The Morning is Awake – Part 1

I love how Parker wakes up in the morning.  He calls out, “Mooommm!!  The morning is awake!”

That is not at all how I wake up.  I am not a natural morning person and the very reason I wake up so early is so that by the time I have to be around people, I’m fully awake and pleasant.  The past couple months, however, I have been tired and grumpy for a large part of every day.  I can’t seem to get enough sleep, no matter what time I get to bed.  (Or how late I sleep.)

Sometimes we go through times in our lives where we feel dark and gloomy.  I’m sort of in one of those times right now.  It’s hard to admit this publicly, and I know I don’t have to, but for the sake of transparency, I will.  I have spent the past few months enjoying the routine of our lives, settling back into the US, land of free refills and ice in drinks everywhere.  I love being back in the land of the free and home of the brave.

But something is just not right in my heart… my soul.  Something.

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I shared all of this with Matt, including some of the “symptoms” I had been noticing: tiredness, grumpiness, irritability, lack of joy in writing/photography.  He said what I had thought, that it sounds like depression.

We talked through many of the situations surrounding me right now and pin-pointed a few things that could be causing this.

Moving overseas is the biggest and most obvious: we just left the place where we brought Parker home to; I am homesick for that house.  I close my eyes and see everything in its place, even the messy rooms where things were often out of place. I miss having my upstairs neighbor close by for a quick chat whenever I needed her.  I miss her kiddos and this is all the more real as Parker is wearing some of her youngest son’s hand-me-downs.   I miss each of my sons having their own room.  I miss my front balcony which was wonderful for coffee chats.  I miss the huge kitchen where everything fit in its own space (no garage-storage necessary).  I miss that house.  I miss it.  It was our home.  I cry often over that house.

I miss the friends we made there.  I miss the closeness of the relationships I had there… the fact that I had a standing weekly Tuesday coffee date with Aimee that I looked forward to as much as any other activity in my calendar.  I miss that I didn’t have to invite friends over, but they knew they were welcome.  I miss having friends who knew my good side and my bad side.  Friends who would hold me accountable in my spiritual walk and my physical walk, encouraging me along my “Made to Crave” journey.  I miss our girls’ nights even though there was only one place open late enough to house our chit-chat… the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center.

I miss Aimee stopping by my house at least once a week to borrow my refrigerator and freezer while she ran other errands around town.  I miss the view from her living-room window that made me melt and the miles between our houses every bit worth traveling.  I miss my baby having a best friend to beat around with (or beat up, depending on the day).

I miss my boys’ very close homeschool group, people they had exercised and learned with for three years.  I miss the other moms in the group who were uplifting and encouraging in this choice of a career:  mom/teacher/housekeeper/everything-the-kids-need-provider.

Thinking back to when we moved overseas to Germany, I’ve tried to remember if my homesickness for Colorado was as strong in late 2009/early 2010 as it is now for Germany.  Matt made a good point… when we moved there, I was expecting Parker and he gave me plenty to keep my mind focused on.  I’m sure I did miss Colorado dreadfully, but I had a new life of my own to care for and new adventures to explore in Europe.  Going from Germany back to the states has been much more painful than I expected.  I knew it’d be hard to leave.  I knew I’d miss that kitchen.  It. was. huge.  But I didn’t realize I’d find myself still grieving to this degree in April.  I thoroughly expected to be grieving like this in January, when my heart realized what my mind knew… that our travels over the ocean were not a visit for Christmas; they were not to be followed by a return trip… a trip back “home.”  A trip back to my friends.  To my house.  To my adventure-filled life in Europe….

— — — — — — — — — — — —

…stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of “The Morning is Awake.”  I promise… the story eventually ends on a happier note than Part 1.

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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14 Responses to The Morning is Awake – Part 1

  1. Rebecca A says:

    I had the same problem. It takes me about 6 months to adjust. Germany was so amazing it was hard to leave. I had my kids there, I “grew up” there. I had fantastic friends. I cherish those friendships and now am making new ones. I just hit the 6 month mark here at our new home (second after Germany) and I feel so much better. I hope you do as well!

    • Jennifer says:

      Rebecca, I appreciate you sharing your story. Be watching for Part 3 on Wednesday. I’m putting out a poll for those like you and me to answer some basic questions on this experience.

      I’m glad to read that you’re feeling better. I can see healing is starting in my heart already… slowly but surely.
      ~jen

  2. Yes, even a 70 year old Grandma like me can relate to this. After living in Nurnberg for 3 years, I missed it. But here’s the deal with military life — you can never go back. When we walked through the community we lived in 10 years later everything was gone. Empty houses everywhere. Our friends and memories moved on.

    We are going through depression right now. We put down our 13 year old Golden. He will be our last. Yesterday we buried his toys and collar, along with his ashes. We both have been crying off and on for over a week. We know we are grieving and we’ve given ourselves permission to “pull off the side of the road” for a short cry. We also know we are healing as we go through this.

