Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thoughts near the finish line

Hello, my name is Anna. It's been 120 days since my last blog.

Wow. That's a long time. It's as long as Air Force deployments used to be. At least I blogged while I was deployed (back in the MySpace blog days). While I could spend this whole post giving excuses and explaining why it's been so long and what I've been up to, I won't. Not now anyway.

I'm writing now because my year "alone" is almost over and that seems to call for a blog post. I've been doing quite a bit of reflection on the past year, trying to sift through all the excitement of anticipating John's homecoming and just everyday busyness of raising a toddler, to find nuggets of what I learned or how I changed or the meaning in it all.

I imagine I'll be sorting a lot of that out in the next few weeks, and hope to write about it here. I will tell you a few of the things I'm aware will be different once John gets home. While it's been hard in so many ways to have lived separately for the past year, we have done as most humans do and found coping mechanisms to help us through it and most of those will be irrelevant once we're together, so we'll have to unlearn them. For me, I'm thinking about:

* Where I focus my time and energy
I've had the luxury (?) of being able to devote almost all my time and energy to Ayla. I hear that most new moms do this anyway, but I haven't had to feel torn about it since John hasn't been here to remind me that he needs me, too. On our last vacation together (Turkey. 3 weeks in May. It was awesome. Yeah, I'm really behind here.), it was very obvious who gets most of me. It was very hard for me to remember a time when I wasn't thinking about her schedule, what she needed to eat, how much sleep she had, where potentially dangerous objects were, what sounds what animals make, more sounds more animals make, how dirty the floor was that thing had fallen on before being in her mouth, and so on. Oh, husband, what?

* How I take care of our home
John is not a husband who judges or complains when the house isn't spic and span, and he certainly does a fair share of the housework. That said, I'm kind of in charge of stuff getting done here, since I am here more, and I have given myself a lot of grace this past year. For his part, he's had a house guy taking care of his laundry, cleaning, and cooking. We both know I'm not that guy, but we'll just have to figure out what this all looks like, at least until Ayla can start pulling her own weight!

* How I take care of myself
Yes, I know John will love me no matter what my hair looks like or how late in the day I wear my pajamas. However, what he is attracted to and what Ayla is attracted to are very different things, so I just need to consider that.

Really, these are issues all, if not most, couples and parents work through. This is the work of marriage, which has looked different for us over the past year.

So, yes. I am excited about him coming home, about him discovering the wonder that is being with our daughter every day, and reconnecting with my best friend. I'm excited about having his help, his insight and his presence. I'm excited about the season stretching out in front of us that has no looming departures or separations from each other. Remember, we knew he was leaving for most of my pregnancy, so everything since then has been tinged with his impending or actual absence.

But I'm also so aware of how intentional we will need to be to do the needed repairs and maintenance to our marriage for it to continue being the healthy, safe place it is. I know we're both selfish, sinful people who need tons of grace as we settle back into an "us."

 I'm more and more convinced every day that healthy marriages that last don't happen accidentally. I'm blessed beyond belief that I'm married to a man I love and am excited to be with, who loves me and is willing and ready to do this work together.

Now, I just need him to step off that plane and into my arms!

We're almost there, people, almost there!

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