This has probably been one of the worst weeks since my Soldier left. Period. Anything that could have gone wrong, did. With a vengeance. All week, I’ve felt like I was running around putting fires out. Big fires. Little fires. And then my fire extinguisher was empty long before the job was done. That’s been my week.
“The very last part of the deployment is the hardest.” My daughter’s pediatrician told me. Good to be in a military community–it’s like family. They always understand. And they never sugarcoat things.
“Ma’am? Do you know how fast you were going?” The speed limit. “You were going 12 over.” I knew that wasn’t true. I monitor my speed like an old lady. In fact, as he was tailing behind me, a pick up truck sped past me like I was standing still. My first speeding ticket ever. And I didn’t even deserve it. But, he wrote down the wrong make, model, and year of the car, that the roads were dry (funny, because it was pouring rain), and he also penciled in that I was black. Ha. Anyone who knows me, knows you can’t get any more white than me. Now, I have to find time to contest it. With two kids. Awesome.
“Yup! Media otitis. Ear infection. I’m going to give you antibiotics, and you should be good to go.” Not. Three days into the ear infection, and I go to the doctor…and got antibiotics that didn’t work. Back into the doctor two more times this week, and started better antibiotics. I am only just now feeling better. I have great respect for those who struggle with ear infections. They are wicked.
“Why aren’t you online?” Internet was down. For two days. You want to make a military wife angry? Shut down her internet and refuse to fix it. I had been dealing with them already for three weeks, when the internet was spotty. Then it crashed altogether this week. And that just added fuel to those fires. A lot of fuel. From numerous four-hour phone conversations with the internet provider trying get it fixed, to a dinner time trip downtown to get a new modem that made it worse, I was infuriated by this afternoon. And I let them know. As nicely as I could.
And then I stopped.
As we got out of the car last night, the train whipped down the tracks just down the road. My toddler started jumping up and down, clapping her hands. “Choo choo, Mommy!” Even though the internet store was closing imminently, even though it was dinner time and throwing off my schedule, even though it was cold and I was irritated and tired, I stopped. I knelt down. And we watched and laughed together.
It made me realize something. Life gets way out of hand sometimes. And flying solo without my spouse makes those times harder. Everyone is depending on you and expecting their chunk of time. Everything and its consequences are on your shoulders. You run twice as fast, work twice as hard. And you come last, if you “come” at all. But I cannot let those precious moments of innocent joy pass me by, regardless of how “bad” a week it has been. Because the memories are too valuable to ignore.
Some day, she’ll be grown. She won’t remember the year we spent getting each other through, comforting each other. She’ll never remember the precious moments we had together while Daddy was gone–in spite of Daddy being gone. The late night cuddles as she cried, the hugs she gives me when she can tell I’m struggling, the games and laughs we have shared each day. She’ll never remember them. But, I will. When she’s grown and doesn’t have time for Mommy anymore. When she’s a Mommy. I’ll remember when she was tiny and stood next to me as we laughed over the train speeding by. As she stood in my arms encircling her and mimicked the sounds. I’ll remember.
In that moment–for a moment, life stood still. The stress and negativity of the week disappeared. All that mattered was she and I. Watching that train. Speed by. And in a moment, it was gone.