Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our New Place

We've been in our new house for about 3 weeks - it seems longer.  The move was pretty easy, how can it not be when the army hires three strong men to do all the heavy lifting?  The hard part is fitting everything from a 1700sf house to an 1100sf 2 story duplex.  I am making it work, finally getting rid of all the baby stuff will help.

We decided to double up the girls so we can have an office type room (read: a room where Will can play his xBox) which I am fine with, they have a really big bedroom and it seems to be going pretty well.  I do think TC misses having a space that is just hers but I shared a room my whole life and survived.

The only moving day drama was that our queen sized box spring couldn't fit up the windy stairs in this 1920s house.  There was no way to get it in short of cutting it.  For the past three weeks it's been a mattress on the floor, or as I like to call it a "crack mattress".  Luckily we don't have a bedroom set that would be wasted so we got a bed frame that doesn't need a box spring, it's pretty fantastic.  It arrived yesterday an it was nice to not wake up on the floor.

There are still several boxes that need to be unpacked, the "oh shit, where are we going to put this crap" boxes but other than that we are setting in.  I hung pictures on the walls and it's rather cozy. 

I thought there would be a chance that maybe the new house would fix everything - we're home, we're out of our friends' basement, we're out of the army - but no.  He has been kinder to me, no recent outbursts to speak of but I am just waiting.  There are still the little things that are beyond frustrating, from the digs at me that kill my self esteem to his total lack of helping around the house.  He did not unpack one box, not one.  He's home all day but refuses to help with any house keeping and complains about what I do (or don't do).   I did hope things would change but at this point I am thinking that the ship has sailed.  I have checked out.

There are so many things that I don't share here, believe it or not I do keep somethings to myself, but it's so much more than trivial things that are killing this marriage.  I felt like such a fraud hanging up pictures of a smiling family when inside I haven't ever been so unhappy.

I would like to think that 2014 will make up for 2013 but I have a feeling that it's going to be the hardest year yet. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Little House Keeping

Tomorrow is Will's retirement day, well the day my ID expires so I am guessing it's his retirement day but either way as of midnight tomorrow night I am no longer an army wife.  I suppose I fit into the "once an army wife always an army wife" thing but it's not the same.  In honor of this I have changed my twitter handle, I am no longer @RandomArmyWife I've changed it to @AmberInMotion.  If you already follow me you don't need to do anything, I am still where I've always been and if you don't follow, feel free.

It takes a lot of thought to figure out a new handle, I wanted it to be personal but not too personal.  I don't want it to just me one aspect of my life because I tweet about the most random things...I started with AmberInProgress but that was taken, I think I like In Motion better - it can be about running, the constant changes in my life, my constant lookout for Will's moods...I feel like no matter what, I'm always moving.

So there it is, follow me on twitter here I can't promise to post life changing thoughts but you will learn things like this:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

sometimes there are no reasons

When I was younger I was all about "everything happens for a reason" then things started happening.

I don't believe that everything has a reason.  Some things just happen and it sucks.  I am not saying they don't happen according to God's master plan for us and maybe that in itself can be called the reason but that is a different story for a different day.

After Will was hurt I tried for the longest time to think of a reason, perhaps had the accident not have happened they would have been ambushed or hit an IED...but maybe they would have made it safely to the target and killed the bad guys as planned.  Some nights grasping at straws helps but not most.

Just a few days after we moved home we went to his church, it is his childhood church where his grandparents go and where everyone knows him.  One woman, I've met her a few times before years ago, came up to me and looked right into my eyes and said, "we pray for Billy every week, just know that everything happens for a reason - it is so good to have you all back home".  It was like a punch in the gut.  It took everything I had to stand there and smile and mutter "yup" before I flipped my shit.

Someone please tell me the reason - the real reason that some idiot rolled over a vehicle and in the processed ruined my husband.  The moment that butt of a weapon hit him in the face he was forever changed.  Please tell me the reason that he can't remember our kids being born or his way home from work.  There has to be a reason that so jerk can't drive and my marriage fell apart.  Why I am afraid of him when I know he's in a mood and I have pissed him off.  Everything happens for a reason?  I don't know the man I married and many days I don't want to.  Please - please - tell me the reason, I am just dieing to know.

