Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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Setting the Record Straight

September 26, 2008

Last night at dinner, while John and I talked about the ups and downs of transitioning to normal life now that he’s back at work:

Troy: “Mommy, talk to me!”

Mommy: “You want to talk, too, Troy?”

T: “Yep.”

M: “Well, let’s see… Troy, do you remember when Daddy was in Iraq?”

T: (pause) “Yes. I miss him. I was sad. I was crying. I LOVE him!!”


Troy’s memory at two and a half never ceases to amaze us. He remembers very specific events, people and places that happened up to a year ago. Things that we haven’t even talked about to remind him.

For instance, we were eating peas last week when he suddenly started trying to toss them into his mouth. We both raised our eyebrows at him, at which point he reminded us, “I be like Grandpa.”

Oh, yeah. I forgot Grandpa did that.

But lately that memory combined with his two-year-old limited grasp on reality has been causing him some problems.

Every morning he wakes up, walks to the top of the stairs and asks, “Aww, but where’s my daddy?”

Gee, thanks, kiddo. Glad to see you too.

Once he’s convinced that Mommy’s just going to have to do (no lights and fireworks there!) , he makes his way downstairs and we snuggle on the couch for a while.

And then–never failing–he asks it.

“Daddy in Iraq? He go on the bus again?”

I explain to him every. single. morning. that Daddy’s just at work and he’ll be home after naps and before dinner. But this time the ol’ memory’s just not doing it for him. He’s certain Daddy “got back on the bus” like the day he left–Troy’s most vivid memory of the deployment

And then after naptime?

Rinse. Repeat.

So we decided it was time to visit where Daddy works and see for ourselves.

Armed with a nice autumn picture we’d made the day before, we headed over to John’s building on base after a commissary run. Troy walked up the stairs and followed his daddy into his office. We ate lunch there, hung Troy’s picture, sat in Daddy’s chair, saw everything he does during the day, and even peppered the desk and locker with post-it notes while Daddy was in a meeting. Troy played with their matching “covers” (hats) and tried to get Merritt to wear one without taking it off. Then it was time to go and we walked back out to the car.

See, Troy? This is where Daddy come to work. He’s not going back to Iraq, baby.”

“Yeah! He goes to work here! He not get on the bus anymore!”

And since that day, he hasn’t worried once that Daddy was “back on the bus.” No more worried and fears. No more after naptime tears about Iraq. My hearts get torn up one less time each day.

Now, the whole “Aw, but I wanna snuggle with Daddy” thing–THAT’S still going strong.

(To which I say, sorry charlie, you have to wait till about 5:30 tonight for the lights and fireworks to begin. I guess Mommy just doesn’t quite have what it takes. See if I make YOUR breakfast today.

Joking, joking. I still make him breakfast even when feeling slighted by my two year old. Ahem.)

But that’s okay. When it comes to Daddy, we have a lot of lost time to make up for.

At least I’m not yet ironing my pillow cases

September 23, 2008

I was born into a family of ironers. (Yes, “ironers” is now a word., thank you very much.)

My mom is a firm believer in ironing. She ironed my dresses. She ironed our denim skirts. She ironed our cloth napkins. She, of course, ironed my dad and brother’s shirts and pants. Sometimes she ironed jeans–if the hem wasn’t quite right or there were creases in them. She ironed… well, everything.

Okay, well, she didn’t iron underwear. Don’t laugh. I’ve heard some people really do.

But she always said the one thing she wouldn’t iron was her sheets and pillowcases. Because that’s just, you know, SILLY. She said she just wouldn’t do it…

…like her mother did.

My Grammie is Southern to the core. She irons her sheets. In fact, in her Alabama house, washing sheets and remaking the beds is an all. day. affair.

She takes the sheets off. She washes them just so, laying them over the back of the couch, or over the chair in her breakfast nook when they come out of the dryer, sweet smelling and warm. Then she irons them. All five zillion square feet to cover that California King.

She carefully carries them down the long hall into the bedroom before painstakingly spreading those crisp sheets across the bed. Perfect hospital corners. Perfectly even sides. She’ll run her petite hands over and across those sheets fifty times to ensure there wasn’t a wrinkle or ripple in sight.

(And here is where her dear sweet daughter–my mom–loves to tease her mama by frantically batting at the sheets in a mock attempt at smoothing them. Which, you know, only makes it worse. And Gram says quietly, “Missy. Missy!” And they smile a funny, smirky little smile.)

At the end of it all, she pulls up the bedspread evenly and without wrinkles, and places each of the twenty-five fancy pillows in its very specific and–you guessed it–evenly spaced spot at the head of bed. I say head of the bed, but when they’re all placed correctly, they extend a third of the way down the length of it.

And then there’s me.

I wash my sheets. I pull them out of the dryer. It takes me two minutes to put them on the bed–although I DO know how to fold a pretty corner. Pull up the quilt, place the pillows–only eight on my bed. And I’m done. There’s no way I’m ironing sheets or pillow cases that are just going to get wrinkled as soon as they’re slept in.

My mom used to say the same thing.

But a few years ago, I caught her ironing the pillow cases. She says she likes the way they feel when they’re crisp and clean. I say, hey, that’s great, but the second night they’ll be normal again.

(And here is where my Grammie always smiles and says, “But. But, Peanut. Tell me: which bed would you rather crawl into at night?” And I say, “Yeah, well…”)

Today I’m working on an ironing heap the size of Mt. Everest. It seems I’m ALWAYS working on a huge ironing pile. People have told me I’m a bit obsessive about the pressing my clothes thing. The truth is I’m just following my good heritage.

Until I remember the sheets thing. In that case, I consider myself doomed.

