7.31.2010

Beat it, Debbie Downer

Ok - the more I read my previous post, the more it grates on my nerves. It's honest and true but man, do I sound like Eeyore. Which drives me nuts. So I'm going to post something a little more upbeat.


We are just a few chalks away from having all of our guys (and girls...Hi Chaplain!) back which is fantastic! When they left, I wasn't sure if we'd be here to welcome them home. And we are. Which is also fantastic! It's SO good to see them all. I love watching them melt into the arms of their loved ones - it's such a heart-warming thing and it gives me chicken-skin just thinking about it. We have a few more rounds in the next couple of days and I'm really looking forward to those too. Not only is it good to see the soldiers come home, it's nice to be able to reconnect with their spouses. I haven't been in contact with many spouses from MacGyver's company or battalion so it's great to see them and spend time with them (briefly) before they tackle their soldiers.


I took the advice of a commenter here who told me a while back (when I was worrying about how to plan for the future in the face of everything going on) and we're just living life as we would normally. Which means soccer practice and getting ready for school to start. Add in there BMX riding (we haven't started racing...yet) and Awana on the horizon along with church commitments and this thing I like to call life and things have turned a little crazy around here! Which is good - keeps us out of trouble.


We decided to homeschool the kids this year. We've committed to one year and then we'll reevaluate where we stand - phsyically/logistically, financially, spiritually. Neither MacGyver or myself were happy with Little Man's first year of school. His teacher not only didn't challenge him (he was reading and doing simple arithmetic when he started Kindergarten), in some ways she actually stifled him. Because he would finish ahead of his table-mates, he'd get bored and become a distraction. Rather than give him more challenging work or books to read, he was labeled a trouble-maker. He's a typical 6 year old boy and would rather do 1,001 things besides classwork so he'd turn in lousy work (ahead of his table-mates). Yet she'd accept it, rather than make him do it over or correct his mistakes. And then he would get poor marks on his assignments AND be in trouble for being a distraction. I watched his excitement to learn and be in school fade as the year went along.


Combine this with the on-going trouble The Girl has had with a certain bully in her grade and the school's less than acceptable dealings with the situation and the limbo we're currently living in and you get the idea as to why we're homeschooling them. THEY are excited. I am too but also a little overwhelmed. I just remind myself that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time so that's what we're focusing on - one day at a time. They are excited to be studying ancient history and chemistry this year (in addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic) and for the co-op we're going to be working with once a week.


I'm in the process of selecting a new song to choreograph for sign language class. My kids (the ones I work with) have lots of suggestions but nothing has really hit me yet.


And tomorrow, we are meeting up with an old and dear friend of mine from junior high and high school for dinner. He and his new bride are here on their honeymoon and we get to see them. I'm really, really excited - he was a sweet guy in high school and thanks to Facebook I've been able to get back in touch with him. Should be lots of fun!


So, even though it's cloudy here (it's always cloudy here...I swear, I live in Seattle) my mood has lifted, for which I am thankful.


Hey Debbie (Downer)...don't let the door hit you in the rear end on your way out!




Pau.




- hfs

7.30.2010

'Tis the season of a thousand tiny cuts

A short while back, I made the observation that military life is a lot like enduring paper cuts. And summertime - prime PCS (permanent change of station) season - seems to be the most painful time of year.


I've often debated with friends whether it is better to be the leavER or the leavEE...both have their upsides and downsides. Given the fact that we've been on this rock for five and a half years, I've about had enough of being the leavEE. And I'm not a fan. Don't get me wrong - I'm not sure I'm ready to leave yet. But the being left part leaves a lot to be desired. And, having been here for as long as we've been here, the emotional attachments are deep and therefore quite painful to sever.


