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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Parenting and the Military

My husband was recently reflecting on how much he has and is going to continue to miss until he retires. I imagine that has got to be extremely hard on him. Since I didn't have my children until long after I left the service, I cannot really relate. All I know is the craziness of playing mom and dad while my love is deployed. I'm the one who is up in the middle of the night nursing sick children and cleaning up dishes at the end of a long day. I'm the one who gets frustrated dealing with Tricare bills and reps after an ER visit that may or may not be approved from a middle of the night visit. I'm the one who juggles the bills and wrangles with small people who would rather jump off the bunk bed then take a nap.

I have had my share (and then some) of parenting frustrations. Honestly, I don't know how some single parents do it. I guess though, I could be called a single mom from time to time. Though, when I'm down in the dumps and ready to hang it all up and change positions with my husband, I remember what I would be missing. Sure, I wouldn't have to do all of the above all by myself. I wouldn't have to change diapers or wipe bottoms or clean up spilled milk. I don't think I'd really trade it all though. Because for all that I get a bunch of great stuff too. My husband misses a lot of great stuff and for that my heart breaks.

I have enjoyed first steps, first words, birthday parties, dance classes, trips to the beach and the first words read. He received pictures.

I have been there when my oldest made her first friend. He got to hear about it over the phone.

I celebrated the Baptism of one of our children with my friends and family. My husband only knows this momentous occasion through a photo album.

I hear the stories they tell me and dreams and hopes for the future. Daddy misses out sometimes.

I am there when they are missing him and wanting to be held by him. I can't always fix that. I can't bring him home, and it brings me to tears. I can't even tell him all the time because as sweet as it is, I feel it's better for me to wait until he's home to share that stuff.

Parenting in this life is not always easy. The grass isn't greener on the other side. One parent is often envious of the other. One parent is always wanting something else. One parent is usually missing the other. One parent cannot do the amazing things that the two of them can do together. One parent can run the house and raise the kids, but it's when mom and dad are under one roof and enjoying the little moments that the house is a home and the people in it are a whole family again.

While I know this doesn't reflect everyone's situation, it's true for us and I know that my husband has been struggling with this concept for some time. He wants all the happiness in the world for our children. Even though, we are accustomed to it and do just fine apart, because of the children getting older and more attached to dad, the prospect of being gone for awhile again is a little scary for all of us.

Thanks for letting me share an honest moment with you all.


Amber said...

As you well know, I could have written this myself. It's a fine line we walk between yearning for independence and adventure and loving the fact that we get to celebrate and witness every milestone.

Thanks for your honesty. I've been wrestling the same thoughts lately.

{ Becca } said...

I too have been thinking about these things lately! I actually wrote about it in my blog the other day. I've enjoyed reading yours!


trying said...

i know exactly what you mean. we thought about this when it was time to put in another contract and at the end of the day this life is what provides for our family and is teaching my children valuable lessons.

Sometimes, I will admit, when hubs is away and im single parenting, I feel oh so sorry for me having to the be the only one to get up 15 times a night (mothers out there know that this is not an exageration!), I'm the only one cleaning up puke, I'm the only one dealing with tantrums, oh why me. but then I also realize, I'm the one getting to see it all, not have to view it thru pics on a website or hear it over the phone.

Something tells me we get the better end of it.

excellent post!