Yesterday an amazing man, a loving husband and father of three, was taken from his family in a horrific accident.  What is the reason for this?  Tell me a reason why three young boys had to stand there an watch as their father crashed into the ground doing something that he has done thousands of times never to say he loves them again?  This man would take the shirt off of his back for you and, from what I hear, was one hell of a Ranger when it came time to fight.  He bent over backwards for Will and me when we needed help getting out of the Yuma quicksand and just like that he's gone.  Gone.  There is no reason for this, there is no lesson to be learned, no other life to be saved...there is nothing but hurt and sorrow.  A reason, fuck you a reason.

Next time something horrible happens to someone you know and you find yourself searching for comforting words and all you can come up with is "well everything happens for a reason" please stop yourself, a simple "I'm so sorry" will do.

Please keep this young family in your thoughts, his widow is asking for prayers for her, prayers that she can raise her boys in a way that would make him proud, so if you can please say a prayer for her.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mother? I Have No Mother

I think I always knew it would come to this.  My whole life I have been making excuses for this woman, alcoholism is a disease...blah blah blah...under it all it's all routed in love...yadda yadda yadda...she loves me she just doesn't love herself.  Bullshit.  All of it. 

A quick history for those who don't know, my mom is f'ing nuts.  I grew up poor, like POOR poor.  My dad gave my mom $50 for food she came back with bulbs for the garden.  BULBS!  Somehow, no matter how poor you are, alcoholics will find means to drink and she did.  Then she left.  Then she showed up 2 hours late to the custody hearing (drunk) and my dad was given full custody of his 2 kids and my 2 sisters who aren't even his.  It was that bad.  She showed up at our house that night with an ax and busted down the girls to get her girls.

As a kid I would wait many Sundays for her to show up for our visits, many times she never did and when she did it was a crap shoot as to whether or not she would be drunk, driving us around.  We saw her for 5 hours a week, 5, during football season she bought us coloring books and crayons so we wouldn't bother her while she watched football.

Even with all of this, I loved her.  No number of DUIs or missed visits could change that.  She was my mom, she had to have my best interest in mind.

Then she got clean, for like 12 year.  Like most addicts she just replaced one addiction with another but she wasn't boozing and we could spend the night at her house.  The she started boozing again.  And 2 years after my dad died from a real disease she moved away.  Just deserted us, gone.  Again I didn't hold it against her because she was doing what she needed to do. I was a "grown up" (22) anyway, who needs a mother around?

All of these things though and countless little things that have hurt me so deeply in my life I have always given her the benefit of the doubt because, well, she's my mom.

On Thanksgiving this happened (look past my typo, I really don't take facebook seriously)

Clearly I was joking.  Anyone who knows me knows it was a joke.  I thought my mom knew me.  I emailed her and told her that she was being totally ridiculous but in the future if she has an issue to deal with it privately, I am not one to air my dirty laundry on facebook (that is why I have this blog!).  I also noted that despite everything that she has done in my lifetime I have not once been ashamed of her, that word has never even been on my radar.  She came back like a 2 year old telling me I was the one who started it by posting anything and I need to take responsibility for my actions!

There were other things said, I can't look up the message because I blocked her on facebook but she was pretty nasty.  I did throw in a low blow when I told her I didn't answer her call because I thought she was calling to try to mother me 30 years too late.  It's true, she was never a mother - a weird older friend sure, but not a mother.  I told her I was done fighting over this because it's stupid and if she wanted to keep pushing I would block her, the only reason I hadn't yet is because of my kids.

The next day her status read "Ask yourself this, would your dad be proud of your actions?"

Oh hell no!  She knows that is my biggest fear, I am not living my life in a way to make my father happy.  She was promptly deleted and is out of my life, for good this time too.  If for no other reason than I want to save my daughters from her antics.

It's easy for me to say, I am done with her but it is not easy to do.  After I saw what she said I lost it, we were still staying with friends and I had to get up mid conversation and run to our little room so they wouldn't see my emotional outburst.  There I was on my knees in a bed that wasn't mine violently bawling.  The last time I cried that hard was when I lost my dad.  It was that bad.  Fitting too because at that moment my mom was now dead to me.  I cried for a good long time too, the kind of crying that leaves you tired and hungry but unable to eat or sleep.  The kind of crying that will start back up during any quiet moment in the day and will once again bring you to your knees.

Having lost a parent the last thing I ever wanted to do was cut one off intentionally but at this point I don't have a choice.  Bringing my dad up, publicly, shows me that she is beyond help.  I've told my sisters not to talk to her about be or my kids.  She is to know nothing about me.  She has lost any claim to me.  Done.

