At the moment, I’m 36 weeks pregnant with our first child. The last nine months are rapidly coming to a close and I am really looking forward to meeting our daughter. I know, in that moment, the endless anxiety of specialist visits, the night after night of insomnia, and the oh-so-attractive waddling will all be well worth it. I cannot wait to hold the baby I’ve been watching grow (and even yawn!) on ultrasound for the past nine months. At the moment though, I feel like a beached whale.
The other night, after trying for two and half hours to fall asleep after my third trip to the bathroom, I decided to lie on the couch and see if HGTV could lull me to sleep. Eventually, I must have crashed because I woke up to my husband standing over me, asking what was wrong.
“I woke up,” he said, rubbing his eyes, “and I didn’t know where you were!”
I assured him I was fine, that he would, in fact, know if I was in labor, and I followed him back to bed. As he was falling back asleep I said, “You know, when I wake up, and you aren’t here, I never know where you are…”
“I couldn’t deal with that,” he said, throwing an arm over me and falling back asleep.
I laughed to myself, thinking of all the times I use that line. For example, I couldn’t deal with working on a sub like my husband. I get claustrophobic if there are too many people in one aisle at Wal-Mart. I also thought about all the times people say that to me, like when I can’t say for sure when or where we will move next, or even if my husband will definitely be home for his daughter’s debut. Usually, I respond by saying you get used to it, or that there is no sense worrying over something that hasn’t happened. Sometimes, I just tell people that is why God invented Ben and Jerry's.
Sometimes though, it really helps to talk to someone who knows what it means to be dealing with the stuff you can't deal with. It helps to know that yes, other people get last minute order changes. And, no, the moving people aren’t just out to get you. It helps to see so many military families and know that yes, it is tough when dad (or mom) is away, but the kids really do turn out okay. It helps me to hear young moms and seasoned moms talk about diapers, breastfeeding, colic, choosing high school classes, and even colleges. For one, it reminds that I will not, in fact, be a whale forever. More importantly, though, it reminds me that I am part of a long history of women who have raised children and supported their military husbands at the same time. That has never been an easy feat. It never will be. Knowing though, that other moms are facing this challenge and succeeding is comforting to me.
So, thanks for being a few steps ahead of me. I might have no clue, yet, how to actually raise a baby, let alone a toddler, grade-schooler, or teen. I might be the annoying friend who posts way too many cutesy updates on Facebook. I might ask dumb questions or complain about things that are no longer on seasoned moms’ radars. If you can, overlook the fact that I still can't manage to close the stroller with one hand, and please reach out to me with an attitude of support. Because I think that is the best way to accomplish our common goal: protecting the legacy of the strong military family.