Thursday, October 24, 2013

Temporary Relief

During deployment, it is always helpful to have things to look forward to. For me, this usually involves a visit from family or close friends. In the past 3 months, DD and I have been blessed with 2 visits – one from my mom and the other from my college roommate and dear friend, who is really closer to a sister.

My mom's visit came first, not long after DD and I got over our sicknesses (see previous post). It was such a joy to have her here. She helped in so many ways. I cannot possibly describe them all, but I'll try so you can see how amazing she is. Not only did she clean up our messes, prepare our meals, play with DD, take us shopping, and give lots of hugs and kisses, she also spent quality time listening to my fears, worries, hopes, and goals. When my mom visits, I can let down. The weight of the world no longer hunches my shoulders. I can be calm and relaxed, not waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel at peace and reassured. There is no feeling like it!

DD very happy to play with Grammy
The hard part comes when she has to go home. It takes several hours, sometimes several days, to readjust. I have a temporary panicky feeling that I can't do it. I can't do it by myself. It was so much easier with my mom here. But the Lord reminds me that He has not left me. Not only that, but this is the way it is supposed to be. I am an adult with a daughter of my own. My mom can't always be with me (though she is always there for me). She has raised me to be a strong, independent, capable woman. And I must make her proud. But how thankful I am for the relief her visits provide!

Not long after I readjusted and returned to my routine, my college bestie came to visit. The feelings were similar. It was a party every day! We laughed and cried, shared our hearts and our lives in ways you can't replicate over the telephone. She met DD for the first time, and they were fast friends. Her visit was therapy to my wearied soul.

Fast friends
3 happy girls
Yet again when she had to leave, there was a readjustment period. The house was quieter. Nights were lonely again. Reality didn't sink back in, it pummeled me. The end of each visit is another goodbye that serves to remind me of the goodbye I had to say to my husband. The pain comes rushing back until I acknowledge it and affirm that yes, this is a hard time, but it is not impossible. If it weren't so difficult, I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy the satisfying wholeness that these visits bring. So while when they end, I feel loss, I would not trade their restorative power for anything. Not only do they give me something to look forward to, they help me persevere. They are a glimpse of God's love for me, how He sustains me even in the midst.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Within the first 2 months of DH's deployment, many of the things I worried about happened. First, DD got sick, and not just a cold but croup. She couldn't sleep, and as a result, neither could I. The few minutes of sleep she could get required me to hold her in her room. I never seem to be able to sleep that way. If I tried putting her down, she would cry, which would kickstart a coughing fit. Then I'd have to pick her back up, take her into a steamy bathroom to get the cough to stop, and rock her once she was calm enough to go back to sleep. By day 3, I was exhausted. We'd already been to the doctor who gave DD a steroid, but improvement was not quick to follow. The less sleep I got, the worse I began to feel. Soon enough, I, too, was sick.

Trying to have fun while sick
I remembered thinking before DH even left, what am I going to do when I get sick and still have to take care of DD, especially if she too is sick? Well, about 6 weeks into the deployment, I found out! So what did I do? Honestly, I lived moment to moment, cried, prayed, took Dayquil 24/7, and held my daughter as often as she needed. Thankfully, and this was God's grace to me in the midst of a hard time, I was not so sick that I couldn't take care of DD. It was a cold, and I could manage a cold.

Finally, after about 8 very long days, the croup cough left, and I rejoiced. A few more days stuck inside to make sure she was truly symptom free, and we could finally leave our house again. That was the hardest part for me – not being around people. I was so isolated, and it was very challenging to keep my spirits up.

About a week and a half went by when we were able to engage in our usual activities again – Gymboree, MOPS, PWOC, play dates, etc. But then DD got a runny nose and another cough. Ugh! It felt like were never going to be well! And wouldn't you know it, just as we were starting to feel better, the dog got sick. His eyes rolled back into his head, he was shaking, and very, very lethargic. So an hour before bedtime on a Saturday night, I loaded DD and the dog into the car and headed to an emergency vet. After all this, I couldn't handle my dog dying on me – not this soon into the deployment.

So glad to be back at Gymboree!
Thankfully, the vet was gracious and didn't take too long to examine Calvin and decide his eyes were probably just inflamed. They sent us home with some eye drops and told us to return the next day to re-check his eyes, if they were still rolled back. By the following morning, praise God! His eyes were normal, and he was back to his energetic, hungry self.

About a week later, I decided to take Calvin to the groomer because bathing him was just another thing on my to-do list that never got checked off. While he was at the groomer, I planned for DD and I to go shop for a new laptop because in the midst of all this, not only my laptop but my desktop computer decided to break. Since that is how I communicate with DH, that had to be remedied quickly!

Well, I'm sure you know where this is going...

When I started the car, it wouldn't crank, and I noticed a warning light on the dash. I just wanted to throw my hands into the air and say, “what next, God?” So after I did that, I ran through all the options in my head for how to get this fixed. DD and I went inside, and I called the car dealership to schedule an appointment, trying to simultaneously be thankful that at least DH's car was working.

Love my car, but love it more when it's working
I was anxious about taking my car to get serviced (yet another thing I had worried about before DH left) because DD's new car seat was not the easiest to uninstall/install from car to car. But thankfully, she is still small enough to fit in her infant seat which is easy to install/uninstall so I was able to use that when we dropped off my car and took a shuttle home. So the huge deal I had made in my head was really not that big at all.

From sicknesses to vets to computers to cars, I just had to smile (after I cried). God knew my fears, and He wanted to show me, very early on in this deployment, that they were unwarranted. He was and is going to see me through each and every time. As the song says, He'll never let go, through every high and every low.

So now DD is cutting 3 molars all at one time and is very cranky. The dog throws up at least once a day, and the service engine light in DH's car is now on. I sigh, try not to cry, and thank God that He's got this one too. But most of all, He's got us. He's taking care of us, regardless of the circumstance. He is good. All the time. And all the time. He is good.