Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Running on Empty

Oh man, do I need a vacation. I can't wait for our honeymoon, lax days digging my feet into the pristine white sand of the beach - that's the life. Instead of hitting snooze this morning on my alarm, I accidently turned it off, and when I woke up on my own later and was therefore a bit late to work, I didn't even care. I'm so burnt out, so tired of the day-to-day mentality, I offered no explanation for my tardiness or even bothered to care in general.

As it turns out, having this wedding is much like taking a vacuum cleaner to every nook and cranny of our checking account. I can't complain too much because it is no one's fault by my own that we've been breaking budget left and right - I am absolutely unfaltering on my dream wedding - so I've had to take the sacrifices we've had to make in stride. It's only temporary, and it'll be oh-so-worth-it in the long run. I went to Tahoe over the weekend to help count RSVP cards with my mom while Matt was having a night out with the boys, and my mom was telling me how she recalled hearing my sister-in-law (my brother's wife) tell her mom how she couldn't wait till the wedding was over and how appalling that was that she could have such an attitude. But here's the thing: I couldn't cut into my SIL for that comment and partake in my mom's favorite pastime of gossiping because I know what she meant. It shouldn't be confused by thinking that such a comment means I'm ungrateful or that I don't want this wedding because nothing could be further from the truth. Mostly I just don't know how wedding planners do it for a living - deal with the stress, the thousands of errors from the vendors, the daily (and extremely worn out) conversation about the budget and where corners can be cut. Perhaps it's helpful that it's their only job - to plan weddings - and it's not with their money. Currently, I feel sick, tired, run down, and incredibly, insanely excited. Really - despite the consistent nonstop flow of my life and my enormous disdain for all things monetary, I can't wait to marry my Matt in front of all our friends and family. It's true that no wedding is ever impeccably perfect and regardless of how mentally beat up I currently feel, undoubtedly one day I'll look back on this time with fond memories; however, at this exact moment in time, it wouldn't break my heart to just fast forward to August 5 so I can start reaping the benefits.

On a brighter note, I sold the monster, missing grill emblem and all. In fact, I sold it on Thursday not long after I made my post decrying my terrible collision with irony (pun intended). I had mentioned I got a phone call from a girl who wanted to come look at it that day, but I had, unfortunately, driven the Honda to work, and she was unable to come look when I got off work due to our conflicting schedules. On my drive home from work, I got a call from the girl's parents who were very excited about coming to look at the car behind their daughter's back - they came over immediately to look at it, poke at the tires, scratch the leather; they test drove the car, and by God, they bought the f***er, very few questions asked (which incidentally is probably exactly the way the sale with that car needed to go).

After I'd signed over the title and filled out a Bill of Sale (and we exchanged information so I could mail them the missing emblem), Matt and I went out for dinner and few beers to celebrate unloading such an egregious problem. I was slightly melancholy - God knows why - and even got a little teary-eyed after a couple beers, commenting to Matt that, "if I had known it was the last day I'd ever have the Jetta, I would've driven it to work" (to which he, understandably, rolled his eyes). I have an uncanny habit of getting attached to inanimate objects, but I woke up the next morning with "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead" in my head which speaks largely on how I really felt about the car. The car is officially no longer our problem, and the Honda's not too bad - it gets me from point A to point B, though the superficial part of me can't help laughing hysterically when I catch a glimpse of me driving the Honda in a window reflection.

Yesterday marked one year of my ownership of Freedom the deployment kitty (unfortunately she's not terribly fond of Matt). Monday marked one year since Matt went back to Afghanistan after his R&R. It was strange to think that a year ago we had been exchanging our goodbyes in the airport, hugging, crying. "See you in 9 months!"

I often fantasize about how my future will turn out - daydreaming, if you will. I'm constantly playing out scenarios in my head, scenarios that are somewhat predictable because of the path we've chosen in life. While Matt was deployed I found it extremely difficult to picture life post-deployment. Diving head first into a deployment is rarely a comfortable situation and never a predictable one; it's a path that is arguably chosen for you (oh, sure, I know it's easy to say that a soldiers have chosen deployment when they enlist in the army, but the timing of a deployment is never something that can be planned - it just happens). No matter how close to the end of the deployment we got, I found that I never knew or was even able to guess the way it would end.

