Friday, May 10, 2013

Infants, Deployments, & Blogging.

A couple of months ago, I was back in my hometown and out to lunch with a bunch of family friends when the subject of my blog came up. I got some wonderful compliments from a few of them (the rest suddenly became interested with their cinnamon breadsticks and avoided eye contact, I'm not going to think about what that might mean... I didn't use the f-word, did I?!?), and then asked me why I had quit. Then, a few days ago, I was able to chat with my husband on the phone and he mentioned his (nonjudgmental) surprise that I hadn't posted anything else. Finally, I just logged in and Blogger told me that my last entry was 8 months and 4 days ago. Seriously??

So, I'm using these incidents as motivation - impetuses, if you will, to provide the world with my specific brand of snark/humor/narcissism.

Pre-deployment, my thoughts about blogging when something like this:

I've always had lots of free time when my husband is out to sea - I'll be able to post stuff regularly and it will be so nice to use my brain for things other than keeping track of when I last fed/diapered/bathed my infant!

Obviously, this was foolish. I should have known.

My other thought was that I assumed that deployments/patrols** would be infinitely more difficult with a baby. Taking care of a baby involves, you know, functioning. A mom can't just sit on the couch and watch Hope Floats on repeat, while surrounded by bags of popcorn and empty wine bottles. Pre-baby, I was amazed by the wives with kids, and frequently expressed my awe, saying, "I don't know how you do it! I struggle enough trying to make an emotionally healthy atmosphere for the cat when my husband is gone." Now, I'm not sure how I did it then. Not once in 7+ months have I sobbed in the car while listening to the latest Dierks Bentley cd. I actually make food with a pan fairly frequently. All of that time that I used to spend pouring jealously over my married friends' Facebook pictures of them smiling with their husbands as if mocking my misery is now spent reading and rereading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See and changing diapers (on a related note - can anyone tell me how many thousands of times I will have to say, "Don't touch - there's poop down there!" before my child stops trying to participate in the changing of the diaper ritual?).

Is there anything that hasn't changed about deployments/patrols?

Yes. Yes, there is.

Parenthetically, yes - there are obviously things that are more difficult about deployments with babies, not the least of which is trying to find a good babysitter. It's hard, too, to think about how much my husband has missed just this last year, and how much he could potentially miss in the future. Plus, being The Person for an infant is a gargantuan and endless task - enjoyable, of course, but exhausting.

All of that leads me back to blogging. The baby is an amazing sleeper. I can put him in his crib and not worry about him for 10-12 hours, which is absolutely lovely. But, these 10-12 hours go by quickly, and are mostly spent trying to emotionally recover from the day's chaos. Here's the bedtime routine: Bath, bottle, book/snuggles, crib, couch, zone out at the tv, realize that 5 hours of NCIS and solitaire have whizzed by, eat a few handfuls of trail mix, bed. (Oh, somewhere in there I should have listed, "spend large sums of money on Amazon.") It used to be that the time I would normally spend making dinner and hanging out with my husband while he was in port became "me" time and I could do productive things with it. This is the time I assumed I would spend blogging or taking classes. Instead, I zone. Aaaaand, that's why it's been 8 months and 4 days.

My current plan that I may/may not have the motivation to implement includes taking my child to the Childhood Development Center for a few hours, while taking myself and my laptop to a cute little beach bar I know that makes killer fries and has several beers on tap. Oh, and I'm going to volunteer, too, maybe. I'm more excited about the beer and blogging.

On a related note, we're almost done with this hellish deployment (assuming the Navy takes pity on us and doesn't extend it again.) It's good, 'cuz Lord knows I miss this man.

(many thanks, again, to our photographer)

**Disclaimer: My husband is Navy. In submarines (literally *in* submarines). His deployments on this boat are typically 6-8 months, whereas our last boat did 3-4 month patrols. All that to say, the sacrifices that I make are different than the spouses of soldiers who are deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan for 12-18+ months, and I hope that none of those spouses will take offense at the use of the word "deployment." Also, since there are only a handful of women in subs, and I haven't met any of those women (or even know if they have spouses), I use the word "wives." My not-so-inner feminist requires me to make this clear.