This post isn’t about Beyoncé, before any of you get the wrong idea. #lemonade
Last week, while Aaron and I were rearranging our bedroom to accommodate a new dresser (thanks, Steve!), someone banged on our bedroom window so loudly that Aaron and I both screamed like banshees. There we were, listening to music and folding clothes on the bed when WAAM. A fist hit the window so hard I’m surprised the glass didn’t shatter. You should know that our bedroom window doesn’t face a street or anything. Nope, it faces an empty wooded area behind the duplex. It was nighttime, and to say I was freaked out is an understatement.
As we know, I’m deathly afraid of the dark. The fact that this window-banging episode happened two nights before Aaron deployed for a month is the worst possible timing. Being home alone is hard enough for me. Being home alone after a hooligan heard me (and Aaron…) scream like a little girl is the absolute WORST. Is this person going to come back? Was it dumb kids, or was it a clumsy intruder? Now that they know I’m easily scared, are they going to try to break in?
This is what I get for signing a lease for a first floor apartment. I didn’t have a care in the world when I was five stories up in my NYC studio apartment, other than wondering how I’d get out if there was a fire. No fire escape in NYC is better than having one, in my opinion, because burglars use them on the reg, plus a lot of people fall to their death on them. Odds of an intruder>odds of a fire, so I was feeling pretty good about my situation.
Obviously, I made Aaron double check all the locks on the windows before deploying. I’ve also shut every blind and closed every curtain in the house. This is how it will remain for the rest of Aaron’s absence. If I want some sun, I’ll have to carry my
little big butt outside. I also refuse to come home after dark now, since the wooded area where the window banger stood is also where Aaron and I park our cars. Luckily, spring=longer daylight hours, not to mention I’ll be traveling out of town for most of Aaron’s patrol. But I’ve started carrying my contact solution with me wherever I go in case I find myself out and about in Virginia Beach after dark and need to crash at my parents’ house. #adulthood
If it was two seventh graders being idiots, I hope karma bites them in the butt REALLY HARD.
The first night of deployment is always the worst, not just because your husband’s not there to scare off intruders, but because you’re not accustomed to doing your nightly routine alone. He’s not next to you laughing at the T.V. He’s not in your way when you’re trying to brush your teeth in the tiny bathroom. He’s not wrapping his arms around you as you fall asleep. Everything just feels wrong. It’s super sad. Tears are a definite.
I wouldn’t say things get easier after the first night, but my determination to not crawl under a blanket with leftover pizza is stronger. I allow myself to focus on the positives of losing my husband for a month or two. This list of pros is small, but they do exist. Kind of like when you’re single, a wife with no kids is free to do whatever she wants when her husband is gone. Not that I don’t do whatever I want when he’s here…but what I want is to hang out with him. So that’s mostly what I do.
This week, I’ve been able to focus on my diet and exercise, which is something I’ve put little to no effort into the past two months with Aaron home. Fat and happy is definitely a real thing. Like I wrote a few weeks ago, I started getting things under control before Ireland…but vacation is not friendly on the body. Now, with Aaron somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I have no excuse for treating every night like a date night out….or a date night in. Chinese food on the couch is not a good look unless you’re being a chubster with your husband. Somehow, the latter is kind of cute.
I’m in full on health mode right now, and it’s kind of great. I love being fat and happy with Aaron (who gains muscle in .25 seconds, so he always looks hot….ugh, MEN), but I know I’ll feel a million times better when I look in the mirror after cracking down on my diet and workouts for the next month.
Another perk of no husband for a month is the freedom to spend more one on one time with my friends. When he’s here, I still have a girls night every week with my friends in Virginia Beach, but I don’t take weekend trips to visit friends in other cities as much as I did when I was single. With three wedding weekends in a row coming up (OBX–>Annapolis–>DC), I’ll get way more quality time with my out-of-town girlfriends than I would have if Aaron attended as my date. Of course, it’s way better to have him by my side at weddings, but I can’t ignore how great it is that I’ll get to be my friends’ dates, just like the good old days. Married people don’t really have sleepovers and that sort of thing anymore, but now I get the full enchilada with my girlfriends!
In addition to the wedding weekends, I’m traveling to visit one of my best friends/bridesmaids in North Carolina that I’ve been wanting to visit forever. I’m also spending a full week in Northern VA to catch up with all my friends up there, and then am excited to travel to NYC for Fleet Week, where yes– I’ll see Aaron– but I’ll also get to reunite my New York crew. These are trips that would be infinitely more difficult to take if Aaron wasn’t deployed. (And if I had an office job. Lucky for me, I can write from anywhere.)
Pro list so far: 1. Looking hot, 2. More friend time. The last big one is 3. Focusing on my career.
Last time Aaron was deployed, I took the leap to go full-time with Generation grannY, because I knew that I’d be able to find my daily work groove more easily when he was gone. That way, by the time he got home, I’d be in a rhythm and less easily distracted by his presence. I’m happy to say that it worked! I didn’t miss a single day of work (i.e. writing) when he was home, except for my planned week off in Ireland.
This time around, I’m going to focus on mapping out the plan for my podcast (easier said than done…hence why I haven’t completed an episode to share yet), and building my non-Facebook social media reach, which my web developer has been telling me to do for months (sorry, Daniel). For someone who is a full-time blogger, I really hate trying to engage people online. I wish I could just write, and the whole world would happen to find this blog. But that’s not really how it works, so it’s about time I step up my game on Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and dare I say…Snapchat? Lord help me.
If I take a new career step each time Aaron is deployed, which will be somewhere around 9 times over the next 3 years (approx. 18 months of being gone), just imagine where my blog will [hopefully] be by 2019! Each deployment, the new area of focus will become habit, so I’ll just get better and better at doing everything it takes to run an ever-growing, successful blog. It’s worked so far, which is excellent motivation to keep using this approach.
Marriage is absolutely wonderful, but what a blessing it is to periodically get to focus on just “me” again. I look forward to the day that I no longer get these breaks, but for now, I’m doing my best to embrace them…especially before we have little babies I have to keep track of. You may not be able to directly relate to my exact situation, but I hope this post helps you come up with ways to embrace the stages of life you’re in, too. Some days I’m wildly less optimistic about this stage of Aaron’s career, but the goal is to always make lemonade. We all have the ingredients– it’s just a matter of using them!