“Build a routine. Stick to it.”
“Especially the children need structure. But, you’ll find yourself needing it, too.”
He left in February, taking any and all structure to our days, weeks, and months with him. I had to rebuild our lives from scratch. Figure out ways to break up the day, split the week and weekend. Fill the months so that time moved. And we did.
Each day have our routine, the two of us. Wake up, open the windows, make coffee, eat breakfast together. Get ready for the day, play in the yard or run errands, naptime, dinnnertime, etc. Though the months have brought small adaptations to our days and weeks, largely our structure has remained the same. And it’s comforting and safe. For her and for me.
I would never go back and repeat the time he’s been gone. I choose to move forward, towards the day he gets home. But, I’ve learned so much, grown so much. Through struggles and challenges, scares and Crosses, through joy and victories, I have found myself stretched, put through fire. I’ve become more flexible, more willing to bend. Before, naptime would never have been missed. Now, every once in awhile is okay; sometimes, it’s fun. I’m not in control. I just maintain a normalcy. Those little moments of wisdom have taught me much.
But, it’s all been a preparation for a greater test. And it’s here.
After I had my daughter, everything changed. Everything. I had thrived on normalcy, on being in control. Structure that I dictated. Routine that I managed. Motherhood taught me how little control I actually had. And it was a huge adjustment for me.
I feel like that woman who struggled to understand the massive change in her life is vastly different from the woman who sits here now. Life has been anything but normal in months, and yet I’ve striven to inject something of it into our daily lives. The husband and father is gone. I do everything myself. I am raising a daughter, managing a household, surviving a deployment. That woman I was nearly two years ago would have broken under this pressure. I am surviving–even thriving.
But huge change is upon me–upon us.
I am getting ready to bring another life into the world. And chaos will reign again. No more routine, no more structure. Normal, as I have known and created it, is over in the next couple of days. No more days of just my battle buddy and me. No more will I be so comfortable and confident in how I can handle life with my one child. We will, again, be starting from scratch.
Will everything I’ve learned, all the ways I’ve grown, be enough for handling two children? Will there be enough of Mom to go around? Will I be able to give my attention to both of my darling children? Will I survive? Thrive?
Because if I’ve learned one thing, it’s this. I do not have the final say, I do not control life, its structure or routine. I am not in charge. But, there is one thing I can control. Me. My reactions. My attitude. On that score, I call the shots. So, in those moments where life seems harried, out of control, I will stop and breathe. Just as I do now, in moments when I feel my grip failing. I will renew my promise to make a joyful home, a happy life for the two, er three, of us. I will love, smile, laugh. And occasionally, as I do now, I will cry.
But, we will still win. We will survive this. The end is near, and this has not beaten us yet. Not even close. So, as my “normal” life with just my battle buddy suddenly vanishes, I welcome and create a new “normal” with my Battle Buddy and my Happy Thought. Because life never stays the same. It’s always changing. With the struggles and Crosses, come greater joy and victory.
Yes, it’s coming. But, before then, I’ve got to bring my baby home.