Now it really begins....
as Pete is officially BOG (boots on ground). It means all sorts of things can kick in now, like paycheck adjustments and ISMA (well, when the correct OF-126 is filled out and returned....don't ask me why the incorrect version is still out there, but it is!). Most importantly, I suppose, the clock is now ticking in anticipation of the first R&R which will be...
who knows? It's basically dependent on the needs of post and we are simply hoping for something August/September-ish. We just need enough time of Pete here during the kids summer time so we can get in a beach trip (minimal travel on this R&R) and a good bunch of relaxation/family time. We aren't particularly stressed about dates, especially as I'm just hoping to have the whole regular R&R scenario vs. what happened last time.
So Peter has landed, moved into his new abode, unpacked and should be working soon. By all accounts, he seems fine, other than a bit jet-lagged. We, on the other hand, are a tad bit, well, tired? It's not really the single parent thing, as I must admit I was horribly lazy and just let the boy watch Star Wars today. I think it's just the whole, you know, everything. And I'd be ready to complain about it, but for one thing:
It's really not much different than our lives when Pete is here. In fact (gulp), it's almost easier at times. How could that be so?
1. Lowered expectation, attire-wise: When Pete is here, I'd like to think I'll shower at least once a day (well, bathe in some respect) and maybe wear something other than sweatpants. When he's gone, it's yoga pants and t-shirts all the time, baby! Another reason I don't care to use Skype with him. No worries about how I look and I'm not stuck in the kitchen staring at a screen, when I could be walking around and chatting. Therefore, I should apologize to those at Whole Foods in Arlington tonight. I got a few looks and can't help but wonder if my not-so-chic ponytail and Girl Scout t-shirt are no longer at the height of fashion?
2. Lowered expectations, food-wise: Thus far I have done fairly well. Last night was pesto pasta (basil for pesto picked from our front porch 'garden') and tonight was roasted chicken with white wine and veggies (in the crockpot). Now, I have no intention of not feeding them wholesome meals every night (especially since Nick and Kelsey adore my cooking...sniff, sniff), but I have a feeling if one night I fell apart and couldn't cook, they just wouldn't care...and neither would I. However, given how much I enjoy cooking lately, I really don't see that happening often. Plus, the farmers markets are in full swing and, oh, the veggies are amazing!
3. Lowered expectation, house-wise: I don't have to worry at night about what I didn't get finished during the day around the house. The irony is that it is very organized right now and since the kids are helping more with chores (setting, clearing, dishes and sweeping the floor without so much as a peep), I'm less stressed about it than ever. I do still have basement and bedroom stuff to organize, but the mid-level is holding it's own, even with the world's largest Lego collection stored nearly everywhere you look (and step)!
4. Lowered expectations, day-wise: When Pete was here, I felt like we had so much to cram into each day, especially as his departure loomed. His day at work started at 6:45 a.m., ended at 5:45 p.m. and he could have gone to bed the minute he got home. However, that's just beginning our 'family time'. Unfortunately, then schedules went haywire as he wanted more time with the boy and our quality time ended up being me watching cranky people on House Hunters while Peter snored next to me. With our time difference now, it's possible for us BOTH to be awake during conversations and it's a pleasant change!
5. Lowered expectations, behavior-wise: Kelsey has mentioned again that she misses Peter. Nicholas has talked about how Pete is in his "new job" in "you-know-where" and Cait is freaking out because she hasn't packed completely for Iceland. Daddy who? I therefore started to think I would be perfect this time around and never get cranky when it hit me yesterday (are you ready for this revelation?):
I get cranky whether Pete is here or not! No joke!
So, there is no need to stress myself out being the perfect mom, cause then the kids would think I had been kidnapped or at least body (mind) snatched. You know, sort of like when my mom died suddenly several years ago and well-meaning people told me to never cry in front of my kids. I thought this sounded odd, as one might figure kids would theoretically miss grandparents and also shed a tear once in a while. So, I thought since Peter was gone, I should magically be in a good mood.
Except that sort of advice is all well and good until you are driving your kids around one day and you see something that reminds you of said mother (or husband) and you burst into tears (or crankiness). Lie to the kids and they know (and trust me, it hurts kids when you lie to them). Tell them the truth: "I miss my mom" or "I'm cranky cause Dad is gone." and they understand. Oh, and chances are you'll get a hug and a few nice moments vs. having to explain why you need to go to the bathroom for the 20th time to cry or be cranky. Plus, if you have a 4 year old boy, there is NO WAY you are being allowed to go to the bathroom by yourself.
All in all day 2 went very well. Not perfectly, but it's getting there. It's not the most ideal situation, but we know where Pete is, we can reach him and we have everything we need here. And, now we are two days down and I am so hearing a House Hunters episode calling my name....