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Skip This Post; I’m Just Exercising

7 Oct

The temperature became warmer as we traveled into the evening.  From the Cumberland Valley into the Shenandoah the temperature increased ten degrees, even though it was four hours later in the day, and into the evening.  The warmth seemed to beckon me and say, “welcome home; have a little extra summer”.  I drove in my VW with the baby, and the HD drove behind me with Young G.  The trip took two days (potty breaks and a nursing baby) until we ended up in Charleston.

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Carving Out the Time

2 Oct

I’m writing again.  Today, right now, I certainly am, and tomorrow I hope to again, and then again the next day.  I’m feeling pushed to write from within and without myself these days, and I keep thinking of really good reasons not to.  I’m too busy, for one thing.  Young G is 3.75 years old, and the New Guy is six months old.  We just moved to a new state and I’m not finished decorating yet.  Also, I don’t really feel like I have my brain back from almost five years ago before conceiving my first-born.  This year I’ve begun to read again, though (really, truly read — and finish — books of all kinds).  I’ve read books about writing, but mostly books by really fabulous writers.  Then I was asked by a longtime friend to assist her in writing a book.  So many fabulous words getting thrown around and bounced inside my brainspace and nary a one of them coming from my fingertips. Every time I try to inspire my friend — my client — to write something I feel guilty for not taking my own advice.  

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More to Come

20 Nov

My husband’s deployment was the hardest year of my life — outranking two divorces in my childhood, the murder of a friend, and the cumulative effects of post-graduate depression — and yet it’s the hardest for me to write about because I don’t feel unique.  My husband blogs from his perspective, books have been written, wives military-wide have experienced this for over a decade, every previous generation has war-stories, and even a young teenage girl has published a memoir of her painful fourteen-months without her mother.  I don’t know how my experiences stand out amongst them all, especially when so many war-wives (even most of the ones I know) had it “worse”: their husbands engaged in combat, or divorced them afterwards, leaving them as true single-moms.  

My year of loneliness, single-motherhood, cynicism, and grief seems sometimes to only be unique (and interesting) to me.  

Regardless, I can’t shake the desire to write. 

He deployed from our military home in Hawaii in April of 2011, and was gone for 355 days. Our son was 15 months when he left, and two years, three months when he returned.  We packed up our home ourselves and put it all into storage, shipped my Volkswagen back east, and with only as much as I could fly with my son and I traveled the East coast from family to family for the entire year.  My son has been on 19 planes and 11 of those he and I flew solo! Lots of ladies go home during a deployment, though.  

It’s hard to know where to start, because the beginning seems to keep reaching further and further back.  Did it begin the day he left?  The day we found out he’d go?  Or perhaps the story begins when we fell in love?  More than likely the story begins with his own childhood as an Army brat.  Our whole story matters, though, because it wouldn’t have ended as well as it did if we didn’t have the foundation we find ourselves on.  Truthfully, without this deployment we would have never known just how strong a foundation that is.  Stress and anxiety threatened us (the unit “Us”) to a breaking point, but grace and humility healed us.

We both are forever changed, but thanks be to God we have changed together and not apart. Some of this I’ve already written about, but there is more to come.

Livin Without You

17 Aug

I was telling a story to my hairdresser today, talking about my husband.  As the facts unfolded in the form of answers to his questions, his eyes popped with intrigue hearing the tale.  It made me think about how revealing facts linearly is so different from giving pieces of picture one at a time and letting the listener put the puzzle together.  I actually think the hairdresser might have gotten a better image of who the HD really is because of the piece-by-piece story, rather than if I had started at the beginning.

Maybe that’s why I need to do with writing.  Just give a piece at a time, and let the picture come together.  It’s very organic that way.

I never know where a post is going to go when I sit down to write.  I just begin.  The ending comes naturally.

Saturday a friend of my brother’s told me I needed to write a book.  If I had a nickel…

This year might be worth writing about.  So might last year.  Or 2002.  They all added pieces.  Sometimes I feel like the only way I could tell my story would be to write it out like Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” and give the entire background of my life, and my husband’s, for three generations so that our story made sense.  Had context.

So much is out of context.  Even context itself, though, is dependent on perspective.  None of it is objective.  I guess the story only exists the way I tell it.  The way someone else would tell it is a completely different story.

Yesterday I had a fabulous day with my boy.  Young G and I went to a park, ate at Chick-fil-A, played outside, played in the bath, and had a lot of good laughs and toddler-conversation.  All day I thought, “I should get a furnished apartment for the next six months.  Forget living with family; let’s just hunker down together.” I decided we’d go to Charleston, where the HD and I lived before the Army.  There’s a wonderful church there that I missed, and it felt good to be near it.  I actually searched Craigslist.

Then night fell, and the quiet made it hard for me to rest.  I stayed up much too late waiting for sleep to overtake me.  I got up out of bed three times.  I forgot to lock one of the doors.  My father and his wife are gone for the week for work, and will be back tomorrow, so the last two nights Young G has been dependent only on me.  Not a problem, except that I just don’t do well alone.  In grad-school I lived alone and never slept well until I could hear my neighbor start his shower every morning.  I’m scared of defending myself alone in a house overnight, and terrified with a little one.

