Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When You Just Can't Stop Laughing

Because you might just keep crying! My dear children, various other family members, and possibly a few strangers, all think I've lost it. I was visiting the very charming and not all that inappropriate city of Amsterdam last week with my children, my brother-in-law and his new bride. I was honored to host them on their honeymoon to Europe and decided to take one day to travel with them. I love to travel so it was a good opportunity for me because I had help with my monkeys; seeing as how I am completely out numbered now.

Amsterdam is only a three hour car or train ride away from my home, here in little ol' Belgium. We opted for the train because city driving is not my thing. And I reserved us two rooms in a little hotel in the quiet canal district. One bag packed. No, really, only one bag. Camera and batteries. Children's blankies. Snacks. All set. Except for the dog! Which I somehow forgot I had until the day before we were leaving. Really? Quick save - a call to the vet for updated shots, a frantic rush to the military base kennel and I was just lucky enough to wrap up that problem in time for our early ride the next morning. To Amsterdam, a beautiful city just hours from us that somehow I've managed to miss until now.

And yet still I feel like I've missed the whole thing. You see the thing is, with Daddy gone the boys just don't seem to want to behave like themselves. And though I had help, and the weather was good, and I promised spoils of goodness to those who behave, and I gave lectures on gratitude, and punishments were handed out, and ALL that needed to be in place for little boys to behave was certainly thought of and put forth in great effort...Yet somehow we found little success with good behavior for the majority of our trip to the beautiful city of Amsterdam; so close and yet so very far from our home.

So, there I was laughing so hard I was crying in the middle of lunch at a very "local" pub. Finley in my lap, restless and not allowing me a lunch break; Taylor glumly coming along for the ride and being the ultimate "parent" to his brother; and dear Gavin, who could not remember to remember anything, and who was also playing in (yes IN) his soda! And here I am laughing as I write this right now, remembering how ridiculous I felt that I couldn't inspire my own children to just be good. So, I just burst out in a fit of laughter, with tears running down my cheeks. And the harder I laughed, the harder I laughed. Vicious cycle. And wouldn't you know, it all seemed to work out ok after that. As long as I put it in perspective; Beautiful, charming oh-so-close Amsterdam will be there another day, but I only have this moment with my little boys once. And the little moments are what count...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

15 Minutes Wasted

Taylor was complaining that he wasted 15 minutes on something unnecessary yesterday and then proceeded to waste the next half hour upset about it!? It was one of those moments when I realized that life is way to short to spend our time worrying and complaining.

Download the song “Make it Mine” by Jason Mraz. (Hell, download all his music, it’s all great.) Listen to it and maybe you will see where I get my new mantra. How am I getting by here in Belgium, with David deployed, away from family member’s who need me, with a baby who has a kidney defect, a cat that puts holes in my curtains, boys who won’t remember to turn the lights out, packages that won’t come, shoulder’s and wrists that ache all day, lawn un-mowed, ideas for art never coming to fruition, friends that come and go, “time wasted”? YET opportunity is right around the corner, so I will “make it mine.” I will own it. Because I choose this life: I married a military man so I must move and adjust and make new friends, but I am thankful he can support us well with his job in a time of global economic crisis. I choose this damn big house, and to get two animals, so I will clean it and be thankful that I have the space for my children to skate up and down the halls. I have a house full of monkeys, and I am grateful for every moment. Every moment that passes faster than I can hold on to. So, if I don’t get to the art studio, or read a book, or ever have another pedicure; I’ve at least been there for that moment in time.

About my complaining. I’ve written a bit since last spring, but a lot has changed. Though my daily struggles are a continual effort to overcome, I have also come to peace with my life right here and now. Everyday has been a challenge with David's departure, and every single morning I wake and face the day with the knowledge that it can all go right and I will try again....Because I refuse to look back on any moment of this great life I live and have a bad memory. Because I will not ruin these precious moments raising my three boys with a bad attitude. Because I will NOT unlearn every lesson I have learned. Because I will not let opportunity pass me by. Because I choose my destiny. Because "Everything is fine, not final." Because I want to be at peace, so I will be at peace. And that is why I am sorry for ever having complained in the first place, though I know it is human nature, I believe my life is better now without it. And I hope to pass this on to you, in love, not war. I hope you are not sad, worried or angry today; that instead you find your bliss. And wake up tomorrow and find it again!

Friday, October 3, 2008

See You Later, Not Goodbye

In the world we live in, I live in, we all have to take our turn. This is my husband's second deployment. It wasn't in our plan, because he is a government employee, not a soldier. Usually. But September Eleventh changed a lot of things for many people and now, with honor, he serves right alongside all the other soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Many we know have gone: friends, colleagues, even my brother Ben went with the first push through in Iraq. So, when our number is called, we respect those who have gone and take our turn proudly; all worries, hesitations, politics, conflicts, disagreements, and fears must be put aside. It's not easy, but we are not alone.

I miss him already. I miss him most when I see my boys missing him. I miss him more now than before. I miss him because we have built a great life together with our children and have had so much fun in the last couple years just being together. But I am infinitely proud of him; heading up this team and going down to a part of this world that needs resolution. And I will be at peace within myself knowing that if his work saves just one life, then the months of being apart is sacrifice enough. So I say see you later, not goodbye, because this is just a little thing in the grand master plan of life...