I was ready to leave Texas behind. The heat; the vast expanses of nothingness; the flatness; the lack of green… Four and a half years in a location not of my choosing was long enough. At least that’s what my brain thought.
Here’s a well-known fact within the military community: It’s easier to be the one leaving than the one staying. When you’re the one moving, your brain has to take over because there are literally hundreds of logistics to manage. When you’re the one staying behind, you watch your dear friends pack up, leave, and then you have to drive past their house that is now filled with strangers. You have events to attend without your friend. Over those four and a half years in Texas I had been the one staying and my heart took the brunt of the pain, as we said good-bye to one precious family after another. (If I tried to list the families who left holes in my heart, the blog post would exceed the appropriate number of words, and I’m sure I’d accidentally leave someone off and hurt feelings.)
So when it was time for us to move, to say goodbye to the house we brought Anna home to, the friends we were still blessed to be doing life with, I was not only willing to let my brain take over, it was a necessity. I couldn’t have functioned had I let my heart take control.
This past month I’ve been snippy with Matt. I’ve been pretty patient with the kids, but Matt has taken the brunt of my irritation. He’s been incredibly patient with me. He still does all the things he’s always done: dishes, toting kids around town, most of the laundry (if I list all that he does you’ll begin to wonder what in the world I do around here so I’ll stop here). My point is simply that he has done nothing to cause my irritation, but yet he’s had to take the brunt of it.
The Monday night before Carson broke his leg I was flipping through Facebook and saw an article about “projection.” I think the click-bait said something like, “Are you always mad at your spouse but can’t think of a good reason why? You may be projecting.” I decided to click and what I read sounded quite accurate. (Basically, there’s an underlying issue that is bothering me that I haven’t pinpointed yet so I take out my irritation on the closest thing to me… Matt.)
The next morning I sat with my Bible, journal, and pen and asked the Lord to reveal to me what was going on in my heart. A few weeks prior I had shared on Facebook that now we’re settled I’m finding more free time on my hands. This has a lot to do with my irritation… now that my brain is able to rest, my heart is speaking its mind and demanding attention.
While journaling I listed all the things that could possibly be causing me to be irritated – the fourth thing I wrote broke the floodgates.
Was I so excited to leave Texas and so excited to come to Germany that I didn’t properly grieve?
I wrote in the “birthday post” that I’ve been dreaming of my Texas-friends. Last week I had a moment where I got caught up in my memories thinking of our tailor-made co-op and for a minute I forgot I was in Germany. I had a flash-of-a-thought: “When is our next co-op date?” and it was then that my heart finally caught up to my brain… We won’t be going back to that co-op. We won’t be seeing those friends for some time. We aren’t in Texas anymore.
My heart finally told my brain that it was in pain.
I began to cry and I didn’t really stop for a few hours. I went to PWOC and made it through without making a total fool of myself but I was puffy-eyed. I had that crying-headache all day. It was pretty awesome.
That night I got to talk to Stephanie for an hour which helped tremendously and just a few minutes after we hung up Matt texted to tell me that Carson had broken his leg… and my brain had to kick back in, leaving my heart on the back burner… again.
Once Carson when into surgery, I wept. I wrote in the blog post yesterday:
With every step I started crying harder and harder. I was vaguely aware that there was a man in the corner of the darkened room but that couldn’t stop my tears. I wept. Like, for real. The flood-gate of the past eight days burst: Bailey’s broken arm; Matt’s pinched sciatic nerve that was keeping him in severe pain (yet in spite of that he had to be a solo-parent at home while I was to be in the hospital with Carson); my PCS grief had really set in and I had come to the realization of what was going on with me just that morning, and now this… the first of my kids to go under general anesthesia, intubated…. It just came flooding out. I didn’t try to stop it.
My heart… ugh. Military life is hard. We love it, don’t get me wrong. We do. But moving, even when you are leaving somewhere you don’t want to be and going somewhere you really really really want to be, is a very traumatic experience. Sometimes the trauma doesn’t hit you until you’ve been in the new place three months (to the day, actually) but it usually does hit. Eventually.
Looking back on the blog post I wrote to announce that we were moving TO Texas I can see I knew in my brain that I’d leave Texas with a heart-full…
I even have a feeling I’ll come out of there with great experiences, great friends, great memories, and referring back to this day as one of those, “If you only knew how great it was going to be you wouldn’t have had such a pity party on McLeod Street.” (January 29, 2013)
Anyway, I just thought I’d share a bit about where I am right now. What it’s like to be a mil-spouse who is exactly where she wants to be and is still struggling. My takeaway: I will never ever dread moving to a duty station ever again. I’ll never have a single duty station that I don’t want to go to. I survived the heat of Texas and left there with some of the best moments of my life having occurred there. What a gift…
And to end on a positive note (because while I am missing Texas, I have some fun things going on related to Texas). We get to have dinner tonight with some our first Texas-Friends! (Last night by the time this posts.) As I mentioned in Anna’s Birthday post, we have other Texas-friends here in Germany whom we love! And, drumroll, please…. some of our dearest Texas friends are 99% sure they are getting to come see us this summer! I’m already planning trips and things to show them! YAY!!!
Blessings from Stuttgart!