Sunday, July 21, 2019

Learning Lessons and Boston 2019!

Eric is still gone and this deployment feels like it will never ever never end.  In case you were wondering which corner of the world I dropped off of and why I almost never blog anymore... it's the "her husband's deployment kicked her ass corner."

Eric and I met a little more than 13 years ago when he was deployed to Iraq.  While we were getting to know each other and falling crazy and madly into a whole lot of feelings that neither one of us had ever experienced before, there was a shield of total ignorance on my end about what he was going through or what being with a Soldier meant.  I was clueless.  It would take us being together for years for me to begin to grasp all of the complexities of his Service and what that means to him and does to him (and even after more than a decade, I am still learning about those complexities).  

So this has been my first real experience with a deployment.  And emotionally, it's been tough. 

I am so very thankful that the Universe allowed us 9 years of marriage before he left last Fall.  It's not like we haven't spent our fair share of time apart before this (we're probably apart more than we are together- that's just Army life), but Eric and I have never been apart from each other for this long.  Ever.  Isabelle has never had to go this long without him- her homework helper, the shoulder she leans on, the level head in our house who calmly makes life make sense to her.  Us three do everything together.  Literally, all the things... us three experience them together.  So these last few months have not only been a giant adjustment, but they've shoved lessons into our hearts that we really hadn't planned on learning.  Sure, life is full of lessons meant to be learned whether we like it or not, and we couldn't learn these particular ones without this particular experience, but that doesn't make anything easier, or us more willing.  But having 9 years of marriage under our belts before having to be apart for so long did ensure us an indestructible foundation, and Isabelle an anchor, for begrudgingly learning these specific lessons.  

Lesson #1:  We HATE being apart and we aren't very good at it.

Eric and I talk almost constantly, but Lesson #2 was discovering that texting and Skyping is different when you know you won't be together again any time soon- it's equal parts comforting, and heartbreaking.  But Lesson #3 quickly followed #'s 1 & 2 when we figured that we better buck up and move on with life if we were going to find the joy in this particular chapter.  Eric, Isabelle, and I couldn't sit around and wallow in sadness if he was going to be successful and concentrate on the mission, or if Isabelle was going to keep rocking her school stuff, and if I was going to take care of her and our life here at home.  (Although, if you read my last blog post, you'll notice I wallowed for a good long obnoxious while after learning Lesson #3.  I'm such a brat.)

Even if the bucking up thing was slower for one of us, we were learning the stupid lessons that were coming our way one after another.  And even if something has gone wrong every. single. day for the better part of 8 months, I have managed to teach our daughter how to drive and parallel park and keep her alive and on track with her school work (she has her Texas drivers license to prove it!).  Eric has lead E/1-43 ADA in a successful mission, all the while comforting and encouraging his girls here at home, and Isabelle has achieved numerous school awards and an outstanding GPA, both in her high school classes and her college classes.

I could almost go so far as to say we're getting this deployment licked!  But then Lesson #433 is to never get too cocky when your Soldier is gone, because there are a lot of things waiting to go wrong just to make you feel like an idiot and keep you humble.  

All of the lessons and challenges every day have kept me fairly preoccupied, but I've also passed the time by looking for anything to keep my mind off of Eric being gone.  Teaching Isabelle how to drive took up a large amount of my time, which definitely helped, and I went hiking a precious few times earlier this Spring, but when we got a chance to go to Boston, I couldn't get out of town fast enough!  

There isn't a better way to forget all your cares than to go somewhere! 

If you don't know my daughter in real life then you don't know how insanely smart she is.  Isabelle is currently earning her associates degree from El Paso Community College {EPCC} at the same time as her high school diploma- she is so smart.  She was named a Superintendent's Scholar at the end of May for scoring in the top 5% in the entire school district for her PSAT's.  And earlier this year she was invited to attend a seminar for The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Leaders at the University of Massachusetts!  

Massachusetts!  Y'all know I never pass up a chance to go somewhere!  