    It sounds like you are grieving too. This too shall pass. Give yourself permission to pull over to the side of the road. Memories and tears are God’s gift at times like this.

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi, new friend! I’d love to know your name! You have been such an encouragement. Let me just tell you one of hardest lessons that you just taught me, one that I needed to hear, even if it was not pleasant: you can never go back. When we walked through the community we lived in 10 years later everything was gone. Empty houses everywhere. Our friends and memories moved on. I so needed to hear that. And honestly, I know it. Of the three close friends with whom I did life with, one has already moved to England, one will be leaving Germany next Summer, and the other one is possibly leaving in June. Even if I had stayed, things were changing anyway. Best advice is to treasure the moments while we’re in them and treasure the memories as precious gifts once the time has passed.

      I am so sorry you have just said goodbye to your dog. We aren’t animal people but have watched our dear friends love their pets and say goodbye to them. Oh, I can’t even imagine the grief. But I’m thankful you are taking the time to process and grieve.

      Looking forward to knowing your name. 🙂
      ~Jennifer

  3. Jennifer says:

    I grew up in Wiesbaden, I was born in Wiesbaden…German mom and AF Dad. We were there when Lindsey Air Base was still open. Then we moved to Mainz…fast forward I was in high school and college in AZ where I met my husband. He was born and raised in Germany too, German mom and AF dad also. My husband serves in the army. We have been to Hanau, it is now closed. We have been to Stuttgart (still active and open) and we move to Poland next year. It is the sense of community you get living overseas. You don’t have a year to get to know someone. Stateside you might not even meet all your neighbors. You have a true sense of community where friends are your family. We miss is so much too. On the other hand we are living in CO and doing everything there is to do. CO is truly God’s country. I love hiking and photography and I know this is where I am to be for the time being until we move next year. Traveling is amazing but it is the people that make the experience for the most part. We can go back to the same area to live and it won’t be quite the same. Friends have moved on. I always feel changed at the end of each and every trip. I always feel like I learn and grow from traveling. I find it is usually the people
    that make the experience for me. I can do the very same trip but it wouldn’t be the same.
    Meeting people, learning to not only appreciate a different culture, but to really enjoy it like a local, following whatever impulses strike me. With the right mindset, it will be something to remember forever. My husband was the last graduating class of Nurnberg before it closed and Munich also. Our experiences help shape us and provide lovely memories. I love capturing our memories behind the lens.

    • Jennifer says:

      What a fun story! What an adventure-filled life! I loved Colorado with a passion, as well, and hope to get back there someday. We definitely left parts of us there when we moved from that gorgeous place. Thanks for your words of encouragement. You’re so right… we can go back but it won’t be the same. I’m finding that to be true of the civilian life we had before… we can go back but not in the same exact circumstances. I hope to “see” you around here again, Jennifer!
      ~Jennifer

    • Beth T says:

      This person hit the nail on the head for me. It’s the sense of community that I miss so much! As well as the joy-full adventure of living in Europe. ( It wasn’t every minute, but you get the drift!) I loved the new sight and sounds and scenes that seemed right off a post card. And deeply I miss the “insta-friends”, because everyone has been “new” and so most people welcome new friends.

  4. Although I can’t relate really to the homesickness you are feeling, I can relate to going through a season of depression…and it is hard to walk through no matter what the reasons. I am glad that you have friends, even friends you don’t know the name of (LOL), who have been where you are and can encourage you with their experiences that are so similar to yours. I can pray for the Lord to mend your broken heart, and to bring into your life His joy full and new and overflowing again. I believe fully in sharing things like this because when it is just in your own head and heart, it is harder to deal with than when you have friends praying for you and helping to bear your burden to the Lord in prayer. I love you, my friend.

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh, Pammy. How I love your sweet spirit and your caring heart. You are absolutely right that depression is depression regardless of the cause. It is hard to walk through but I’m so thankful I have understanding loved ones in place to pray for me and encourage me through it. My heart is mending. It’s still numb in places, still really tender in other places, but healing is occurring. I love you.
      ~Jen

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  8. Although I can’t relate to Europe,YET, (Dream of going)
    I can relate to the change.. I often think of CO and all of the friendships and memories made. At this present time there are only a handful of people still there. (not military)
    We had a wonderful time and God blessed! Now, leaving Fort Benning will be the same. We leave in June. While at Fort Benning, God has also brought AMAZING growth in our home, marriage, and friendships. It will be hard to leave the ones we have grown to Love. I have also felt the dark, grumpy, gloomy, and it was confusing and hard. I was like I am a Christian!! I am not supposed to feel this way. I am supposed to choose to be joyful! It was such a struggle. My hardest one yet as a Christian. It hurt mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am on the upside of those days, Praise God. Those were the hardest days of my life. I too am doing the Crave God. I HAVE to get this weight off for GOOD!
    I am going to read the rest of the stories now!
    Praying for you, Please pray for me, and thanks for being transparent!
    Love
    Michelle

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