I was trying to figure out why this transition was so difficult this time around. In the past it wasn't so hard. I started wondering if it was because the kids were older, was it because we are busier? What was making this so hard? I'm an over analyzer, I will dwell on it forever until I figure out my answer or at least get something that appeases me for the moment. It was really bothering me. I finally figured it out this morning. Not having Kevin around this past week was HUGE, it was very obvious. In the past, Kevin has not been home much at all. Between field exercises, deployment, drill sergeant duty and just regular work, he was rarely home. We went over 6 years without a 4-day weekend (I promise, I'm not exaggerating). The past three years have been such a blessing, I considered myself pretty spoiled by Army wife standards in the respect of how much time we had with Kevin. He had leadership who really let him focus on his family. He was available, physically and emotionally. Something that took us a year to get used to (2010 was a bit rough for us). Once we figured out the balance, we were able to enjoy being a family.
Daniel was without his dad for almost all of the first eight years of his life. The past three years have really helped him bond with his daddy. If Kevin was somewhere, Daniel wasn't too far behind. This week has been really rough on him. It's been trying to find a balance of giving him the compassion he needs without letting too much go without some firm discipline. I heard a great message today at church that I really feel is an answer to my prayers in regards to how to handle Daniel. Love him. It's simple.
Neil handles these things differently. He does not do change well. I try hard to just keep him balanced with routine. With school getting ready to start, that is going to help him so much. He is not a huge talker and is rather comfortable keeping his emotions to himself. I respect his boundaries but as a mother I still need to know he's okay. Sports have been such a blessing for us in regards to him. He is able to really put all of his energy into what needs to be done in sports. It's a great venue to channel his emotions through. I make a lot of exceptions for him in regards to how involved he can be. I know it will bless him to give him every opportunity to grow as a wrestler and football player because I have received the answers that it will help him overall to become the man I want him to be. I am grateful for that.
Michael, my sweet Michael. I am forever grateful for this tender, kind-hearted boy that the Lord blessed me with first. Kevin and I have tried so hard his entire life to not put the burden of him being the oldest on him. We never want him to feel that he is expected to be the man of the house while his dad is away. Michael, however, does that on his own. He wants so much to help our family in every way he can. He has such a willing heart to serve our family, his friends and anyone who has need. He has been such a source of strength for me this week. His example and his love have been so valuable. I have been reminded softly by the Spirit to just let him help because it his desire to do so.
As far as for me, I have already received some of the answers as to why this separation was placed in our lives. During my walks this week, I have really been working on clearing my mind and just thinking. I normally keep a really busy schedule. The past three years I have been really involved in our community. Kevin being home made it easy for me to go out and do what I wanted, it really allowed me the flexibility to go and do. I am so grateful for that time and have no regrets to the time I committed to doing what I love. I knew with him leaving I would have to really prioritize and adjust my schedule. I made the decision to take August off and be with the boys as we transitioned into the next year. Initially I had a lot of guilt about that. I felt like I was letting down organizations I had committed my time to. I won't lie and say I still don't have moments where I feel that way but what I realized this past week is that if an organization can't respect me for prioritizing my family then it's not something I want to be a part of.
My boys aren't fully dependent on me anymore. They don't need me to feed them, change them or help them with too much in the physical sense but what I realized is that need me to be present for them emotionally. I have had a great time this past week just being with them. The small chats on the drives to the store or the smiles I get when they walk past me in the kitchen. Those are the moments that I am meant to have, those are what is most important right now. As I was praying silently this morning and doing some repenting over some of my reactions to things that happened this past week out of frustration, I got a very clear message in regards to my boys; be there for them, be present emotionally.
I feel like I've really grown this past week. While I know that this separation will have it's difficult moments, I'm excited to see what else is in store for us individually and as a family. The Lord truly does provide and He is mindful of us and what we need and for that I am truly grateful.