Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is this my reality?

I have been wanting to get back to the blog for some time now, but we have been just a teeny bit busy. It is so hard to justify sitting down at the computer...or just sitting down at all when there is so much work to me done!

You might be wondering in your head how much work could be done on a brand new house. Well, there is a lot. It isn't like we are having to replace carpets or tear out walls, but we have been trying so hard to make this house our HOME! David has organized the garage and built a work bench. He has converted a small closet into a computer room. He has built me shelving to house all of my fabric for my handbags. We have painted the bedrooms and I have started to paint the whole downstairs (more pictures to come!) We love it! It fits us perfectly. It is simply another confirmation that it is just where God wanted us to be. I still need to tell you the story about how we (by that I mean my mom and I) found this house and how I put a contract on it without David because he was out to sea and I KNEW that this was exactly what we had been hoping and praying for! But, I will tell you about that later.

For now, I am settling in, adjusting and defining our new reality. I feel like I have spent the last few weeks trying to make this house fit our reality. But something was not right and it just wasn't working. I mean, everything within the home was fine, it was the feelings that I couldn't settle. I have had this sense of urgency about how we accomplish things because I was so thankful that David had so much time off when we got here and I was loving having his help. I wanted to get everything done before he had to get back to work because who knows what that may bring.

But last night it dawned on me. We don't live the same reality here. For the last four and a half years we have spent so much time without David home. Between shipyard periods, workups and deployments, he was gone more often than not! It became our reality. It was just how we lived. I can't say it was always easy, but we learned to handle things! We learned that if something bad were going to happen (like the transmission going out on your van) it would happen simultaneously with the ship pulling away from the pier so that I would have to handle it without David. We learned that holidays can be celebrated on alternate days if he was going to be gone for the real one. We learned that whatever time we did have together was to never be taken for granted because it would come to an end soon! Sometimes other women (non military wives) would ask me how I did it. I was never really sure how to answer them other than to say, "I just do. I don't have a choice."

So when we moved, I carried on that feeling. I had time for David to help me with big projects, help entertain the kiddos and just to share in this experience with me. It has been wonderful. (Don't get me wrong...moving= stress=irritability...we have had our moments!) Overall, it has been great.

Yesterday, however, David went back to work. While we were at home working on projects and registering Ian for school, he was finding his new "second home." He was meeting the people that he would be working with.

He called me during his lunch break. He couldn't hide the excitement in his voice. He was having a good day. I had to laugh when he said, "I am 'ONE OF THEM!'"

You see, eight years ago this month, David and I met on the same campus that he is teaching at now. We spent hours within the confines of the building that he is now teaching in. We spent months walking the paths around the buildings, talking, laughing and falling in love. We shared our first meal in the galley that he will eat lunch in today. But back then we were new to the Navy. We were learning from the teachers in the school that had already been to sea. They had worked on real nuclear plants and they were sharing this knowledge with us. At that point we had no idea what was in store for us. We looked at them so differently then we looked at our peers.

But, now, eight years later, David is "one of them." One of the ones sharing his experiences, his knowledge and his humor with young people just starting their Navy careers. He has an opportunity to be on of the people that we most looked up to when we sat in those seats! It is fun to see things come full circle.

I feel the same way when I look around us, within our own home. Just as David's career has progressed, our lives, too, have progressed.

When David and I met here in Charleston, we were both 20 years old. It was the first time either of us had been away from our hometown. It was a new beginning. We were engaged three months after we met and we were married a short five months after that. Only 2 months after getting married, we found out we were pregnant! It was completely unexpected, but we couldn't help but be excited. We both continued on in our schooling and tried to figure out our next steps as newlyweds, as parents, as Sailors. Ultimately, we decided that it would be best for me to get out of the Navy so that we could be sure that one of us would be home with our new little baby. It was a scary step. Our paychecks were not very large to begin with, but now we were going down to half of that pay! It was crazy. But we made it. We were even able to buy our first little home a few months after Ian was born!

We transferred to VA just before Ian turned two and we were blessed with Isabelle nine months later!

I believe that our time in VA may well have been the most amazing time of growth in our lives. We learned about being a military family. I learned about being a "single mom" while David was gone so much. We learned about extreme budgeting and sacrifice. We learned about the importance of communication within our marriage, whether that may be in person or through an email. We learned what a military family is. We learned to set goals and to strive to reach them together.

We made VA our home for the time being, but we never really felt at home. It was always our stepping stone. We made lifelong friends and took away experiences that may never be matched, but we were ready to make our next step and come back to SC. Maybe it is because this is where we began our life together. I am not completely sure, but I do know that we were happy to come back.

I just wish that I could have the same opportunity that David has right now. He gets to take his experiences and knowledge and share them with those that are new to all of this. I wish that somehow I could go back and whisper in the ears of that young couple that married seven years ago and let them know that the road may not be smooth and there may be times that it seems impossible to keep your head above water. I want to give them a sense of peace and let them know that they will make it! I wish that I could give them a quick glimpse of where we are now. I want to show them what they are working so hard for.

So, here is our new reality. David is working in a building. And it isn't a floating "building" like he worked in before. This building doesn't require him to have a bed there in case the hours get too long. This building won't take him away from us from months on end. Our reality is much more like the lives of the stereotypical family life now. He will be home for dinner more often than not. He will be able to be at school programs and soccer games. He will be able to help with homework and projects. He will be able to join me in a small group at church and to be at church with me on a regular basis. I know this starts to sound like I am only talking about his reality, not ours. But the truth is that his reality defines ours in a lot of ways. We are happy to have this new reality.

While I am still realistic and I know that we will encounter our share of obstacles, I can't help but feel a sense of excitement as I look around at our new home, our new life, our new reality. We are blessed beyond measure!

5 comments:

Kim said...

Let the good times begin!! I love this post - it's so real!

Parys said...

You both are on your way too making SC your home again. Remember what I said about the way Virginia felt to Steve and I. There is a sense of coming home....you and David are strong and have such a life ahead of you.(Let the fun begin!!) Always remember that even if we have a bad day here and there, look at all the good times it took to get there! You are at the same place in your life as I was when we moved back to VA. Jump in with both feet and hang on for the ride! Miss Ya Girlfriend!!!!

thehomespunheart said...

Great post! I am excited for you in this next chapter of your life and you know - I bet God will sooner or later put someone in your life who needs that encouragement you have to offer!

bgbancroft@yahoo.com said...

I can't tell you the overpowering image I had while reading about your desire to whisper in the ears of the "young couple". What I see is Jesus whispering in our ears, trying to convey the same sense of peace and wonder. For myself, I can see that what we are working so hard for is a home "in glory"! Remember those feelings and images whenever things are tough! If God can lead you to it, He will lead you through it!

Kristen said...

The life of a Navy wife, always an emotional rollercoaster! Miss you here, but so glad you are loving it there. Sounds awesome. Your house is looking really cute!