
Anchored and Learning to Let Go,