We’re in limbo. It’s common in the Navy. Our eleven-year-old was just laughing yesterday about how the submarines never leave on time. “They say they’re going to leave one day and then they don’t. It’s always at least a day or two later.” She’s not wrong, either.
And she shared a story with me about a friend of hers, also a military child, who was talking about her family’s upcoming move a few months from now. Gracie and she giggled together that all the planning in the world can’t make orders come any faster. Our family is supposed to leave in a couple of weeks and still don’t have those orders in hand. Maybe I should send Tyler out to hunt them down in his Australian accent. “We’re on the hunt, mates. We’re trying to find the elusive orders in their natural habitat. Quiet, now. Don’t wanna spook ’em.”
Or maybe I’m finally losing it. Crikey!
Seriously, though. Limbo is part of a military life and so much so that our kids play with it, laugh about it, and worry about it too. Just like we adults do. So, when you comment, “I don’t know how you do it,” this is how…
Some days we laugh. We share those stories about how crazy that move was that we didn’t know about until three weeks before it was happening and how we managed to pull it off and not lose anything. (Life felt like a run on sentence during those weeks – no time for proper punctuation!) We laugh about Nerf wars in empty houses. We laugh about fun times at rest stops – how Tyler used to love to stand below the hand dryers, that great playground somewhere in the upper-midwest, the comment Jace made about someone who’s driving was worse than mine when he backed onto the curb! (Who spends that much time at rest stops?)
Some days we cry. My yoga instructor started the class on Monday by saying that we’d be focusing on our feet, in part, to get us into our bodies and out of our heads where many of us spend too much time. I started to cry. Tyler tells me every day how he doesn’t want to move. That brings watery eyes. Gracie’s friends are plotting to kidnap her. Just typing that brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. People I didn’t know I made a difference to at the Y have asked for hugs and said they’ll miss me, not to mention the people I know I make a difference to. I cry often. And I’m not a pretty crier, if you were wondering. Ugly all the way, with no shame.
Some days I hide. No bra. No shower. No leaving the house. No interacting with anyone who might make me laugh or cry or feel anything. Or, like today, I hide in plain sight, sitting in the corner of Panera Bread with watery eyes and a computer in front of me and a coffee to sip on. Call me an ordinary white girl, Jace did. Or call me what I am, a miltary spouse and mom of three writing about how I make it through the days that I don’t know how to make it through.
Some days I conquer the world once by breakfast and twice by lunch. I wear fringe. I check off everything on my to-do list. I flip off orders in the general direction of their natural habitat and live my life. I play with friends, soak up sun, or dance in the rain. Whatever life offers, I accept and enjoy.
Some days I curse the Navy. I threaten (in my head) everyone that asks when we’re leaving or how I’m doing. “Throat-punch Thursday” sounds like something that should happen. And drinking before noon sounds like a perfect plan to deal with life. (On these days I usually cry too.)
Some days I literally feel like I could crack at any time. That thread that I’m hanging on to seems to be fraying. I don’t know how much more I can take, but I certainly don’t want to find out. I can’t plan. I can’t answer questions. I can barely come up with words to put together into sentences. I feel like depression is around the corner, or maybe I’m already there and haven’t admitted it. These days are…hard.
Most days I simply put one foot in front of the other. I shrug off questions about how I do this. (“This?” Like, my life? Well, not doing it doesn’t seem like a great option.) I smile kindly to the many questions I have no answers to. I shower and cry and curse and belly laugh. I hug friends. I hug kids. I hug my husband. I shower out love and feel it coming back. Most days.