23

The One Thing…

Before Hubs deployed, I thought the one thing I wouldn’t be able to function without in my day was him.  That’s an obvious no-brainer, right?  But after the deafening cone of silence dissipated after the first week or two, I began to consider the opportunity the ARNG had presented me with. 

Could it be possible? 

By removing my ‘one thing’ from my life for a time, I now had the chance to select something new to put on that list…

At first, the obvious go-to on that list was the children.  My little blonde-haired, five-year-old cherub and my tiny red-haired, one-year-old who were both full of life and energy.  They laughed and hugged and sang and planted sticky kisses on my cheeks.  Sometimes, my oldest would even insist on sleeping in my bed so I wouldn’t have to be alone at night. 

Just when I began to think my ‘one thing’ problem had been solved, I realized I might need a little break from my new ‘one thing.’  Laughing is only a decibel level or two away from shrieking.  Hugging is only a hair’s breath away from losing one’s balance and throwing a sibling unceremoniously to the ground.  Singing can strangely turn into taunting and sticky kisses are routinely accompanied by sticky hands…which can do a number on Mommy’s work clothes and hair.  And, the oldest’s ‘slumber parties’ rarely ended without an elbow to the ribs, feet under my nose or slobber all over my pillow.  I am not (very) ashamed to now admit that there were mornings when I actually didn’t mind going to work, especially after an extra long evening of tantruming and household chores, repeated requests for water and leaky diapers.

I determined at that point that perhaps human beings were too unpredictable to be my ‘one thing.’  Oh, sure, my husband and my children are THE list should push truly come to shove and we are talking the very real ‘one thing.’  But, for the purpose of deployment, I wanted something I could count on to hang by me and without fail to deliver on demand.  The obvious choice?  Cell phone and internet technology…perfect!  It didn’t take long, however, and you know how the story goes…disappointment.  It was nearly a one-sided relationship.  I gave and gave and gave…carrying my phone everywhere without fail, remaining ‘plugged in’ 24/7 and nearly breaking bones racing to my desk when I heard an IM tone on my desktop.  All that effort for so little return.  Let’s face it, no matter how much contact you have via phone or the internet, it isn’t enough.

Finally, I turned to coffee.  I think we all know what too much of a good thing ends in — yes, heartburn and jitters and even more difficulty sleeping…like I needed help with any of those things!

Then, before I knew it, Hubs returned and I realized what I probably knew all along…my list of ‘one things’ works much better as an entire list.  Without the one things balancing each other out, things sometimes get out of whack.

Even though we know having all our ‘one things’ is a good place to be, what is your ‘one thing’ when having them all isn’t possible?  Have you found something that has filled a gap for you?  Share in comments!

About Guard Wife

Melinda, who writes as Guard Wife, hails from a rural farming community in a Midwestern state. She moved to the southwest part of her home state to attend college and remains there some twenty years later. Today, she's a licensed attorney who spends most of her professional time working within the academic support and bar exam passage programs at her alma mater. Her volunteer interests vary from pro bono legal work to Brownie troop leader to Soldiers' Angels. Melinda and her husband have three daughters, the youngest of whom the couple brought home from Ethiopia the same week Melinda's husband returned from a deployment to Iraq.

Melinda also writes about her experiences as the mom of an older internationally adopted child at www.5forHope.com and maintains her individual blog at www.mostcertainlynot.typepad.com.