I wasn't about to let my daughter fly to a giant city all alone, so my mother-in-law and sister-in-law dropped what they were doing and we all went on a girls trip to the east coast!

Our tour guide came all the way from the 1770's!

The Freedom Trail

Boston Common

The thing that makes my little family the happiest is traveling.  The first trip Eric and I ever took was in our home state to the Sturgis Bike Rally's in 2007.  We borrowed my dad's class C RV and stayed right smack dab in the middle of the Badlands.  It was really romantic.  It was there that we discovered how magical getting away together can be.  There's just something about going somewhere you've never been before with your best buddy and getting lost without a care in the world.  It's a sure way to amplify the passion (wink, wink).  Since that first trip, we have made it a "rule" to travel as much as possible together and show our daughter every bit of this world in the process! 

Boston was the first city Eric and I traveled to in 2012 that wasn't any where near our home state, and we LOVED it!  We fell in love with Boston; everything about Boston!  We've reminisced about our travels since then and still don't know if we loved it so much because that trip was our first "big trip" and truly the sort of experience we were striving for by traveling- that no cares, no worries, no time restraints, just enjoying each other kind of experience- or if it was actually the city of Boston, whatever it was though, it's our fav!

For our Boston 2019 trip, instead of exploring with my guy, I was getting to experience it with my best girl!  Isabelle is already a savy traveler, but her time in Boston was very limited since most of her time in Massachusetts would be spent at the seminar she was invited to.  So for her first time in a city her parents have majorly hyped up for the last 7 years, she really wanted to see the sites along the Freedom Trail and Harvard before spending the rest of her weekend living at the dorms on UMASS's campus.  

Old State House

Boston Harbor

Isabelle at Harvard

After spending a full day in downtown Boston and then Harvard, Isabelle understood what it was that we had fallen in love with so much.  The city is this fun mix of American history with all things modern and the big city vibe that makes you feel so much cooler than you actually are just because you're surrounded by it.  She loved it!  But then it was time for her to go fill her brain with all the medical things she was so excited to wrap her brain around at the seminar, leaving my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and myself alone to explore other parts of the east coast!  

So once we got Isabelle squared away in the dorms, we decided to take a quick drive to Newport, Rhode Island to see another part of the world we hadn't seen before!  Since I had already been to Boston and don't usually go anywhere without my travel buddies, I let my sister- and mother-in-law decide our itinerary.  I was just excited to be out of El Paso for a minute, whatever we did or saw was going to make my heart happy no matter what!  

I might be a city girl, but seeing the Atlantic ocean in Rhode Island was exactly what my soul needed but didn't know it until I got there!  Which is exactly why traveling is so great!  It gives your soul all the good things you didn't know it needed until you're actually there!

The Breakers- a Vanderbilt family mansion built in 1895.

The backyard view from The Breakers. 

My mother-in-law walking along the Cliff Walk. 

There have been a lot of challenges since Eric left, none of them I've blogged about and only a few I've even mentioned on my Facebook.  And I don't know if they've seemed harder than normal because I don't have my guy here to vent to, or if it's really been that losing my wedding ring, going to the ER, having a seizure in the middle of Verizon Wireless, teaching my 16 year old how to parallel park in a big city, and a hundred other things is really just a little more than a person can handle in such a short amount of time (relatively speaking... time is different when your husband is gone).  But whichever it is, I handled each challenge as it came, tried my darnedest to learn from it, and then moved on (except the losing my wedding ring one, I'll NEVER get over that).  

With all the lessons learned, a girls trip, and butt kicking aside, I have, for the most part, handled this deployment like a champ.  Some days have been harder than others, but that's life.  At least that's my life.

I may have fallen off the "her husband's deployment kicked her ass" corner of the world.... but I'm also climbing up from out of that corner.  I've climbed my way out of a lot worse.  

Lesson #5689: I can handle just about anything!  And this deployment has proved it!

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