Add to that the fact that I am horrible at goodbyes and you get an idea of how horribly icky the past few weeks have been. This past weekend was the worst - having to say goodbye to a family with whom we became quite close. Their children were in my youth group at church. We performed several sign language songs together. We camped together, shared many a meal together. They've cared for my children (this is big...there are very few people I let care for my children). And, on the night my world came crashing down around me last year, they were there for me in ways I cannot ever begin to repay. They've seen my good side and they've seen my bad side. And they love us (and me) all the same.


And now they are gone. Half way around the world. And so the new normal begins. For now. Until someone else leaves. Or we leave.


I find myself quite tired of this. And I don't know if it's just that I'm weary for the moment or if I'm truly reaching the end of my proverbial rope.


In the buildup to a deployment, couples often fight. The anticipatory grief gets to be too much and things blow up. It's easier to say goodbye to the person you love if you're ready to be rid of them because you're mad at them...or so you think. MacGyver and I danced that dance with the last deployment. I think I'm about there with the Army. It's been over a year and I find myself feeling "about done" with the Army. And with this island. Maybe it's just that time of year...time for school to start, time for a change of pace, a change in the weather.


Something.


Or maybe there's more to it. Maybe the last 14 months haven't meant anything more than a way for me to distance myself from military life. So that leaving it might be easier. Whatever that means.


I don't know.




I just don't know.




Pau.




- hfs

7.12.2010

Welcome home!

About a year ago, we said goodbye to some friends. And now they are making their way back to us. It is SO good to be able to welcome them home. Safely. The first waves are coming in now and everyone (for the most part) should be home by the middle of next month, give or take.


I will do my best to get pictures when I am able to get to a welcome home ceremony.


Definitely a warm-fuzzy feeling.




Pau.




- hfs

7.11.2010

Seriously.

It's been a month since the "big day" - the day that was supposed to bring answers or at least some kind of direction. Or a hint of direction. Or something. Yet here we sit, in limbo still. Apparently nothing happens quickly in the Army.


You'd think I'd learn these things by now, right? Apparently not.


And I find myself torn, yet again. Torn between the desire for this to continue on as it has been - slow and relatively uneventful - and wanting the Army to just HURRY UP!!!! But I'm leaning toward the slow side of things. I'm not sure that I am ready to find out what the final outcome may be. And I know I'm not ready to say goodbye to this part of my life.


A good friend of mine is in a similar situation - not the legal side of things but the unexpected end of her husband's Army career. In addition to the looming end of this military life that she's known for 13 years, her husband is due to return from deployment shortly. And, as happy as she is to know that she will not have to go through this again (unless he finds a contractor position that takes him overseas...but that would be voluntary), it is bittersweet. We sat, watching fireworks last weekend together on post and she commented that she was going to miss that part of military life - the shared experiences, the community, the camaraderie. MacGyver and I took the kids to go see "Iron Man 2" on post a short while back and I found myself feeling the same way - I am going to MISS this. I am going to miss the National Anthem being played before the movie and the extra courtesies that are extended at a military theatre that you don't always find at a civilian one.


It is a bittersweet time.


A lot of the time, I find myself feeling like I'm on a rollercoaster and I'm at the part where you're climbing the track on your way to the top of the REALLY BIG DROP. You know it's coming. Your body is primed for the event and you're kind of excited, kind of scared...mostly apprehensive. It's a kind of "anticipatory grief". And that's exactly where I'm at (and have probably been for the past 4-6 months of my life). I'm getting closer to being ready to embrace the next stage of our lives (whatever the hell that might be) but I am immensely sad at the prospect of having to see this stage end.


I'm tired of saying "we'll see". I'm tired of adding the caveat "if we're here in _______" when committing to something. I'm tired of sending out my husband's resume, knowing that he can't really be offered or accept a job until the Army decides what they are going to do. I'm tired of not being able to talk about all of this properly and, instead, having to resort to being vague.


Patience has never been my strong point.


But seriously? Seriously.




Pau.




- hfs

7.04.2010

04JUL2010





IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.




Pau.




- hfs