When the ship left, the half way point seemed so far away. I remember getting really weepy the first week in February and just wishing the next few months would just disappear in to thin air. The hours slowly crept by but the months flew!
January was all about survival. For me, that meant making sure the kids were happy and nothing molded over in the sink. I tried to keep things healthy, in terms of food, and just stay sane. Turner ended up being a saint those first few weeks; almost like he knew I needed just a tiny little boost. We would cuddle on the couch in the evening after I put Eli down just 20 minutes earlier. The boys were both happy, if a little bored. The weather was terrible. We spent weeks and weeks in below freezing temperatures so there was a lot of time spent inside. Almost every single day I moved the living room furniture to put the bouncy house up, we played crazy games and just tore the house up finding things to do. I don't think they realized John was gone during the first month. It was almost as if it was a duty day.
We seemed to find our bearings in February. The weather warmed up two degrees and playing outside always helps the boys. I was able to learn how to time things so that at the end of the day the kitchen was cleaned up, rooms were straightened and I could sit down as soon as I put the kids to bed. Not that I didn't sit down regardless of the state of the house, but the next morning we were ready to go. My patience threshold was increased ten-fold for the better. I am fairly certain I am calm and patient but having an extremely calm and patient person like John around helps when I start to lose it. I had to learn that, without him, there was no choice but to possess those qualities -patience and calmness no matter the situation. This meant that I literally had to clench my teeth together to avoid saying something out of haste; a pointless threat or even something I didn't mean. The boys really began to push buttons and Turner started to dive deeper in to being three. Eli picked up on Turner's moods and it made for double trouble. The kids realized John was gone and started asking questions about where he was, why he was gone, when could they see him, how come they couldn't go to the ship, and many more. It was heart-breaking seeing the confusion on their faces. Thank GOD it was such a short month.
But...it meant that March was going to be loooooonnnnngggg.
And it was.
March was painful. Not only was it seemingly endless but the week to top all weeks threatened to push me over the edge! I had to relax almost everything we had accomplished during February. A nice calm bed time, tons of activities, and the no TV rule. It felt like such a huge back-track, but nursing the kids back to health was more important than all of those things. I have to say that it was so physically and emotionally draining that up was the only way to go. I honestly didn't understand how much my pregnant body could take and now I know: it's a lot. Turner started to get mad that John wasn't home still. Because they have no concept of time it's difficult to really tell them exactly what's going on. We have our calendar to put an "x" on every night and the chain to show us how many days have gone by but they really just don't understand. A lot of Turner's fits will end in screaming for Daddy. I cried the first few times because I just couldn't console him. I would sit on his floor and he'd come sit on my lap and then Eli would cry because, well, why not? Now I try to just stay calm and after most of the tantrum is over we talk about the deployment, where Daddy is that day and what we're all going to do when he comes home.
It's so hard to listen to those sweet little voices talk about Daddy, but one day down is one day closer...
We made it; we're half way done with our first deployment with kids. I know John misses his boys as much as they miss him. It's hard for all of us, but it's such a learning experience, and our "duty" in this service to our country.
*Note to self* NEVER listen to the SheDaisy song "Come Home Soon." If it comes on the crappy radio stations of Jacksonville, CHANGE THE STATION! ...or you will have to pull the car over.