Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reunions and Reality Checks

It's been twenty days.  Twenty good days, but also twenty bittersweet days.  We're together, and I'm thrilled about that, but being here brings certain previously avoided realities to light that put a damper on my mood.  Amid the castles and train rides and cookie baking and other magical things... There is a lot of tension and quite a bit of fear.

I LOVE visiting here.  Germany is by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  I don't think I'll ever be bored of exploring here, and there isn't a word that can describe how wonderful it is to be able to see Kyle at the end of each day.  His hours are long and his days off are far between, but the few hours we have are heavenly...and strained.

It's hard, having been apart so long.  Both of us have been changing at our own paces, adapting to the situation the best way we know how.  For his part, he's been morphing into the "perfect soldier."  Unfortunately that includes shutting out a lot of emotions and not thinking about things going on back home or things that will happen "after the Army."  And me?  I'm the exact opposite.  I do my best NOT to think about Army things and focus on making our home and looking ahead to the freedom of being out of the Army.  It makes for rather tense conversation.  (I mean, how exactly do you reconcile a soldier's need to deploy with a wife's need to protect her family?  Both are deep-rooted and valid instincts.  How do you discuss that without wanting to rip each other's hair out?)

We are so different.  We always have been though, so I'm not really surprised.

Don't get me wrong:  There are no second thoughts or regrets, and not even the inkling of doubt.  But that doesn't mean that our being together comes without effort.  It is a gargantuan effort.  On both our parts.  I mean, to be perfectly honest, our being together is holding both of us back.  I'm putting my college and career on the back burner, and he's turning down opportunities that would take him away from me.  Not being together is not an option, so we have to find a way to accept the sacrifices without being resentful.

I love Kyle with everything in me, but I also love a lot of people back home I'm going to be leaving behind.  I love security I had there. I love my crappy car and my desk job with a forgiving boss (who isn't firing me, by the way).  I don't want to leave those things, but I also don't want to be without Kyle.  Kyle will always win out in a self-imposed ultimatum.  And that's exactly what becoming an Army wife is.  It's a self-imposed ultimatum between your life and a life with the man you love.  It's not like being any other kind of wife, because in those marriages the two lifestyles blend.  In the Army world, their lifestyle takes over and you have to hang on for the ride.  It takes a lot of strength, truck loads of patience, a lot of work and enormous amounts of love to forgive that loss.  And for me?  It's forgiven, but the hurt and frustration is still fresh and prominent.

Am I even making sense?

But here's the real kicker. Even with all that frustration, even with the constant inner-struggle, I am happier here with him than I have been in the last months of comfort at home without him.  I don't regret my decision at all.  I honestly think it was the right one.  How on earth can so many contradictions exist in one person?  I think you have to be a certain kind of crazy to choose this life.  (Both soldier and spouse.)

Four more hours until Kyle's done working for the day.  I'm off to bake some more cookies.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Surprising News, and a trip to Heidelberg Castle

I'm supposed to be on my way home right now.  Instead I'm here giving you guys what I think is excellent news: We've extended my stay.  Until the end of the month.  :)  It turns out eighteen days isn't quite enough.  Please enjoy the following photos from our trip to the Heidelberg castle, and cross your fingers I don't lose my job for being away so long.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Quick Update:

I am here, safely.  I arrived only one hour later than scheduled.  I am learning my way around post and meeting my future neighbors.  I am relishing every moment of this.  And yes, it was a wonderful reunion.

I hope you guys are all having a great summer while I'm here!  For those of you in my book club, please excuse the hiatus.  There will be a book club post as soon as I get home.  I'll have tons of excuses/stories to tell when I get back to a steady internet source.  Lots of love from Germany, from both of us.  :)