A million years ago, I had a little blog called Girl, Boy, Girl. By the way, never name a blog after something that could change (aka Winnie would have totally jacked things up if I had kept that thing). It was a little blogspot account that I started when I was pregnant with the twins. I’m pretty sure my readership was in the single digits everyday, but writing has always been cathartic for me and was especially so when Graham deployed for six months in 2013. Just before he came home, I wrote a reflective post about his time away. I re-read the entry last night on day 9 of a 12-day trip overseas. We are so very anxious to have him back. But this little reflection from 5 years ago reminds me that I can do hard things.
***This post was originally published on July 6, 2013***
Later this afternoon, my husband will get on a plane that will travel westward across deserts, lush land, and open sea to route him safely home to a very enthusiastic brood of little humans (and this thrilled girl).
He has been gone 189 days.
We will wait for another few days of travel until we can see him early next week. And despite the kids and I getting ready for that amazing homecoming, I am spending this weekend reflecting on the last six months with all its joys and challenges. Here are a few treasures I’ve gleaned in these final days of Graham’s absence:
I can care for my children after 6 pm. I used to get so irritated at Graham for coming home late from work, getting caught up in a briefing, forgetting to call. I genuinely questioned whether I could be counted on to ensure my children’s safety after the dinner hour. I was so eager to hand the parenting over to him as soon as he walked through the door. Truth is, I can make certain that Maddox, Henry, and Harper survive and yes, even thrive, after 6 pm. Turns out, I was so happy to stop parenting in the evenings that I was missing some really funny bathtime shenanigans and more than a few sweet moments at bedtime.
Single parenting is hard. There were a lot of days when I just wanted to crawl in a corner and cry (and did a few times). It is tough to be both mom and dad for three kids and the truth is, I can’t do it. My kids need a father. Now, that is not to say that single mamas are not doing right by their children if they choose to go it alone (or if the decision was made for them). Everyone’s circumstances are different and I think there are cases where one strong mama (or daddy) is a serious improvement from an extremely dysfunctional marriage of the two. I’m only saying that it is really hard, and for me, required a daily time of turning my situation over to Jesus and asking for some major intervention. Sometime around May, I began reading this book and my outlook changed dramatically. Also the friends that provided meals, notes, late-night-Pedialite-when-my-kid-was-puking visits, babysitting so I could have a moment away, driving/flying from Kentucky, South Carolina, Iowa, and Chicago to visit—all such a blessing and a generosity I will not soon forget. If you know a single mama, offer her your time. It can save her life.