Saturday, August 28, 2010

All Rolled into One

In the busy-ness of my day, I caught myself retreating to my own thoughts. The happy "noise" around me stemming from the excitement of a birthday party just a few hours away, makes me smile,... for the most part. How could it not be happy? There are Oreo cupcakes (that alone can make my day), friends from the neighborhood and church plus their families (I love to invite whole families still instead of a "drop off."), presents arriving daily in the mail, cards to boot, the hustle and bustle of picking up last minute items, and just the sheer look of joy on the birthday boy's face. All of it, should make me smile all day. It is the birthdays though, during a deployment, that leave me happy, exhausted, thankful, and sad, all rolled into one.

The happy is the overwhelming feeling. I am happy to be this little boy's momma. I love that he is our exclamation point. I love that he needs love from me; he is my cuddle bug. I love his attention to detail even to the point that it can drive you mad. I love his slowness (at times) and his ability to savor the moment. I love that God placed him perfectly in this family and even through our challenges, at the end of everyday I still think he is the sweetest, most bighearted 9 year old I know.

The exhausted feeling, exhausted with the planning, the organizing, and the logistics. I was always made to feel so special on my birthdays and that is something I so badly want to pass on to my little ones. But with that need to make everything special and "perfect" for that one little person, and with my expectations sometimes a little lofty, it can leave me feeling like I have run a race especially when it's just me...flying solo.

I am thankful on these days for what I have been given and what I have been blessed with. I wouldn't take a "do over" for anything because where I am is exactly where God has me. Everything up to this point has become the life I know and live for today. I am thankful for my husband, for the specialness of this day for the two of us. I still say my most cherished memories with the man I have been given are in the moments just before we deliver a baby. It's just the two of us, how we first started our life together and how we will end our life together. It's our moment, meant for no one else. And in the preciousness of that moment, we welcome a life together. A life we are responsible for, a life that out of God's Grace, we get to keep...for awhile. I am thankful for each one, each precious one has added a dimension to my life that makes me a better wife, mom, and person.

And at the end, there is sadness. Not much, but it's there. Birthdays, when Patrick is away, are the hardest days of all. It is a picture in general of how much he sacrifices for a country we so dearly love. He misses birthdays. Not by choice but because of the obligation he has, because of the honor he carries. People tell me all of the time, "I don't know how you do it," but really I don't know how HE does it, and in such a way of not making us feel second best even when he misses the birthdays. On these days, I am sad for him and for all that he misses, for the two of us as a couple, and for my little ones. But I'm not looking for people to feel sorry for us; it's our life, it's what we know, and it's our "normal."

Birthdays are celebrations of all the little things: little league games, school days, bike rides, camping trips, talks that make up the everday life of this child. It is being happy for what has been and what is to come. It's being able to smile at the future. With him not there, I can amazingly feel so very alone in the midst of 35 people moving about me, through the chorus of voices singing "Happy Birthday," and the laughs and smiles. But I know I am not. I have a God Who has promised to never leave me nor forsake me, and I stand on that. My feelings are what they are, just feelings. I don't make it a habit of letting my train run on feelings, thankfully. But they're there nonetheless. So today you will have to excuse me if when you ask, "How are you doing?" I answer happy, exhausted, thankful, and just a little bit sad...all rolled into one.


  1. Thank you Amy, I needed that today! With love from China

  2. Just checking up on you from across the neighborhood, and I might quote you. This train doesn't run on feelings.