Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Switch

Since John returned a few weeks ago I have found myself in awe of the attitude switch that occurs between my deployment mode and my-husband-is-home-and-I-am-a-damsel-in-distress mode.  For example, if I see a bug?  During deployment:  Scream into a pillow so I don't scare the kids and then suck it up and dispose of the bug.  Post-deployment: Scream like a banshee and run and find John to dispose of the bug.  Outside.  In our neighbors yard.  Then let him take care of the two scared toddlers.  See also: opening jars, unclogging toilets, changing light bulbs, putting air in my car tires, and, most importantly, packing for road trips.

Traveling was part of survival during deployment.  I needed company, adult interaction, a change of scenery, and to attend family obligations or important events.  I won't lie and say it was a breeze, it took many hours of packing as quietly as possible because the only time to do it was during naps or when they were sleeping in the evening.  But I did it. And I didn't need much wine or Valium or cheerleading to get it finished.  But now?  Oy vey how the hell did I do that all by myself?

Watching John try to pack all of our crap into our car for this road trip made me laugh wonder if I could have done it without him.  Deep down the answer is a resounding "duh, of course", but seriously, I am starting to understand why people are so quick to say things like "I could never do that" when they look at your situation from the outside.  I think we naturally let our guard down to the point where you can live happily and healthily with the resources we have.  This avoids gray hair, overeating, and divorce.  So if our husbands are gone, our guard goes up and we work it out.  Husband home?  He gets to mow the grass and I let lots of things just seamlessly slip into the "his" category without a lot of fanfare. 

Those of you who know my husband know that when he gets home I yield to him in all things packing, organizing, and filing.  He is borderline OCD and when it comes to certain things it really is his way or no way (or really, his way or he will re-pack the car, re-fold his laundry, re-organize the office). So I save myself some time and just let him do it (or in the case of the laundry, begrudgingly learn how to fold things the "Naval Academy way".  Yes, our shirts look like little rectangles).  During my deployment road trips, I did not care if certain things were in the trunk or if I had to use the area below the carseats to store things.  I didn't think too hard about having a "base" in luggage before stacking other lighter objects.  I just packed.  And I am proud to say I was never that person on the side of the highway whose items were strewn across the lanes.  But it wasn't perfect.  And I surely didn't optimize space to the perfectionist standards of Johnny.  A few times I even thought about taking a picture of my packed car and emailing it to him just because I know the reaction would have been funny.  And that he would have had a small tic for the rest of the day.

Overall, our road trip was a success.  Gifts got where they needed to go (and we packed all or them with plenty of rear-window visibility), the kids had a blast with their cousins, the food was excellent, and we lost just enough sleep to make us appreciate our own beds by the time we returned.

Hopefully my three readers didn't think I was a total scrooge for not blogging the obligatory "Merry Christmas" post on 12/25.  I really do hope you had a wonderful holiday (no matter what you celebrate) and got to soak up a lot of quality time with your loved ones.  For your patience, and overall viewing pleasure, here is the holiday photo that sums up what it is like to try and get four kids under five to pose nicely for a Christmas photo:

The soundtrack is even better than the picture.  Three adults laughing, three toddlers crying, and a train whistle just for fun.  This photo is totally going in the "wedding rehearsal dinner slide show" file.  For all four of them.


Melissa said...

LOVE IT! And thank you for not posting the one of me in the Chuck E Cheese tube.

Lori said...

That picture is priceless. Seriously. I love it and think it sums up quite a bit for a lot of us!!! xoxoxo

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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