With everything else going wrong in my life I have to admit, this one really shocked me.  I know I said I knew it would come someday but never did I think it would happen now, the way it did. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Birthday Girl

My little Addie, 2 years old today.  She is just a doll, the sweetest little thing.

She feels deeply.

She loves unconditionally.

She dances with abandon.

She is a momma's girl and knows just when I need one of her wonderfully snotty kisses.

She is the child I was so afraid of, not knowing how she would fit and now, many days she seems to be the glue holding me together.

Her laugh is deep and genuine and her eyes are telling. 

Addie has a kind old soul that I know is destine for greatness in whatever she chooses to do with her life.  

Thank you sweet girl.  Thank you for choosing me to watch you grow.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Say Something....

I had a post about my mother all worked out in my head but then I heard this song and I can't shake it.

As I set up our family Christmas I can't help but wonder if it will be our last.

SAY SOMETHING!  Make me want to stay.  Acknowledge my fears.  Make me feel loved, wanted as a companion and not just a plaything.  Be the man you were.

Say anything...just something.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

First Holiday Home

I feels like Thanksgiving was a thousand years ago and it kind of was but I haven't had a chance to talk about it yet.  (We should be in our new place next week so hopefully I will get a routine in place and blogging will be part of that.)  We went to my stepmother's house because I hadn't seen my family since coming home and because Will wouldn't make up his mind about what he wanted to do.  It finally came down to me telling him that I was taking the girls to her house and if he wanted to come he could.  There is no love lost between my husband and my family, it's mostly just him at this point because he lacks the ability forgive and move on.

He decided to come but gave me a lot of shit about it.  I had to listen to him bitch and moan the whole hour long drive up there.  When we got there it wasn't that bad, he had a place where he could disappear if he needed and everyone respected his need to be on his own when he needed.  (His TBI comes with social anxiety as well as a sensory issue where lights and sounds can overstimulate him and trigger headaches and feelings of seasickness and such.)  He told me three hours, I didn't think that would be long enough but I agreed, 3 hours. 

My sister and me. She likes my ass so much she had to touch it.
They day was interesting for me.  I went from spending the entire holiday in the kitchen making a huge meal for our little family (which I kind of love) to being a guest in a house with 20 other people.  So many people that I haven't seen in years, it was great to see everyone but at the same time it was weird.  I was away when my grandmother died and I wasn't at the funeral so it really hit me when she wasn't there.  I cried, she was missed.

There were a lot of questions about what our plans were, people were naturally curious but they have no idea what a loaded question it really was.  Our plans, I have no idea...I don't know what kind of a man I will wake up next to on any given day, how do I know what we want to do with the rest of our lives?

My girls were big hits, TC was quiet but loved playing with all of her cousins and Addie was a ham, as always.  Double fisting desserts like a champ.  It is great that they are finally getting to know their family, it was a little overwhelming at first but by the end of the day it was like they were born surrounded by these people.

Overall it was a success.  We ended up staying about 5 hours because Will said he was fine to stay and he played poker with the boys.  There were times where I felt overwhelmed and missed our little small family holiday but it felt really good to be back where I belong.  On the ride home I had to listed to Will bitch the whole time about my family and me making him stay longer than he wanted (don't even get me started on this - staying was his idea!) at one point he called me trash for doing something that he "can't even remember I just know I heard you and thought you were trash".  We have my family Christmas celebration at the same place next weekend, I hope he decides to stay home - I don't want to even give him the chance to ruin my day.

Is this not how you end a holiday with extended family?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

state of our union

Have I mentioned before that marriage is hard?  Well, if I haven't, marriage is hard. 

I am really trying to keep this blog from turning into a husband bashing page, I feel like my previous blog was going in that direction and I wasn't comfortable with that.  I also want to be truthful on here, we didn't move back to Massachusetts and leave all of our issues on the road.  I am trying to find the happy medium here.

While we are staying with other people everything is multiplied, we have no chance to be alone - ever.  Addie sleeps in our room and during the day there are 5 children running all over the place.  Last week we did make an effort to be kinder to each other, trying not to use harsh words and such but there are times we forget.

I am just so over so many things.  Him staying in bed all day when he's sick, I've been sick and still managed to take care of not only the kids but also him.  He will save up little things I do in some "things I can say to hurt you" bank and pile them on me when he really wants to break me.  He took the fact that 5 nights ago I didn't want to go out in the cold the night after I watched all five kids to get him some Motrin but I did go out after 7 on Black Friday for some night shopping personally.  The two have nothing to do with each other but he decided to tell me that I am a horrible person because I obviously picked Old Navy over him feeling better (when I went out the kids were already in bed and I asked him several times if he minded).  I know it makes no sense...I can't even wrap my mind around his logic. 

