Positive Daily Three – Day 2

There are those days where we encounter some valleys before we can rise up onto a mountain peak.  Today was one of those days for me.  Tuesdays are our busiest day of the week.  My eldest daughter has a club meeting, so I pick my son up from school, drive over to pick her up from school, and then we have about 30 – 45 minutes before we all have to pile back into the car to go to karate.  It is all worth the effort, but towards the end of the day, I can feel the exhaustion creeping into my bones, and sometimes I just lose it a little.  As we were driving to karate and home from karate, I yelled a couple of times.  The noise got to me.  I felt like Dr. Seuss’ Grinch.  “All the noise, noise, noise, noise!”  I requested, not so graciously, that everyone be quiet because I had a headache and I wanted to hear just one complete song without someone talking to me or making noise.  After my outburst, I saw that I clearly overreacted and fell right back into a positive attitude and apologized, but that was my valley today.  The plus side is that I found my footing again and ended the day at the top of a peak.

I started a new workout routine today, which I have been anxious to get back to.  My goal was to run at least two miles, and I did accomplish that, while getting my youngest daughter some nice, fresh air.  I was very happy to achieve this goal today.

My son did not throw a single temper tantrum today.  This is a mild celebration for myself.  I have been slowly reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, which has been assisting me in opening my eyes to how to handle situations with my husband and children in a more effective way.  I haven’t gotten very far in the book, but a reference to an empty love tank has greatly changed the way in which I approach situations with my son.  I am beginning to find ways to help him fill his “love tank”, which in turn has lead to him acting out less.  My better understanding has helped both of us and is really assisting in turning our relationship in a very positive direction.

The greatest positive of the day was that all of my children were able to have a video call with my husband this evening.  I have been able to talk to him, but his calls have been either during nap time or after the younger children are asleep and my eldest daughter is at her weekly evening meetings, so they have not really seen or talked to him for a couple of days.  It made my heart smile to see all of them so excited to be talking to Daddy.

Today was definitely not perfect, but when we stumble into valleys, no matter how deep or wide, the comfort of knowing that there is only one way to go gives me the stamina to push forward and redirect my energy.

 

My Daily Three – Day 1

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!

 

Finding Blue in a Gray Sky

Life is a series of moments we string together that produce memories of experiences.  The most important thing is to create experiences that will be positive, especially during times when children experience disruption, change of routine or complete removal from what they understand to be their normal life.

My husband is an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Technician for the US Air Force, and with that comes deployments and TDY (Temporary Duty) Assignments.  We were extremely fortunate because the first four years of our marriage and first three years of my son’s life, my husband was assigned to the EOD Naval Training School as an instructor.  This made his deployment unlikely, and he actually never received orders to deploy while we were in Florida.  I knew the day would arrive, however, when that would end, but I knew when I married him that his deployments and TDYs would become a natural part of my life and our family’s life.

In September 2014, we left the only home my 3 year old son and 3 month old daughter had known and moved to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Mid-January 2015, my husband deployed to Kuwait for six months.  The hardest part of him leaving was watching him say goodbye to the kids.  It tore me up inside because I could see how much he was going to miss holding them.  I was definitely going to miss him, and I have to admit that I was anxious and scared because this would be my first time alone with both children for that length of time in a town that was fairly new to me.  Modern, non-wartime deployments do make it much easier to survive these times, but they are still difficult.

With the modern conveniences of wi-fi, we were able to connect with my husband almost every day on Google Hangouts.  He could see the changes in the kids daily, and was able to spend some time with them every day.  We could also message each other whenever we needed to.  Though this is nothing compared to having a person with you, it definitely makes the time away from him slightly easier.

Las Vegas1With my husband gone, I decided that I wanted to do my best to make the time pass quickly and keep my children engaged, doing positive things, during this time of disruption in their lives.  It was especially difficult for my son because he had never experienced Daddy being gone for longer than a few days.  His potty accidents increased and he regressed slightly with feeding himself and staying in his own bed the whole night.  These were things that I accepted and helped him through.  In time, we got into a routine with storytimes at the library and the museums in our area.  I made friends with one of the moms from storytime, and was thankful that I had an adult to communicate with almost daily.  It helped too that our sons played well together and enjoyed being with one another.  Finding other moms to spend time with definitely helped me stay sane.  I wanted something more to keep my children and I from dwelling on the fact that we were missing Daddy.

UtahOne of my friends from Florida came out to Park City and invited us up for however long we wanted to stay.  At first, I was overwhelmed with the thought of traveling with two small children by myself, but I decided there was not a reason in the world that it was not possible.  After a successful, fun and memorable trip, I decided that even though I was exhausted and it was not easy to pack up both kids and travel, it was worth every drip of sweat.  I made the decision that for every month that my husband was gone, we would travel somewhere and make it a fun adventure.  This kept my son excited and passed the time by faster because it gave us something to look forward to.  Not only that, but I was able to show my son and daughter the tallest trees in the world, the mighty redwoods, and the Golden Gate Bridge.  We went to Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.  We spent time with family and they became excellent car travelers.

CaliforniaWe traveled to San Diego a couple of times to visit my parents, siblings and Grandmother, went one more time to Park City for a mini reunion of a few friends from Florida, and traveled to San Francisco to visit my uncles and aunts.  They were fun trips that helped us cope with my husband being gone.  We also explored the city we lived in.  We visited state parks, museums and National Parks.  I tried to make sure we did something fun nearly every day.  This helped my son’s stress level decrease, and he got back on track.  We learned a great deal about Las Vegas that we didn’t know.  I showed them the Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon, and the Colorado River.  In July, we picked up my oldest daughter and went to Zion National Park for the day.  Then it was only a couple of weeks before Daddy got back.

Las Vegas2Looking back, I do remember being tired, but I treasure the expressions my son and daughters had when we explored new places, visited with family and friends, and learned new things about the world.  Anytime there is a change in the household that throws the ‘norm’ of your child(ren)’s world off kilter, try doing something new.  It doesn’t have to be a long trip, just something to bring discovery, wonder, and happiness back to the forefront.  It can be something as simple as a new community park that they haven’t been to.  This worked wonders for my family.  We still missed my husband terribly, and not every day was anywhere near perfect, but we took the time we were dealt to be torn apart and made an adventure of it.  Every family has to endure trying times, and during those times, as parents, we need to be there for our children and help them find the good and the positive side of things no matter how difficult it may be.  Everything we did would have been much more enjoyable with Daddy by our sides, but now we can be his tour guide when we take him to all the wonderful places we have been.

Every day we are given is a gift.  Find the blue sky in every day, no matter how gray it may be.  A positive attitude is the best way to live life, and giving your children that positive start, even when things might be tough, will give them the ability to face any situation knowing that nothing is impossible and there is good to be found in every situation.