As military families, we all know way too well that not only does an active duty member serve the country, the whole family does. While the active duty member is away, the spouse assumes the role of both parents, and the children are challenged to step up into more mature roles to help out with the household while the active duty parent is away. The deployment or remote tour, unexpected TDYs, training opportunities and range clearances, or other special duty assignments are countless. Stepping in and out of the role of single parent can be strenuous. Most times, we, as spouses, don’t even think twice about it. The longer absences, though, can take a toll. In the long run, the active duty member, spouse and children come out stronger, changed and molded into even better people. The journey to get to this wonderful end result, though, can be rough and loaded with negativity at times. The hardest part of these long family separations is navigating through the obstacles and finding our way through the darkness that can build up due to the absence of our loved one(s).
My husband is currently serving his remote assignment in Adana, Turkey for 12 months, unaccompanied. Before he left, he challenged me to find three positive things that happen in each day and write them down and share them with someone. He said it is easy for conversations to turn negative because it is in our nature to be drawn to negativity. The challenge is to try to focus more on the positive things that are happening around us, rather than only seeing the negative things. In doing this, our energy is uplifted and we are given an extra bounce in our gait. Doing this simple task every day will lead to the inevitable evolution of seeking out the positive as a daily habit, rather than a task. I could have used the sadness of him leaving coupled with the bitterness of the fact that I would be solo in raising 3 children, aged 2, 5 and 14, on my own for a year to begin this challenge with dripping sarcasm, but I decided this would actually be an awesome thing to do. I proudly looked him in the eye and said, “Challenge accepted!” with the same enthusiasm Barney Stinson (“How I Met Your Mother”) always used. I have decided to share my three positive things on my blog and with my husband when we video chat. I challenge anyone reading this to do the same and share your 3 positive things either through comments, or on my Facebook Page.
Today was my first day as Mommy and Daddy with school routines. On Sunday, I spent the day preparing meals for the week, and trying to get some cleaning in, while playing here and there with the kids. Sunday is our chill at home day so that all the prep for the week can be done. This prep day helped today go off pretty smoothly. I got my oldest daughter to school on time, both of my younger ones finished most of their breakfast by the time we got back from dropping her off, and my son arrived to school on time without any problems. I made it to the local library story time with my youngest and she enjoyed it. Morning routine was a total success!
My master bathroom toilet has had a small leak, so I contacted our property management team late last night and a plumber contacted me just as I was getting my youngest down for a nap today. Toilet leak fixed! Annoying water running sound removed! Though my youngest only napped for about an hour, she still napped, which is a plus! While she napped, I was able to finish cleaning the kitchen. This lifted a stress off of me and made me feel a whole lot better.
I picked my son up from school and we started going over his homework. Sometimes getting my son to do his homework can be the most frustrating part of the day for me, but today I was left in awe. We try to get ahead in his homework because he has karate 2 nights a week and on these nights, he really doesn’t have time for homework. Today, we finished his Reading and Writing homework and he said he wanted to do all of his math homework, too. I couldn’t believe it! He is in kindergarten, so there is not a lot of homework each night, but this almost felt like a miracle to me. He finished all of his homework for the week, so another stress has been removed from my shoulders for the rest of this week.
In conclusion, not every single part of the day was perfect, and sure, there were some negative points, but I feel invigorated after writing this post. I know that some days will be more difficult than others, but I am already starting to feel how looking at my day from a positive perspective is changing my attitude. I look forward to reading about the 3 positive things that happened in your day!