Right. Day 4. I'm feeling all ambitious.
Okay, so this week I'm out with my kiddos at an undisclosed location, basically making their insane little schedules work, and I start chatting up a new girl. My motto, since May, has been "give everyone a chance," but I kind of always keep Running Woman's advice in the back of my head and make sure I keep clear of the crazies. So yeah, she's chatting at me, lovely as can be, and I keep glancing at my phone, and I realize how rude I'm being, so I say, "I'm so sorry, I keep checking to see if my husband has come online yet." And she asks if he's deployed. I say, "Yep. We're 7 1/2 months in," to which she says...
"Man, I wish my husband would deploy."
RIGHT. So internally, I'm all:
And I'm pretty sure my eyebrows raise up at least an inch. But I'm being kind this month, right? My act of kindness is about to be letting this girl walk out of here without me ripping into her.
So I gently say, "Oh, let's not say that, okay?"
And she says, "No seriously, he hasn't gone in forever and he NEEDS to go."
And Now I'm just kind of like:
So I take a deep breath, because I'm really in no position to bury a body and hold Princess Pumpkin at the same time, and I say, "you really have to think before you say that to a spouse with a deployed husband. This is our 4th deployment, and in the last 16 months, I've only seen my husband maybe three of them. I can barely remember what he looks like when he's not skype-pixelated, so that's probably something you want to not wish for. This is not fun."
I kind of tuned out every other excuse that was given in regards to why he "needed" to deploy.
Ladies, if you're one of the fortunate in our Army life, you know - only one deployment under your skin, and you're feeling "itchy" or something because your husband's been home "too much," (Whatever the hecklo that means), then perhaps you should... well... hush up around those of us who still have a drawer of unwashed T-shirts because we're terrified he won't come home, and we'll lose his scent. Deployment isn't something you wish for. It's something you dread, you endure, and you conquer, but it is not something to be longed for.
Logic, ladies, logic.
But now, let's move onto the Christmas tree.
This thing is massive, and located on the opposite end of our adequately-large-with-5.5-kids house, and up two flights of stairs in the attic. So I kind of roll up my sleeves, and say:
I pull the tree over to the stairs, get in front of it, and then kind of ungracefully manage its fall down the stairs. Score. Then I slide it onto a beach towel, and drag it across the hardwood in the hallways, through the house, until I perform the same awesome stunt down the front staircase. So a few minutes, and a plethora of swear words later, the flippin' box is downstairs, but there's still four giant tuff-boxes up there. Right.
So, I've got everything downstairs, Pumpkin is jumping happily in her jumper, and it's time to rock out this tree. I get it out, set it up... and out of the 9 levels of this damnable thing, ONE. Let's say that again... ONE strand works. Not only that, but every other light strand we have is a multi-colored, not white.
I know this seems small, but I just need something, anything to go a little easily on me right now. Especially since I'd kind of like to take this tree and burn it to the ground as opposed to having an 8 foot reminder that Jason is missing Christmas...again. So maybe I'm a little bitter, and maybe I'm not at my most graceful, but at this moment... I hate this M'er F'in tree.
So why not just go buy lights? Because it's now 2 pm, and Jason is getting on line in three hours to skype in as we decorate, which means I don't have time to wait for Aaron to get home, load up everyone, drive 35 min. away and get back in time to string up the lights so we can decorate.
So, I decide to head back up to the loft above the garage and dig through the exterior lights in the hope there's something? Well, there was.
I totally threw on outdoor net lights.
So I wiggle the wires in, and Aidan looks at me and says, "aren't those like the lights that go on the bushes outside?"
And I just say, "Yep," and smile like:
So Boom. Tree lit. Ornaments out. Jason hops on Skype, and the tree gets decorated. Nothing like 4 kids who can't reach above 5 feet decorating our tree to bring out my non-existent OCD. ;) But hey, we got it done! We were home in Colorado last year, so it's been two years since I've seen our tree, and I can honestly say that I've missed it.
Just not as much as I miss Jason.
So happy Decorating, folks. ;)
Jason joining in where he can. ;)
Ta-da!!! Oh, and the bookshelf doesn't normally block Aidan's baby pic, but I had to move the book case to separate the sectional couch, to drag it over to the other side of the room... Yeah. I'm glad this tree is pretty. ;)
So today, the fourth (because it's actually now the 5th): I'm grateful for this deployment, because it reminds me how strong and randomly resourceful I can be when I need to. If Jason were here, he would have brought the tree down, and replaced the lights. If Jason were here, the house would be Clark Griswold'ed, and the decorating would be done. If Jason were here, the spirit of this season would fill me like always, instead of this empty void I feel when I think about him missing it again. Yeah, but he's not here, so I'm thankful that when I need to make it happen, I can. I'm also thankful the empty tree box was easier to take upstairs than the full one was to drag down.
For today, my act of kindness? It's super simple. I grabbed my friend down the street, we'll call her Mrs. Letter Bee, some mini marshmallows when we went to the Amish Country store. She told me she likes them, so I snagged her a bag. How is this an act of kindness? It's simple consideration, and it was shown to me a couple days ago when another friend, who we'll call Mrs. Green Bay, showed up randomly with a gallon of milk because she'd been to the store and knows we go through it like water. Kindness starts with such a simple little spark, a considerate thought, an easy action.
For the Today, now the 5th (Because my computer died, my phone died, and well... it was overly ambitious of me to really think I could pull off posting EVERY day): I am grateful for this thought - as I sat here this morning, looking at this beautiful tree, I had the alarming thought of "How the hell am I going to get that thing back into the attic????" And then it hit me: I don't have to. It's not "soon" per-say, but Jason will be home in a respectable amount of time to have the tree box in the entryhall. On that thought: I don't have to have the oil changed in the car again, or even worry about the riding snow-blower deck (I use the walk behind), because he'll be here. My grateful thought is that there's this giant light headed toward me, and I know it's him making his way back to me.
For our act of kindness, we donated food to the local food drive. Why? Because I have four kids in this school district, and when they all take a can, they can start to make a dent. I can't imagine going to the cupboard and not knowing how I'm going to feed my kids. This is so minor, so easy a thing, but to someone else, it could mean everything.
So the Grinch has been momentarily stored away because of the beauty of this tree, and the excitement of these kids. Their little faces reflected in the ahem... net... ahem... lights, are a breathtaking sight, and as much as I kind of loathe this season at the moment, I know that it's not really about me, it's about them.
Santa hat on, ready to rock it.
All is Merry and Bright.