Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The climb

In the summer of 2005 I climbed a mountain, not too far out of Colorado Springs. I will still acknowledge to this day that climbing to the top of the nearly 15,000 foot mountain top was by far one of the hardest physical things I have ever done in my life.

The rocky terrain made the footwork so complicated. The Rocky mountains aren't big boulders to climb around; they are more like little pebbles. With each step forward, I'd end up sliding back gaining only mere inches at times. The altitude was killing my lungs. I was winded and exhausted even though my body could keep going. It was so aggravating. But I made it.

This week marks the two month mark that Derek has been gone. Instead of being my hardest physical challenge like the mountain, it is by far the toughest mental and emotional battles I've endured. I am continually climbing and unfortunately, I haven't even made it past the tree line yet with six months still left to go.

The intention of this post is not induce pity or to complain, but simply just to describe the journey. To document for me what it was like in this moment.

I can say that in both situations, even though it was a tough challenge, it is far from the worst thing that has ever happened to me. While climbing the mountain in 2005, I was able to enjoy the company of new friends. I hadn't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with this group of people that summer, so it was very fun to have this experience in particular to share with them. Similarly, I have had unique opportunities present themselves in this time in which I have been able to have lots of fun and even meet new people.

Unlike the when I climbed the mountain, I have an entire community of people who are carrying me along this time around. I have people I can call in a pinch. I have people that continually offer support. I have people literally calling me with offers to come help.

I am so deeply blessed. But these blessings lead to one of the biggest internal struggles I face-- the constant need of needing help. I have always prided myself on being a strong, independent, capable woman and though I never thought I could do this on my own, I never thought I'd need so much help. It is humbling, it is frustrating. The shower breaks. Something in the basement is leaking. I need chemicals spread on my lawn but can't do it because I'm pregnant. Mold. The garbage disposal again. At times, I feel lazy and spoiled, yet others I feel utterly helpless. It really is a mental obstacle that I have to chose to overcome and to simply get over it.

Not surprisingly, the hardest part really is living my life without Derek. I can honestly say that I never realized how much I truly need him each and every day. But really, I just miss him. I hate being the only one to watch Jackson grow up and pick a favorite color only to turn around to try to relay the experience with a pen and paper so Derek can read about it in five days. The 15 minute weekly phone calls are a privilege, I know that. But after the "do you need stamps?" and "have you checked the bills" conversations, there isn't a lot of time to just talk with my husband. I can't just call him up during the day to ask a quick question, I can't decompress from a stressful day to have him tell me to just let it go, and I don't get to share my many opinions about what's happening in the world. I miss my best friend.

I feel that I am constantly tired. Not even in a sense that I didn't get enough sleep. But in a way that I am always "on."
Monday night the trash goes out. Tuesday, bring the trash container back to the house. The electric bill comes out of the account on the 5th, student loans on the 13th. Why won't the garage door stay down? I have a doctors appointment, have I lined up someone to watch Jackson? Wait, it's quiet... where is Jackson? 
When I take anywhere (even at home, but that's easier) I am the one who is responsible for him at any given moment. Jackson is a very, very busy little guy and even to keep mental track of what he is up to is exhausting. There's no tag-teaming at entertaining the kid or taking turns acting as the human jungle gym. When Jackson wakes up in the middle of the night (which is A LOT) I am the one who needs to be there for him. Even the little decisions about keeping him fed, jacket or no jacket, or planning the days events... they jus add up. Sometimes, I just long for a day of not having to decide anything at all! A day without scheduling "the next step" or "the next seven steps" is probably more like it, because with every minor adjustment to the schedule results in changes for the rest of the day.

It's not like I don't have help. Far from it. Last week, Jackson spent the night a total of four nights at my mom's house. Aside from the feeling that I am too lazy or incapable of taking care of my son, it was nice to sleep through the night and it was a needed break. But truth be told, I needed that time. I had grad school work to catch up on, teenage birthday parties to host, and a myriad of unexpected events to sort through. As much as I would have enjoyed lounging around catching up on season one of Glee so I could watch the season premier tonight, that just didn't happen.

So, it's not that I haven't don't have the help that I need with Jackson. I just want my parter back so we can do it together. I don't like that my "breaks" require Jackson to be gone. I want to be able to "turn off" for a few moments here and there, but still have my favorite little guy still here. The chance to play with and enjoy Jackson while someone else can attend to his needs or the discipline. But that's just a part of single parenthood. But unlike single parenthood, I can anticipate a day when Derek will return.

My life is absolutely wonderful. I love being a Mommy and I am having a blast with Julie. It's possible that I just have too many things going on, but I can't have it any other way. If I wasn't occupied at nearly every moment of the day, I think I'd just have more time to dwell in self-pity and I refuse. I consider myself lucky that this is truly my hardest obstacle and unlike so many with husbands on active duty, mine is still stateside, which offers a peace knowing he's not off at war.

Time has gone by so fast that I can't believe that I get to see Derek in two weeks!! I am beyond giddy. Just thinking about the visit is enough to lift my spirits and knowing that after his graduation from basic training, he will quickly earn phone privileges every day and eventually a computer.

Upon completing the climb up and back down again of the mountain in 2005 I vowed never to do it again. I accomplished it once and that was good. After Derek gets home, I have my hopes that I never have to climb this mountain again, but this time it's not up to me. I realize that luxury isn't likely, but that is another issue for another day.

Thank you to everyone who has helped out-- you know who you are. I could never tackle this mountain alone. You've made this journey fun and entertaining.Your support, encouragement, and helping hands are what keeps me going.



  1. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I will be sure to pray for you and your family tonight. Luckily we have a Lord that knows our deepest pains and heartaches. We also have a Savior that has paid the price for our pride and sin. I am so glad that you are surrounded by a loving and helping community. Please feel free to write with more prayer requests. I would love to continue praying for you.

  2. What a journey/climb you are currently taking! I am going to add you to my prayer request journal. I know that you do not know me, and I do not really know you - but I can & will pray for you often.

    I write them down so won't forget them!

    It sounds like you are very wise young mother. I can't even begin to imagine raising my 2 kids without the daily sanity help of my husband. You are truly a hero in my book!

    Keep up the good work, hang in there and keep Gal. 6:9 every before you. It will be my prayer for you!

    here from iFellowship - you've touched my heart today!

    your sis in the faith,

  3. What a journey you are on. I am truly amazed at the strength military wives have, even if you don't see it yourselves. There is a young mother at church whose husband is away for the 4th or 5th time and she has 4 little children. I just can't even imagine it. I feel so bad when I think about a hard day and it doesn't even compare to what you wives go through. Thank you for sharing your struggles and journey.

    Came to your through iFellowship today.


  4. I have an award I'd like to present to you. You can find it here. Have a great day!


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