Monday, December 12, 2011

Let the countdown begin!

(An old photo of USS Abe Lincoln)
See the funny propellor on the left side of the bridge? That's the E2-C
This morning at 7am we said our 'good byes' to Paul.  The morning was hands-down the most difficult morning I have ever had.  It is one thing for a husband and wife to say good bye and it is an entirely different thing for a dad and kids to say good bye.  The emotions for Paul and I were definitely running high; there was sadness and there was overwhelming love.  The kids handled it well since they didn't really understand what our good byes were for.  Matthew and Grace knew Mommy and Daddy were feeling sad, but Matthew just tried to be goofy (the people pleaser) and Grace was just quiet (the non-emotional one).  Sam just played football.  I'm sure in the next few weeks, particularly after Christmas, they will realize that Paul isn't home yet and perhaps that is when they will begin to understand what "deployment" means.

While we got ready for school, I vascilated between weepy and okay.  Grace's teacher gave me a hug and I turned to a pile of mush.  I got to the gym and forced myself to run a mile and started to feel a lot better.  Luckily today was a training day with Steph and she had planned a heavy workout.  For one hour I focused on making my body do what Steph told me I had to do.  There is such relief in spending time with my brain turned off and pushing my little muscles to do more than they want to do.  By the end of the hour, I felt pretty wiped out with not much more energy to give to weepiness.  But then, I talked to my mom, and then there were a few more tears.  Eventually, the kids were home from school, lunch had been eaten, Sam was down for a nap, and I could take a nice long shower.  I took a short nap  and woke up feeling like a million bucks.

Monday nights are Small Group nights, so fortunately I had a babysitter lined up and was able to take a few hours with some wonderful friends from church.  When you can't be with your hubby, it is pretty darn good to be with good friends.  We even blew off doing the Bible study and played board games!  When you can't be with your hubby, it is really darn good to be with good friends and board games! I tucked the kids into bed when I came home, emailed a "good night" to Paul (who did indeed make it safely onboard earlier today) and now have an hour or so to relax. Not a bad ending to a not-so-happy day.

I am feeling relatively confident in our family's ability to make it through this deployment with a minimal amount of tears and stress and frustration.  (Knock on wood.) Paul and I have done quite a bit of prep work in getting ourselves "set up for success" and our expectations managed.

Our Deployment Survival Kit:
X Arm pillow for Betsy (picture will be posted on Friday)
X Build-a-Bears with Daddy's voice message for each kiddo (thanks for the idea, Ash!)
X A t-shirt of Paul's for each kid to snuggle with at night
X Jar o'Kisses from Daddy for each kid each night
X Pictures of all of each of us with Paul (for us and for him)
X Digital photo frame loaded with photos for Paul
X Envelopes/paper and color-coded stickers so the kids will see the sticker and know it's a card from Daddy for them.
X Lots of videos of Daddy reading nighttime books to the kids
X New camera for Mommy to take video of kids for Daddy (Merry Christmas, me!)

Deployment Expectations:
We will email every day assuming the email is up and running on the ship.
We will Skype when Paul is in port.
We will get a handwritten note from Paul (hopefully once a month - Paul, are you reading this?!) hee hee.
We will send mail to Paul every week... hopefully the aircraft carrier made a weight allowance for lots of finger-paintings and such from the Meyer kids.

....only 142 days left!


  1. One thing I did to make mailing things easier was that I kept about 10 cards in a drawer in my kitchen. That way I could pull one out whenever I or the kids wanted to and do it right then. Because of this, I think Johnny got a ton of mail. Plus, I love picking out cards so it was fun for me to do it at Target or whenever - picking 10 or more cards at a time :). Because of my overload of greeting cards John got one card per day the last week that mail was going out to the ship. It was like a "grand finale" and he LOVED it. :)
    Another trick I learned - there is a boxed wine that is really good called "Black Box Wine". Costco sells it. The red is better (I think it is a cab). But it lasts about 4 weeks so you can drink a glass here or there and not worry about it going bad (I can't tell you how many bottles of wine I threw away half full because I never finished it).

  2. Thanks for the tips, Jill! I was so planning a trip to Costco, but alas, Sam had other plans which included having a fit. Which is awesome, of course. So I picked up some of the mini-bottles of wine (I forget what they're called), but they were inspired by your box o wine!