Thursday, January 11, 2007

when poop hits the floor.

Life here in Mississippi has provided me with new experiences. Some pertaining to the area in which I live, some just general life experiences.

For instance, I have never lived in a place where I pass my home. Multiple times. Not just the first time we were looking for our new home. See, we live outside of the "big city" which is really only the size of about 25,000. We're pretty much in the country. And if you don't believe me, let me just mention the fact that we live across the street from a gas station/convenience store called "The Ole Country Store." No joke. As for this whole missing my house thing….I am thankful to have a few landmarks by which to find my house. I know that when I pass the "Hose 'R' Down" car wash to start looking for my house. I know that if I get to "The Ole Country Store" I have just passed my house. But most people on this highway do not have this luxury. It is by the grace of God that WE do – yes. He knows I need His Grace. Thank God for "The Ole Country Store", because we have already received a few phone calls from them, because delivery trucks looking for our home are lost and can't find our house. Little do they know just how close they really are. If it weren't for these beacons, I would seriously be still wandering around in the dark looking for my home. (Note: I am pretty sure that my pilot husband would pretty proud of me for using this term.)

Now in the beginning I mentioned that life here in Mississippi has given me new experiences. I will tell you about the new "situations" that have since surfaced upon moving here. Ben. Yes, my son. Oh, yes, I have had him in my arms now for just about 20 months, and I have had him in my womb for roughly nine months. So you would think that I would be pretty familiar with that little kid running around the house. Apparently…not so much. This little guy, who really is pretty little for his age, has managed to escape his crib. This is probably one of the biggest shocks since the beginning of motherhood. It has always been a fear that has rotted a small part of my brain, but something I never really thought would happen – at least not any time soon. Especially since he's tinier than other kids. It all started after almost the first week of living here. His sleeping had been erratic. Sometimes he slept well and other nights he was up literally almost as much as a newborn. Mostly I just attributed it to growing pains that we all are blessed to not remember and being in a new home and environment. The first night his crib-climbing trek began, it was one of those bad nights. He had been up frequently and every time I held him to go back to sleep, he would awake as soon as I laid him down. Every parent knows this: it's like they're fake sleeping, just waiting to fool you. So I finally gave up going in there and holding him and decided he was going to need to work it out on his own. Rob couldn't sleep from the crying (Ben's, not mine), so he went in to the living room and watched the TV on mute just waiting out the minutes until Ben fell back asleep. Instead, however, Rob hears a thump and then he hears that the crying has become louder – right outside Ben's door. He opens the door and 'lo and behold' there is Ben standing at the door (NOT in his crib) – crying. So now we have converted the crib into the toddler bed, and this has been quite a heart breaking experience. Both selfishly and unselfishly. Selfishly, I feel like I have been robbed of my evenings with Rob and myself, while Ben is sleeping soundly. Now that Ben knows he can get out of bed whenever he feels like it, he doesn't ever want to go to sleep. Unselfishly, now that Ben doesn't want to go to sleep, he cries so hard that he's throwing up. That is hard to watch. While I don't want a spoiled child, I also don't want him making himself sick to the point of what's happening now.

The second new experience for Ben is toilet training. We're not really going at it aggressively – but more progressively. We have purchased a training toilet, a "Potty Time with Elmo" book that has different sounds attributed to the "throne", and we have made a potty chart that Ben can place stickers on when he does the deed. No, not that deed. So far he has done great. The second day of owning this lovely little dwelling place, he put a small marble-sized no. 2 in the potty. That was extremely exciting. I have always enjoyed talking about poop, but my level of excitement from this small little poop has brought it to a whole new level! (Note: If you don't quite believe just how much I love talking about poop, refer to my blog titled "It's all over when someone poops in the pool!" He has also done 4 or 5 no. 1s in it as well. Dum-Dum lollipops have done a terrific job as a source of motivation. My son at this very moment is enjoying an apple flavored Dum-Dum – which is the result of a small piece of poop in the toilet – and unfortunately a larger one on the floor right next to it. So while we're never "there" yet in life, I do see the remote sightings of that tracking beacon!
He is a smart little boy – having proved to be a little too smart for his own age. I keep telling Rob that I feel like he is advancing too fast for me to keep up. I need to regroup and think up some new tactics. I have always believed that God doesn't keep us comfortable and complacent for too long, and lately that truth has reared itself! I was even getting excited about the prospect of getting pregnant again. But lately it seems that every time I get close to that, Ben goes and throws my world on a slight tilt and scares me back in to my corner! I know that this is only the beginning of parenthood and that I have not even experienced a fraction of what my parents, my in-laws, their parents have endured over the years.

