Monday, May 23, 2011

Deployment Revealed

Wow, this deployment has taught me more about myself than I ever imagined. I can definitely say I'm not the same person I was before my husband left for Afghanistan.

Before my husband left . . .

  • I was confident in my ability to be supermom. I never doubted for a minute that I couldn't homeschool our children, run our little farm, birth our fifth child, teach childbirth classes, be active in church, volunteer for my FRG group, and learn to play the violin.
  • I was totally unemotional. I was cool and collected.
  • I loved the idea that I was "tough" and could run a farm alone.
  • I looked forward to the adventure and wanted to make my husband proud.
  • I was proud of my ability to cook wholesome foods from scratch for my family.
  • I had so many dreams. They included growing this farm, scrapbooking, sewing, losing weight, cooking, midwife school, getting closer to God, homeschooling and having fun with it, teaching childbirth classes, maintaining an orderly house, training the kids to do their part, field trips . . .

Since he left . . .

  • I have discovered that I am not supermom, nor do I possess the ability to wear a cape and fly to the rescue. The children's education consisted of home ec, animal science and some math. I did add a donkey and many goats and chickens to our already growing farm since he left, but the farm is hanging on by a thread. I did birth our 5th child at home with the support of my sister and a dear friend. I have managed to teach two childbirth classes, but I'm exhausted. I've missed more Sundays at church than I have attended. I only attend FRG meetings if I'm already in town. And the violin is collecting dust.
  • One week after his departure I began an evening ritual of crying hysterically. Once the baby was born and the hormones ceased, I pulled myself together . . . temporarily. Then the sleeping all day, watching tv all night commenced. Oh and don't forget the sacred ritual of stuffing my mouth with chocolate.
  • Ha ha ha. Within weeks of my husband leaving, projects still needed to be finished. I had hay to pick up which ended in me jack knifing the truck and trailer and getting stuck in the mud pregnant with 4 kids in the middle of nowhere. Then had to hire free labor (oxymoron) to lay the floor in the milk room. A loving homeschool group came out and built hay feeders, water troughs, and mucked stalls. My obsession with adding more animals to this zoo . . . I mean farm, required the services of the same free labor that laid the floor to come build a buck house. We've had 6 kittens and 6 goat kids born since he left. My son has had to bury 1 goat, 2 kittens, and 2 chickens since my husband left. My disposal broke and my pastor came to my rescue. I've hired help to clean my house and had volunteers come out and help too because supermom ain't so super. I've trimmed many hooves, mucked the barn several times, learned to back a short trailer pretty darn good, hauled 65# hay bales, and learned to give antibiotic shots to my goats.
  • The "adventure" has included spending over $3000 on truck repairs, buying a second vehicle, driving way more than I have ever cared about, way too many doc appointments, braces for my son, selling my husband's wrecked truck, two military funerals, and the general chaos that comes with 5 children on a farm.
  • Cooking has been reduced to frozen chicken nuggets and canned beans. An occasional salad if I have the energy.
  • One word: survival.
So as you can tell things haven't gone the way I had planned. But do they ever? God did use this time to teach me something. First (and obviously) I'm not supermom. Although I still want to be. Or feel like I should be. Second, I am me. I'm not Donna Reed, I'm not Annie Oakley, and I'm not the First Lady.

I've spent so many years reading about the many great homeschool moms. Reading about how they do it in their home, what curriculum they use, what their schedule looks like, why they have so many children, where their food comes from. But it isn't really important if I don't have my own personal convictions.

I want my kids to remember a mom that was fun, a mom that taught them to love learning, a mom that cared enough to give them good food, and a mom that knew her limits. I love to dance. I love musicals, and the cornier the better. I enjoy playing tennis and volleyball. I like working with my goats, but I don't really care for the chickens. I can't believe how soft the donkey is and I really enjoy him. I love to can and cook, but I have no interest in managing a garden. I love hanging out with friends and acting like I'm still a teenager. I don't care for fiction, but I love a good DIY book. I hate driving, but I love being the passenger. I want to live life fully and see and experience new things. I'm so inconsistent . . . in everything I do. I don't quit, but I will find another way if I think one way isn't working. I love chocolate . . . a lot. I think driving the 4-wheeler is fun, but I would rather ride with my hubby. I love a good pair of jeans and a t-shirt with a cap and boots. I want to be able to ride horses with my kids, not just watch from the sidelines. I don't like schedules! I like flying by the seat of my pants. I don't like being alone. God made me a people person. Most importantly I want my kids to like me. Me, not the homeschool magazine cover mom.

So you see, I've learned a lot during this deployment. And I want to send a thank you out to those special friends, that love me for . . . well . . . me.


Anonymous said...

I think reality set in. You always wanted to do everything!! You can't and shouldn't. Pick what you really want to do, and do it well. It will be a lot more satisfying and you will be a sane person. I love you. Mom

Felicia said...

Are you saying I'm not sane?? LOL I'm crazy, certifiably committable. I still want to do everything, just realizing I can't do it all this year. ;)

Christina said...

Felicia, I love you!! so cute, same sweet person you have been always. I went to school in Colorado Springs and am coming to graduate in August so we have to get together. I know Shari shared my survey link with you but here is a little description and the link to share with as many people as you can think of. Take care! Christina Brown Torti

If you are a significant other (girlfriend, boyfriend, fiancée, wife or husband) of a military member who has been or is currently deployed to the Middle East, please visit this link to help me in my research, studying how significant others cope with deployments. I am working on my doctorate in psychology and this is my dissertation project. If you know of someone else that could participate, please copy the link and send it to them. Thank you for your help.

Felicia said...

Aww, thanks Christina! How have you been? Oh my goodness! We definitely need to get together in August. Email me and we can hook up.

Anonymous said...

This is good stuff!