She was crying in the backseat, probably hungry again, most definitely not aware that I was crying too. He knew, but was being tough. I thought it would have been better if we were all crying, but I didn’t get my way.
“You’ll do great, you’ll do great,” my husband repeated.
I hated it when he used the word “great” to describe how the kids (ages 4, 2, and 1 month) and I would deal with his very sudden deployment to the Horn of Africa. He had already left, mentally, 2 weeks ago when we’d gotten notice of the orders. I’d lost him already to his duty.
So, there we were on the curb at the airport. He grabbed his bags, I tried to smile. It hurt. I tried to kiss him. I couldn’t. His lips touched my forehead, and then he was gone. I climbed into the driver’s seat and reluctantly gripped the steering wheel, each finger making a careful imprint on the leather as I figuratively held on for dear life.
I managed to drive a half mile before pulling over again. Holly wouldn’t stop crying. I was glad. I wanted to stop and have a good cry myself. Glancing in the rear-view mirror I took sorry note of my bloodshot eyes, puffy face, and scabbed-up lips. They were more than scabby- the entire space between my upper lip and nostrils was covered in cold sores. Only 4 weeks prior I had given birth to little Holly, our 3rd child, and whilst under the influence of the lovely epidural I had torn my groin tendons to pieces. This caused me some real trouble with walking, sitting, sleeping… moving at my legs at all. I slept on the reclining end of our couch, because once prone in a bed, I was unable to get back up without the horrendous feeling of my legs being torn from my body and my abdominal mass falling off the bones. It really hurt.
In the meantime, mastitis set in. I felt like death. Aaaand… then my husband left for the weekend to serve out his monthly Navy Reserve Duty. He came back with bad news. Within two weeks he needed to report for a 12 month deployment.
We decided to relocate across the country to be near family. The move was a nightmare. We had wonderful, angelic helpers, but my body was a pile of waste. When we landed at the Salt Lake Airport, I found that the hard, dirty floor in the baggage claim area was my only friend. I laid down there, closed one eye, and waited for our bags. It hurt.
The next day the cold sores arrived. Two days later, I was back at the airport crying to myself in the rear-view mirror and nursing my little lady.
“You’ll do great. I love you. I’ll call you. Bye.” That was that. It replayed in my mind.
I drove to my in-law’s house where Sam and Logan were likely watching a silly movie and eating their favorite foods with Grandma and Grandpa. They were unsuspecting of this new reality.
The drive was surreal: I moved forward, logged mileage, but was stuck in my mind. I was “In the Thick of It.”
That is the phrase that came to mind at the time and that is the phrase that I will always summon when I think about young mothers with 2-5 very young children who are struggling to find success in their days. It was a very difficult year for me. But what I remember most is the strength I felt growing inside me with each passing day. It was a literal, physical feeling that I knew was a result of internal emotional and spiritual growth. My prayers were meek and sincere and real. I prayed for good sleep. And patience.
Today, 5 years and many experiences later, I look back on that year as a great accomplishment. I survived! I… did great.
Today I have 4 kids,ages 10, 8, 6, and 2 and am in a different ‘Thick of It’. I am a homemaker. Most of the messes I find myself in today are products of my own making. I have big plans and great intentions with my days, but struggle to execute and rarely act efficiently. Somehow this is all still fun for me! The kids are loud and fast and beautiful.
They are so very, very beautiful. And loud.
My name is Angie. I am in the Thick of It. This is my blog.
I’m Homemaking One Mess at a Time.
(Your job today is to “like” the new Angie in the Thick of It page on Facebook and tell your buddies to do the same. Come back on Wednesday to see the new blog design and be magically transferred to the new web address: AngieintheThickofIt.com!!! This assumes that all will go well with transferring the blog over and that the internet doesn’t kill my blog and stab my beating heart in the meantime…. You might consider sending me something delicious to eat and/or drink. This whole blog move is wearing me out. I need your love and encouragement. You are my friend.)