Friday, July 18, 2008

Pity Party Not Allowed

This was the view of the beach the girls and I went to yesterday with friends:

It's days like yesterday that make me forget and spoil me rotten.

What do I mean? Well, the other night, I was on the phone with a local friend. I was moaning, groaning and throwing myself a pity party about:

  • Our crappy flights home due to Army admin losing track of DH's approved leave form. It's a really long story that I will not bore everyone with all the details of. Basically, DH's leave form was neglected by admin staff (it had been sitting, approved and signed, on someone's desk for THREE weeks, while DH, all along, was being told that it was being worked on) and flights couldn't be booked without it. We're flying home courtesy of the US Military and flights have to booked through a government travel agent (SATO) and an approved leave form and miscellaneous other paperwork must be presented in order to do so. Now that we have the leave form, all direct flights from Lisbon to Newark, that SATO had previously had available, are booked. Now, our only options are long flights, long lay overs and a less than desirable airport destination.
  • DH's long work hours, constant travel and extremely shortened upcoming summer vacation with his family.
  • Flying back to Lisbon with two toddlers by myself. DH has to leave vacation early due to work-related business the rest of August.

Olivia and her friend, Katie, try to outrun the waves

Later that night, as I lay in bed, it hit me. Our stay in Portugal is like being on one long vacation (as my friend, Ana, likes to say). Sure, my husband is away often and works long hours. But we are living a dream in so many ways. This country is a little-known gem of Europe. The food, the people, the history, culture and beauty should be enough to stop any reasonable, happy person from complaining. Then, there's the fact that DH is not getting ready for another year (or longer) deployment as are a couple of families we know are. So, the U.S. Army administration here is not, as DH told them, "the model organization for speed and efficiency in processing paperwork" as they should be (being that there are so many of them here). But, our flights are free and DH will be joining us for at least part of the vacation.

I was complaining to a Navy wife who has never been through a combat deployment, and has only had to be apart from her husband once or twice for very short periods of time. I should be the model Army wife. She should see someone who faces silly things like neglected paperwork, unexpected long flights home, shortened vacations, long work nights and frequent travel with humor and a positive, optimistic attitude. Not, someone who comes across as a snobby, whiny Army wife who hasn't been through any type of life-trials and learning lessons whatsoever.

I've had it tough in the past. Most military families have. However, I'm astonished as to how quickly I can forget just how painfully lonely, fearful, hard and, also, empowering, life as a military spouse can be. So, maybe by writing it down and taking time to think and reflect, I can make a serious attitude adjustment and start setting the example so many of my military friends are already doing every day.


Angie said...

It's hard to stay positive ALL of the time. Allen and I were just talking tonight about how everywhere we've been stationed, there have been things we loved and things we didn't like so much. Just depended on the day (or season) which we focused on sometimes. No matter where we live I find myself complaining about the weather (which is just a ridiculous thing to complain about, anyway.)

Kristin & Jeff said...

I hear ya! Jeff is at NTC and I am just dreading the deployment coming up. Although I have we've done 2 deployments (One 9 months, one 13) This one is different, this one is with children. I am struggling to keep my sanity for 5 weeks - how am I do to do it for 365 days? I think part of it is that I know he as a phone and has recption and hasn't called. When he is Iraq I know his calling options will be limited. Anyways...just venting, sorry.

I love the beach pictures- they are so breath taking. I want to go there and lay on the beach and play in the sand. Oh, how I would love ot be there right now! (its rainy and cold)

Have fun with your vacation. You can fly with two children - its a pain, but doable. I flew with Ian and Blake to VA back in Dec. Just make sure there will be a cold beer waiting for you when you have reached your destination! haha

House Dad said...

How did you guys score free tickets?

Every day I have to remember that there is so much to be thankful for. We haven't been through a deployment yet but Jennifer is halfway through a month in D.C. and I know it's hard on her and the girls.

Katie said...

Wow. That is a beautiful least you get some compensation for all the ass pain the Army puts you through!! :)