Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Counting Down

I've been here before, the final days before Joey comes home.  This last week always feels simultaneously busy and boring.  I run around finishing up projects and getting the house extra, extra clean.  But then I also feel like there are moments where I sit and watch the seconds on my countdown app tick by one at a time.

It's no secret that Joey's gone a lot for work.  It ends up being a little more than 6 months of the year.  

I'm going to pause here for a moment.  There are certain topics in life that get a response on repeat.  When you're single, you're asked if you're dating anyone.  When you're dating someone, people asked if you're getting married.  When you're married, people ask when you're going to have kids.  When you have one child, you're asked if you'll have another.  9 month pregnant mommas are told they're about to pop.  Parents of big families are asked, "Are they ALL yours?"  People going through times of grief are told others can't imagine what they are going through (grab a tissue and read this blog by my friend McCayla).  When we first found out about Aurelia I was told  that God wouldn't give me more than I could handle.  I get asked daily if the girls are twins.  Sometimes I wish I had prerecorded answers.  Sometimes it makes me wonder how many times I give people repeat responses.

Concerning Joey's work schedule, people say they don't know how we do it. They say the time that he was gone went by so fast.  They ask if the girls miss him.  And they ask how much longer he's going to do this job.  Addressing these questions in this space won't stop them from being asked.  And I don't mind the questions at all.  This is just part of my effort to share life:

- I don't know how we do it either.  I truly believe it is the grace of God given in the moments we need it most, like when I'm up for hours at a time in the middle of the night, or when Joey is looking through the photos of the girls growing while he's away, or when I'm planning a first birthday party that will be celebrated without Daddy, or when I'm learning how to seal my foundation and fighting the thought that this is something Joey should do, or when I'm rushing my child to ER.  Life doesn't stop when Joey is home or when he is gone.  There are really great days and there are really hard days.

- I don't do it alone.  I have so much help from family and friends.  When we first started doing this, I didn't know how to ask for help or how to accept it.  Now I call in the reserves and ask people to help with meals and childcare.  I have friends that come over when I just need a conversation that doesn't involve Elmo.  I have people I can call anytime day or night when I need listening ear or someone to help care for a sick kiddo.  I have learned the joys of having a community of support.

- Time goes by fast.  That's all there is to it.  Some rotations feel like a year, some feel like he just left.  

- Sometimes I really don't like this job.  It's awful that he's gone so much.  The weeks before and after he leaves are rough on all of us.  There's always a transition period when he first gets home, and sometimes the transition is rocky.  The girls miss him like crazy.  I miss him like crazy.  

-Sometimes I really love this job.  The plus side is the almost 6 months Joey doesn't have to work each year.  We get to go on so many adventures.  We get to share in full time parenting.  I usually don't have to cook at all.  Have I mentioned we're going to Peru for our 10 year anniversary?  Have I mentioned we're taking a HUGE family trip in December?  More on those later.  These are things we wouldn't be able to do if Joey didn't work a rotational schedule.  And I get to stay home with the girls.  That's great too.  

- I wish we had an answer for how much longer we are going to do this.  It's been 3 years now.  And I think we've all about reached our limit.  We're hoping for just one or two more rotations (really hoping for just one more).  And then we don't know.  I'm confident it will be something awesome.

And one quick final thought.  Joey and I work really hard on our relationship when he's here and when he's gone.  We're learning how to have a growing relationship which I believe is a life long lesson. And  I live for the moment when he bounds up the stairs at the airport.  It's like falling in love for the first time again.  And watching the girls react to Daddy being home is priceless.

And now I'm going to go stare at my countdown app until the girls wake up from their naps.

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