Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Packing... SO MUCH STUFF!

So I spent the day packing for my 2-week trip to visit my family in Maryland. I've made the trip by myself with both kids many times before, particularly during the last deployment, but haven't done the drive for 6 months now. The kids are a little older (i.e. more whiny and loud!) and I'm kind of dreading the drive. But as I was packing I realized how different my version of packing is than my husband's.

Whether he is packing for a short training exercise or a long deployment, he gets a packing list, and is expected to get everything into a few relatively small bags. But at least he is only packing for himself. When I pack, it is for 3 people, and 2 of them are completely irresponsible. They can't even be trusted to bring their own toys! So I spent the day rounding up all of the "essentials" that I use every day at our house, which won't be at my parents' house. Not just clothes, shoes, and jackets, but also plastic plates and utensils, baby gates, portable beds and high chairs, baby medicine, favorite DVD's, snacks, etc. I feel like I am packing up half the house! It is currently piled in my dining room and I am searching for the energy to throw it all into the van. I want to do it tonight because my mental checklist for the morning is already pretty long: take out trash and recycling, turn off heat, run dishwasher, load snacks and ice in cooler, get kids dressed, fed, and in car! Not to mention all the little things I have taken care of in the last few days: paying bills early, cleaning out the fridge, getting a neighbor to collect the mail... all this to leave the house for a few weeks! When our husbands leave, they pack up their stuff and just walk away. I wonder if they have any idea of all the "little" things we keep track of to keep the house and family running smoothly?

But hey, at least we have the luxury of being within driving distance of family! How do all of you who have to FLY home with children handle the packing and baby gear????

Monday, March 28, 2011

Alone Again

Well, this is it. My husband has left for some training to prepare for deployment in a few months. He has been here almost every night since returning from deployment last July, and now we won't see him for a few weeks. As a somewhat "seasoned" Marine wife, I realize that a few weeks is nothing. But I am surprised how much this impending training has been getting to me in recent weeks! I guess I have been viewing it as the beginning of the end. After 7 months here, suddenly he's gone for most of April, back for the month of May, gone for most of June, then deploying sometime shortly after that. So even though he was packing for a relatively short, easy training mission, I have been mentally preparing for the deployment itself, and that has created some tension. Especially since our baby will be born AFTER he deploys, I am starting to feel like I need to get furniture moved and set up the nursery soon, while he is still here. It's like going into "nesting" mode when you still have 20 weeks left to the pregnancy!

But in a way, now that he is gone, I can breathe a little easier, and get ready to move on. I am planning to spend the next few weeks with my parents--my first real visit to their house in exactly a year! We got used to visiting every few months during the last deployment, so it has been strange to go so long without seeing them and my "back home friends." I think focusing on the immediate future and this visit to family will be a lot more refreshing to me than focusing on the more distant future where husband will be deployed.

Of course everyone struggles with pre-deployment stress. I just didn't expect it to start so soon! Anyone have some good ways of calming yourself when your mind starts racing months before the actual deployment?