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Hearts Aren't For Sleeves

I can tell the end of this deployment is in sight.

Aside from the long to-do lists, the bags beneath my eyes, the new white hairs popping up all over my head (note to self: root touch-up tomorrow night...STAT!), and my constant desire for but inability to sleep, I'm also not explaining myself anymore.

I've kind of decided it isn't anyone's business what's going on with me and, especially if you don't know me, if you have an issue with how my show is running at this point? Well, too bad.

At the beginning of deployment, I live under the disillusion that I will be able to be all things to all people. Then, the deprivation of some of my favorite things (sleep, sex, help at the house) sets in and I have moments where I cannot even remember important things, let alone peripheral ones.

In those moments where I'm caught, I'm self-deprecating. I apologize profusely. I trot out that my husband is deployed, I'm just a girl in the world, and I realize I'm an abysmal failure and could someone please just put me out of my misery and forgive my ineptness?

But now?

Hell to the no.

I've made it. Almost. I'm soooo close to the end of this personal nightmare that I can taste it. Deployment is bad enough, but when you throw in the mess that our international adoption has become (we have had our case reset in Ethiopia four times and our next court date is February 8th), you have a perfect storm. At this point, I'm thankful that my girls leave the house on time with their backpacks, shoes on, coats zipped and hair combed. If teeth are brushed and snacks are in the backpacks, I am ready to nominate myself for Mother of the Year.

Today, I had the unfortunate occasion of realizing my youngest had been invited to a birthday party sometime last week for which we had not responded. On various occasions, I remembered this party but either could not locate the invitation or could not locate the RSVP phone number at a respectable time to place the call. I finally thought to use the school directory to locate contact information and sent an e-mail only to have it bounce back to me.

I decided today I would call and leave a message on the family's machine explaining that I had dropped the ball and that while we appreciated the invitation, we realize how outside the reasonable window of RSVP'ing in the positive we are, so M2 would forgo the party, but bring a gift Monday.

The mom answered the phone. And, in a very short time span, my youngest was insulted (as the mother said it "didn't surprise her at all" that M2 had not forked over the invitation) and I was lectured (when OUR daughter talks about someone inviting her to a party, we ask to see the invitation and MAKE her give it to us).

My immediate impulse? To make up some sort of reply that worked in how I've been doing this on my own for so long and I'm not all that great at it and whatever else. My second impulse (which, unfortunately, did not occur until after I'd hung up) was to reiterate my plan of her not coming, sticking to it and bidding this woman a fond adieu. Instead, I endured being spoken to by someone using the "I'm speaking to a telemarketer" tone who was telling me all the details of this party as a backhanded way of showing me just how much my phone call and M2 coming was inconveniencing her.

I wanted to select the gift for this child. I had my heart set on a huge box of Moon Sand, as it is the Devil's work. I had designs on handing a beautifully wrapped box to the mom, telling her M2 didn't quite know what to get, so I selected the perfect gift for her kid. Moonsand

Unfortunately, M2 put the kibosh on it by saying, "I don't think she'd prolly be allowed to have that stuff because it is such a mess!" BUSTED!

So, we settled on a non-noisy, non-crumbly, non-messy, non-annoying, perfectly respectable present.

I can't decide if I didn't do the knee jerk, "I'm a single mother because of deployment!!!" response because I'm maturing or because I'm too tired to care anymore. Either way, it was a good reminder. I sometimes forget that I have no clue what is happening with other people and I have not right to really be aggravated at them for silly things. For that matter, I have no clue what as up with this other mom today, but I guess for a first impression, I'd have tried a little harder? Maybe it's just that I have enough on my plate and I really don't need to worry about other people's dysfunction and try to make me seem less lazy or crazy by pawning off things on deployment. I wish the most important thing I had to worry about was a kid's birthday party. Gosh! Those were the days!

Incidentally, I also wished I'd kept my kids as uninvolved hermits like I did before first grade or so. I had a good run, I suppose, but those days were so much less complicated!

I'm interested in knowing if this "cut me a break as I have deployment brain" thing is a phenomenon unique to control freaks like me or if everyone does it? I guess if you live amongst a bunch of military folks experiencing the same thing, this may not be as big of an issue--either everyone goes through this too or no one cares what you're doing. Is there a point where you just stop telling people your husband is deployed so lay off already!?

Incidentally, if you never have to say this or have an impulse to say it because you have it so together, you never drop any of the balls you're juggling in the air, let me know where I can sign up for your perfectionist correspondence course, k?

[Modified from a post at Most Certainly Not]

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