You don’t want to miss this

Head on over to Seasons of Life to find out where I was ten years ago today.

It’s a BIRTH story, of all things, that you’re sure not gonna wanna miss. I’m shaking my head remembering it. Oh goodness… Cuh-RAY-zee!!

‘Tis the season to be… autumn-y?

September 22, 2008

Last night I glanced at my planner for the week and realized that, oh, wow, today would be the first day of fall. Shock.

Yeah, I’m real with it these days.

I guess that means we won’t be doing the chili and cornbread thing this year.

It seems everyone in the blogosphere is talking about fall today, and I’m just trying to figure out how on earth it can really BE fall. It seems like I just put all my cute orange and brown decorations away as I turned on Christmas music. We did JUST take down the Christmas tree… right?

Oh, that was almost ten months ago? Really? Really?

Honestly, my mental calendar is so mixed up, I keep thinking it’s spring time. I’m not joking. People are making plans for October and I think, “Planning a little early, aren’t we?” A friend suggested getting together at the park to make autumn posters with finger paints. I thought it was a great idea, but, goodness gracious, isn’t that months away?

She meant next week. Ha.

I think the deal here is that my mind basically went out the window when John left.

(But you knew that, I’m a-thinkin’.)

Now that my brain (aka, my husband, my life, my normalcy) is back in these parts and decided to take up residence in my head again, it wants to pick up right where we left off.

Which would be… last winter.

But, it’s not January. It’s the end of September. The first day of fall. Even in our coastal home, where the seasons don’t give much indication of change, there’s a crispness to the air. The boys and I plan to take a walk here in a bit, now that it’s cooler outside. And, before I have a chance to blink, I’ll be humming Jingle Bells.

Good gracious.

I guess the earth has continued to orbit, whether or not my little brain went along with it.

What about you? Do you feel ready for cool weather, early evenings, soups and chili, cornbread and dinner rolls, pumpkins and gourds? Or are you mourning the end of summer’s long days, swimming, sunscreen and free time?

I will say this much–as NOT ready for fall as I am, I am actually very happy to see summer end. I dislike summer. A lot. So, hey, that’s one good thing.

I’d better go burn some spicy scented candles and find my fall decor. I’m even getting a hankerin’ to make some… some… soup. Anything hot that goes well with cornbread. I’ll get in the fall spirit. Hopefully before Thanksgiving’s come and gone.

Well now. Hello there. I do believe a title would be appropriate.

September 19, 2008

So, I’m typing here. This is what I’m supposed to do, right? I think they call it writing a post?

Joking, joking. I didn’t forget what this is all about.

Not entirely, at least.

John went back to work on Wednesday. After an awesome thirty days filled with family time–lazy days, busy days, date nights, family snuggle time every morning, visits with friends and family, vacation in the mountains, a day at Sea World–it was time for “normal” to begin.

The only problem is that we’re not so sure we even know what “normal” is anymore. For the past year, nothing has been normal around here. Merritt was born, a week later John had surgery, a couple weeks later we went to Colorado, right after that was Christmas and within three weeks John was in Iraq. So this whole deal of being a family of four, Daddy at work, Mommy and kiddos at home, dinner on time and all that? All new to us.

But Wednesday was the day. And we were ready. Anxious, in fact, to get started with normal life.

And, as we all well know, normal to ME means–it’s time to get back on the ol’ blog. I had a post all written up in my head. Ready to go. Just needed typing. I was missing my bloggie peeps.

And then I looked at the clock and it was after 10pm.

Um, HELLO? Where did my day go???

(Here is some news that will shock you right outta your seat–to all of you emailers who said, “Um, you seem to write your posts really, REALLY late. Is that a Blogger mistake?” To which I’ve replied that, no, the times are accurate and that I had this unhealthy fear of going to bed alone every night. But guess what? I’ve actually been going to bed before the next day begins now. I know. Crazy. But true.)

So I didn’t write a post Wednesday. I added it to Thursday’s spot in my planner and told myself that I’d write that “Yes, I’m still alive!” post after breakfast with the boys and before I went to the gym in the morning. Getting up early not only makes a person go to bed ridiculously early every night, but they say it helps us get more accomplished.

Well, when the baby woke up before I’d even had time to finish my devotions, I wasn’t so sure on that getting more accomplished bit. The way I see it, it’s more like we just get to experience a little more craziness when we add hours to the day.

Thursday was one of those days I realized half way through that I’d packed way too much into one short span of time. Going out with the boys to the gym, then home for a shower and naps (which didn’t go so well. Or just… didn’t go AT ALL, to be exact), then off to the store with the boys for a big grocery trip (Troy wearing an inside-out Disneyland beanie on his head in 75 degree weather and his Cars sunglasses, Merritt with wet hair and water splashed all over the front of his shirt thanks to spilling the cat’s water dish moments before we walked out the door), then home to have dinner ready on time before heading to church to be in the nursery by 6:40pm, combined with the everyday life stuff…well, let’s just say the post didn’t get written.

And now, here we are. It’s Friday night. The clock says it’s after 10pm.

Today I spent the morning at a nearby lake with a friend and her little ones, cleaned half of the house and did the last of the zillion loads of laundry calling my name, thought for a few minutes that my two year old had disappeared (long enough to FREAK ME OUT and have me running around outside screaming his name so loud that the neighbors came out to help me–oh, the things that child has put me through already…), ran a couple errands once John came home, made a delish supper (with a recipe from my new favorite site on earth–more on that later)…

…and, yes-indeedy, wrote a blog post.

Accomplishments, I tell ya.

But you want to know the thought that hit me today?

Life is just crazy. Whether a hubby’s far away, or whether he’s right here beside me. Things just tend to border on insane more often than not around here.

And I think I kinda like it that way.