So it remains that I shall be rambling along from house to house. Never the Queen, always the subordinate.  But at least I’m at ease when I’m at rest.

In seven months my maniacal protector will return.  I never feel more safe than when I’m with my HD, because he’s psycho.  He doesn’t just swat flies, you know, he lures them in and suffocates them.  Any intruder in our home would be tortured — psychologically — by the experience.  I love this about my husband.  If you knew his story it would make sense.

 

Love Letters!

23 May

Who gets love letters anymore?  I suppose those of you married to some ineffectual poet who pens you a couplet in lieu of repairing broken hinges may get a floral litany of prose at least quarterly, but those of us married to left-brainers are usually lucky to get pre-written sentiments dedicated to us.  My husband’s love language is seldom language at all.  For instance, my husband never eats or drinks anything without offering me some or asking if he can get me something.

So I repeat, who gets love letters anymore?
This is the first blessing I can count this year: seeing my husband’s love for me in pen-and-ink.  A tactile, permanent record.  Our love immortalized.

Also, by exercising the “I love you” muscles to find new ways of saying it, I’m watching a progression of love-letter strength.  Writing begets writing.

First I read through each of his letters, of course, one-by-one as I received them.  Actually, the first read was rather quick, almost a scan, like I was confirming it contained nothing unexpected.  They have all been without surprises, though, so after an hour or two I return to the letter and read it with a smile.

Now I read them through again, sometimes at night before going to sleep.  That love which they’re full of is such familiar love.  I can hear his voice, and see his face as I read the words.  I can feel his warmth, as if cuddling me and whispering these thoughts.  Even more, though, I know the heart that all the words are coming from.  Suddenly, the simplest sentence brings me nearer to him.

Now I look closer, past the words.  I study his pen strokes, and handwriting.  He has some of the most indistinguishable “r”s I’ve ever seen!  There are no edits, or words scratched out.  He thought about each sentence before writing it.  I watch his thoughts progress, starting with external love, like the smell of my hair, and ending with soul-deep love, like our purpose together as a family.

I know these letters will become soft and worn from all the re-reading.   Folding and unfolding.  Eventually the feeling of the very paper in my hands will be comforting.  Our time together – the letters and mine – will form a bond between us, so that I develop affection for the physical letters themselves.   My letters will become like old friends, and I will have memories of all the times they have brought me peace and comfort.  They’ll be my pieces of Him, in the same way I lovingly read the Scripture.

There aren’t many blessings of Love in War, but as this distance strips away the foolish selfishness we get caught up in, I see there are a few.  I knew our love was iron-clad from the beginning, but there is great blessing in having a love grow stronger.

capsules

22 Feb

I shouldn’t try to compartmentalize myself so extremely.  It’s criminal to do so, especially after all the hard work I’ve put into integrating all parts of myself into one cohesive Me.  I’ve tried blogging here — which is intended to be my bloody-knuckles writing, and then a charming “family blog” for all to see, and finally a “business” blog where I kid myself in thinking I’m unique and could get sponsors.  What happens is I confuse myself with all these manifestations, and can’t decide which blog deserves what update, and consequently write nothing.  Writing no thing is degenerative for me.

[I’ve also had very detailed fantasies of maintaining a Language Acquisition journal for my son’s verbal development since I am, after all, a fucking linguist.  I’ll stand in the shower and imitate him, consider how to transcribe his sounds, consider all the different contexts in which he uses a word… Then after I finish getting dressed the thoughts have vanished and nothing gets recorded.  This linguistic research is of course intended to be recorded by hand in a fourth journal.]

[Have I mentioned the journal I keep — also by hand — after reading the Bible? What are we up to? Five?]

My last good therapist used to tell me to stop fighting my personality.  I can hear myself saying, “I’m so undisciplined; I cannot maintain my five different journals!”  Then her reply would be, “Don’t beat yourself up and stop fighting your personality.  Just find a way of journaling that only requires one update a day.”

There was something so simple about her solutions, but also sort of frustrating.  It was a relief in in its simplicity because I would think, perfect!  I can easily write only once a day! Then, on the other hand, I felt disappointed because her solution prevented the self-pity I had been planning.  It prevented me from going down some sordid path of cleaning up the clutter in my home and soul until eventually I found the fortitude and zen necessary to maintain five blogs in addition to motherhood and home-making.

It’s not tough at all.  This is where I start using the categories feature here and separate my posts accordingly.

(Have I mentioned that I solve most of my problems by writing them out or talking about them?  Nothing like hearing my dumbass thoughts in stereo to make me realize the obvious.)

Solving for Pie

27 Sep

Lost entries make me sad. So do dents in my Jetta. He blamed it on the dilation of his eyes. I don’t really care because things like this happen (I do things like this), but it was sad to see the little dent in her hiney.

What makes me happy, though, are evenings of Scrabble with my HD and Little G playing joyfully at our feet. I say “joyfully” because he talks and sings to himself as he plays, inserting little bursts of giggles and dances that I can’t think of what other emotion he must be experiencing except joy. Continue reading