Last night he took these things and combined them with me turning a light on in the room where TC was sleeping and made sure I knew I was a bad mother.  So I gave him back some attitude and tried to explain how ridiculous he was being and he shot right over to me and got right in my face as I was changing Addie's diaper and yelled right into my ear.  I can't remember what he said - I was bracing for impact.  I thought for sure this was going to be the time he actually did it.  He did not hit me.

But it's not really him - my husband would never do this to me.  The guy who came back from his last deployment with a TBI, he's the guy who scares me.  It's getting to the point where I don't care what the reason - I am really starting to think about my options.  Something has got to give.  Something.  Maybe once we have a place of our own...maybe.

I just want to be happy again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

transition - homelessness

We pulled out of Yuma with no idea what was going to happen when we got home.  We knew we needed a place to stay and a place to live, jobs and in general something to do with ourselves but no real plans.  We don't come from the types of families where we can just go back to one of our childhood homes like many.

Just drive northeast, stop when we hit the ocean.

While driving through Kentucky Will got another call from a friend he went to Bible college with (oh have I not mentioned that my Army Ranger husband once attended & was kicked out of Bible college?) who has been begging us to stay with him since he found out we were moving home.  This friend was in California where they went to school before some twist of fate brought him to lead Will's home church in Massachusetts.  With no other options and a huge sense of guilt we accepted.  They have a guestroom in the basement and a playroom with a pullout couch, much more than we could really ask for.

Those of you who know me must know that staying with pastors is not really my comfort zone with my love of vodka and ability to drop a F-bomb without even realizing it but it has been really really good.  When we first got here I was offered a beer...a good beer and from there it has beer pretty smooth.

The home search has been much harder than expected, I knew that the rental market would be much different than the market in a military town, there just isn't the demand here and because of that landlords can be much more selective and that means, for the most part, no dogs.  If they do allow dogs they have to be under 25lbs and, lets face it, a dog under 25lbs is really just a glorified cat.  Our search expanded and expanded and expanded until we finally were offered a duplex that will be 100% brand new in the town of our choice. 

Our hosts have been amazing, and when they say we can stay as long as we need I really believe it.  It has been great for me, to have another mother to talk to, a mother like me!  Dinner dishes in the sink until breakfast with no apologies - there were things to do after dinner that included playing with the kids and unwinding without guilt.  We both like to let the kids just play, independently under the impression that if someone breaks an arm or something they will let us know, no need to run and check every time we hear a cry.  I think I have been reading too many mom blogs that make me feel like a shitty mom for not having a Pottery Barn house and trilingual 3 year olds. 

It will be beyond amazing to get into our own place and be reunited with our Keurig but until that can happen we have been beyond blessed to have been offered such an amazing place to crash during out between time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Drive

The best decision we made about the trip from Yuma, AZ to Massachusetts was to split up the girls.  I had so much anxiety thinking about them joining forces and driving me insane on the road.  The thought of sending TC to Will's car never even crossed my mind.  When Will suggested it I felt pretty sad, that was a lot of time for them to be apart but the more I thought about it the better it sounded.

I got Addie because she's a little obsessed with me, I think I lucked out.  TC is a talker...she does not stop.  Although Addie wont be 2 until December we decided to forward face her car seat.  I was really stressing over this, I am a big fan of extended rear facing and kept TC rear facing until she was 2.5 but when Addie totally took herself out of her straps while driving home from Target a few days before we left the decision was made.  Rear facing is safer but nothing is safe then she's not strapped in!  It made life so much easier while driving that distance too, I can't lie. 

All in all, it was pretty uneventful, we had a puke stop the first day and a few accidents in TC's car seat but nothing major.  I have to be honest, most of this country is boring to drive through.  A few things of note, northern Arizona is beautiful, it's startling to see a horse and buggy on a major interstate, I never want to eat at a place call Stray Dog BBQ - just sounds wrong, snow in WV is not fun, if you want to listen to church on every radio station on the dial drive through Missouri on Sunday morning.

We didn't follow the original Google map because we stopped outside of Ft. Campbell to see my mom, it was nice for her to finally meet Addie. 

TC was happy to see grandma too, she doesn't remember meeting her 3 years ago but she does like to talk to her on the phone.