Whether parents or not, life is always about changing and riding those waves. It is always about finding your way home in the dark. Lately, for me it has been a both figurative and literal term. But, I am thankful for the beacons that remind me that God is there to help me through those dark times. I know that I will find my way home if I just keep looking for the "Hose 'R' Down" and "The Ole Country Store". I know that the dark times are the most important times for growth, perseverance, and just knowing that you will see yourself in brighter days. And in those brighter days, you will be genuinely thankful for the darker ones. I keep telling myself that if I can just know that, then maybe I can be thankful at that very moment when darkness is the only thing around me. To me, being wise enough to just know that at that dark moment is true growth.

oh - yes i did.

the truth amidst darkness.

I am not going to complain. My life so far has been relatively easy. Relatively. I had a sharpened sense of its relativity this week as word of an F-16 crash in Baghdad appeared in the news.
I am not going to complain. My life as a military wife has been great. There are days when I do realize the everyday sacrifice that my husband makes being in the USAF. But, in reality, most days it's just not that scary. While I consider it a blessing that Rob has never deployed for months on end, it is a mixed feeling sort of thing. Am I thankful and grateful that he's never deployed to a warzone? Yes. At the same time, I know that there are pangs felt that he hasn't. Not because he wants to be in war, but in a sense, it provides validation and accreditation for the things he has been training for for several years. Imagine going to college for ever and never doing what it is you're learning. OK, well some people do, but you know what I mean, right?

My life has also been easy because for the next three years or so, I know that my husband will not be deployed because of the capacity in which he will be working. He's going to be a pilot instructor, teaching students how to do what he's already done. This puts us in a position of ease, because it's unlikely he'll have to deploy.

I'm blessed. And today, I am recognizing it.

Before we moved here from Clovis, NM my husband was part of the 524th FS at Cannon AFB. It was shortly after we moved that his squadron was deployed to Iraq. Had we been in NM longer, he would have deployed.

Monday morning, Rob calls me from work and tells me that an F-16 went down in Baghdad. While there is a lot of military presence in the desert right now, the community, especially the F-16 community remains small. Well, how many squadrons are there, I ask. He tells me there are two squadrons that fly the block (model) that he flew. Shortly after that phone call, he called back saying that it was a Cannon jet (the squadron he was a part of), but not a Cannon pilot. Talking with a few of my friends back in NM whose husbands are still deployed I have heard the common comment, "I can't imagine never receiving the call from your husband telling you he's OK."

And there is that wife. And there are those five children. Those five children under the age of 8. It hasn't made me cry until just now when I typed those words. I have always believed in the power in the spoken word. Verbally expressing truth has always kept me honest. And in keeping me honest it has kept me humble.
I know that God will take care of that wife and mother and those kids. I know that God gives those people a way to make it. The most beautiful part is that God will use her in ways she can't even imagine at this point. He will use her in inexplicable and indescribable ways to further His Kingdom. I used to think that that was fluff speak, that it was what people said, pastors said, to make themselves feel like it would be OK. But life has shown that "fluff" to be true. I have seen it, and I know that God will carry this daughter of God to be the best she can be for the sake of her children.

Please continue to pray for this family.