Every week I try to share a useful resource that is available to military families. Usually, I pick something that has recently been helpful to me. Well, this week it has been family!!! I am 9 months pregnant, 50 pounds heavier than this time last year, and it is typically over 100 degrees here in North Carolina. So my energy levels are pretty low, and I get drained very quickly. As much as I want to enjoy my time with my 2 little ones before the baby comes, just getting through the day can be exhausting. This week I had 2 sets of visitors: first my sister Brigid came for a week. We didn't have any special plans. Mostly she just helped me entertain the kids, or stayed home and watched them while I ran some errands kid-free. Plus she helped me cook so I could stock my freezer with post-baby meals. It was wonderful! Then, the last few days we were lucky to finally see my sis-in-law, father-in-law, and the 2 cousins. Even though her kids are a little older than mine (ages 6 and 10, while mine are only 3 and 1), they really play well together! Even every-day things like dress-ups, tea parties, reading books, and blowing bubbles are more fun with cousins around! Plus they had some great times in the backyard and we even spent a morning at the beach! I'm a little tired from all the activity, but I know that without help from family, we would have spent most of our days inside watching TV.
I think a big difference between this deployment and the last one is that I don't really consider family visitors as "guests" anymore. Last time, whenever people were coming to visit, I cleaned the house, did laundry, went shopping, and cooked special meals. I also tried to plan special outings to the limited number of things to do in this area. I always looked forward to visitors, but it was exhausting! This time, I am willing to admit what I can and can't do, and family seems to understand that. I will have plenty of family visits during this deployment, but this time they are coming as helpers, not guests. You want to come see me and the kids? Great! But you might wind up helping me clean, or cook, or I just might ask you to mow the lawn for me. :-) And that is how we will get by!
What is your attitude toward family visits? Are they frequent, or more like annual events? Do you think you treat family visitors like guests or helpers???