Of course I loved seeing her too, I hate that we have to go so long between visits.  Maybe one of us will win the lottery so we wont have to wait so long again.

The next night we stopped in West Virgina, it was almost a disaster.  While driving though the mountains Will's eyes just gave out.  Since his injury his night vision is just crap and he was to the point when he could drive no more.  We pulled into a Days Hotel and the two young girls informed me that they didn't allow pets.  We decided to just leave them in the car for the night, not the end of the world, until we realized it was going to be below freezing and they were expecting snow.  I lost it, I cried to the girls that he was a disabled vet and he couldn't drive anymore for the night and wondered if there was anything we could do...that night Moses was promoted to service dog.  (My cat was fine in the car with her carrier under a pile of blankets.)  I am still so grateful to those girls for helping us out, I don't know what we would have done.

We woke up to a beautiful mountain snow but not so beautiful to drive through, like many things on the trip the snow was my fault.  Will had no problem blaming me for so many ridiculous things along our way.  I spent a good amount of time crying while driving along.  I am not sure I really want to get into all of that just yet, but I do want to make sure that I am not pretending all of our problems disappeared as we bee-bopped across the country. 

The girls did pretty well.   I am no expert but splitting them up really did help us, they seemed excited to see each other each night and didn't wake each other from naps on the way or anything else that would have driven me nuts.  Also, handing back an iPad when nothing else worked was great, a few games or a movie on that and then they were out.  I had crackers in hand for Addie and Will kept oranges and apples ready for TC.  Also having a stash of sippy cups at the ready made picking drinks really easy, I didn't have to worry about what may or may not spill.

When we rolled into New England it was like a weight was lifted.  I have never been more excited to see "Welcome to Connecticut".  When we finally made it to Providence, RI I cried real big fat tears.  I just felt home.  Setting my radio stations was like a religious experience for me.  I can't really explain it...we had no place to live and no idea what was going to happen but I knew I was home.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Moment

I didn't start this new blog just to neglect it, I promise!  We are staying with friends and they have 3 kids so between the five kids and four adults there are just not many chances to sit down.

But the good news is that we found a place to live and I will most likely be starting a job soon after we move in.  The bad news is that the place wont be ready until Dec 5!  Yikes.  But we can have our dog and our my cat so it's worth the wait. 

Until then we are house guests.  It is no fun being long term house guests but we are lucky that Will had these great friends who really seem to enjoy our company.  The kids are doing as well as can be expected given the circumstances, I just can't wait to get them settled into our new life and actually start living.

I have a lot of things I hope to get down in the next few days, I want to document the drive and the rental search but mostly I want to talk about reintegration, not post deployment but post army.  I think I will make that a theme I go back to a lot over this first year out - it's been as hard, if not harder, than I expected.

I have also been asked a few times about my old blog, I will be making it public again at some point in the future but I need to reread some things. I may make edits to some of the rawest posts, I am not sure how I feel about it all being out there right now.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hello Again

This is it, messy hair, no makeup but big smiles!
After almost 6 years at my previous (and private at the moment) blog Random Rants of An Army Wife it was time for a change and here it is.  So much has changed since I started sharing my life on the internet.  I never thought anyone would ever care what I had to say, I just needed an outlet in which to say it but I found such an amazing community through blogging.  I can't imagine how my journey would have gone without it.

Who am I?  I suppose that is a good question for a first blog post.  I am Amber, mother of two beautiful little girls and wife to a someone broken man.  As my past blog title tells you, I was an army wife.  My husband was injured four years ago in Iraq and, as of December 28th, he will no longer be in the army.  This wont be a place to deal with army life since it is no longer my life but I am sure my experiences from the past 8 years will come in handy.  I spent a lot of time talking about my husband's Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in my last blog, this time I am going to really try to not focus on that.  It is a major part of our life together but I will focus more on myself and not him.  I am also going to try to honor his request to keep his picture off of this blog.

My girls TC 3 and Addie 23 months are my world.  I would do anything to make sure they are happy, healthy and well adjusted little humans.  It isn't easy as a father with a TBI makes things very difficult but above all, they come first.  I am sure I will (over) share how I try to do this.  I am not a mommy blogger in the sense that I want to tell you how you should be doing things or anything like that, but I am a mom and this is my blog so take that however you want.

I don't really know what direction this blog will take.  I know I will be here venting and sharing my life.  Recording moments with my girls and hopefully celebrating moments with my husband.  There are so many changes in my life right now, my only current blog goal is to get things out of my head before I go insane.