I remember watching Matt board onto the plane last June 12 and thinking to myself that this could be the last time I ever saw him. It's morbid, but it's the reality of war. And even further past the mortality worries, there's also the constant wonder of what so many months of separation can do to your relationship. I can't recall exactly where I first heard the quote or who said it, but I used it more than once in Military Bride: "Distance is to love like wind is to fire: it kindles the great and diminishes the weak." Hoards of relationships in our unit had already failed due to infidelity during the course of the deployment, and hoards more ended at the close of the deployment because time had further frayed the edges of a love that was apparently already threadbare.

During the deployment, while I consistently felt physically alone, I never felt as though the ordeal was something I was facing by myself. While I was lonely here at home, Matt was lonely on the other side of the world. Never once did I view our respective loneliness as separate entities - granted we weren't always readily available to support one another in our darkest hours, this was something we were doing together. And we were going to come out of it together. CaliValleyGirl recently wrote a post about Deployment as Couple's Therapy, and for us, it truly was (though, like she says, "That is not to say that my boyfriend and I needed couples therapy before he left, however, I do think that our relationship actually benefited more from our separation, than was harmed."). I think it's so important not forget that, notwithstanding distance, you're still a part of a pair, half of a whole, or however you want to look at it. I knew so many wives who made the deployment all about them and their sufferings - this isn't about who was left behind, and it's not even necessarily about waiting. It's about being supportive and being capable of looking beyond yourself in order to offer that support. The love that can survive a deployment is the kind of love that needs to be more prevalent in the world - it's that selfless (and truly unconditional) love that can handle anything. I'm so grateful to have Matt home safe and sound and so grateful at how our relationship has pulled through. It's damn good to have him home!

7 Comments:

Blogger Karen said...

Yaaaay!! The devil car is gone!

I totally understand what you mean about fast forwarding to your wedding day. My wedding was planned really fast (4 months) so I didn't really have any issues. BUT, my best friends wedding was in planning for over a year. By the time June rolled around, her wedding was in August, we were both just about to lose it. It was SO stressful.

I can't wait for your wedding either! You'd think with how excited I am about it that I was going or something. LOL.

6/14/2006 5:36 PM

 
Blogger Courtney said...

I am so glad you got rid of that car. I am sorry you are so stressed about the wedding. I hope it gets easier. I am trying to plan mine as early as possible to reduce the amount of cramming at the end. I am down to 1 year and 2 days before mine. I hope yours comes quickly. It will be great though. Keep thinking about the outcome. And when it gets really stressful put your dress on. That will make you happy again. Good luck.

6/14/2006 8:16 PM

 
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'm glad the car is no longer your problem!

I'm glad you wrote the about the deployment - thats exactly how I felt about Treys past deployment and how I feel going into this one. (if they ever make their minds up to go)

I remember what I wanted most out of his last deployment was to learn to be happy with myself. Not being dependant on him for happiness. I felt like I was only happy with him - but not with myself. Does that make any sense? Anyway, soon after he was gone I realized I had a choice. I can sit here and cry or I can be happy with or without him. Happiness isnt about whats happening outside of you, but what happens INSIDE of you. And yes, we became a lot stronger after the whole thing. Yes, after the "honey moon phase" worse off I could have chocke dhim out a few times.. lol... but looking back it really was the best thing for us. We never take each other foregranted. ok... I'm rambling... but I loved this post. I needed to read something like this again.

6/15/2006 8:22 AM

 
Blogger Nikki said...

Great post! I think every deployment survivor feels similarly. It definitely makes you stronger as both an individual AND as a couple.

Take a deep breath...not much longer and the wedding planning will be behind you and you'll be left with only the happy wedding memories.

Oh...and congrats on getting rid of the car! :)

6/15/2006 12:52 PM

 
Anonymous christy said...

Ding, dong the witch car is dead! Hip hip HOORAY!!!!

And yeah it is DAMN good to have Matt home, and Ryan, and everyone else.

I love this: "this isn't about who was left behind, and it's not even necessarily about waiting. It's about being supportive and being capable of looking beyond yourself in order to offer that support."

Amen!

6/16/2006 10:12 AM

 
Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

You know, I think I am slowly starting to digest the whole deployment experience. It is like I suppressed how harsh it was at the time, and now it is all rushing to me. I can remember saying goodbye to him after R&R, and watching him walk away, thinking it may be the last time I saw him, too. So sad. But like you mentioned in one of your last posts before Matt came back, I wouldn't un-wish it, even though I would have rather had him for the year.

6/20/2006 6:37 AM

 
Blogger Karen said...

You still alive over there or did the wedding gobblins get you?

6/28/2006 6:40 AM

 

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