Last Friday. That was the day my baby first started to get sick. I put him to bed as usual and pretty much immediately (and every hour after that) he woke up gagging on what I realized later was sinus drainage. It scared the heck out of me, and so obviously, I did not sleep for the remainder of the night. The next day, my normally happy baby was just so fussy. He cried and cried and his little voice was hoarse and it was so sad. And then he started vomiting, and I don't know what's considered "normal" so I spent the morning googling "baby vomit" in an attempt to figure it out.
The laundry was piled up. My kitchen needed a good scrubbing. I had a to-do list a mile long, and my brain was all foggy, presumably from lack of sleep. Just as I started on a project, I heard Little Dog gagging and walked into the bedroom, only to discover several neat piles of vomit all over the carpet, which sort of put me over the edge.
So, no, I did NOT actually clean the vomit, but rather put Clark in his carseat and drove immediately to Tuesday Morning so I could do some shopping, at which point, while returning some cloth napkins, the nice Grandma-ish cashier asked how my day was going and I broke down in tears and started telling her about dog vomit. ET CETERA. And she came around the counter and gave me a hug and then patted my hand and told me it would be okay, and I felt so much better.
So many of my friends are in a situation like mine- living FAR away from family. It's just normal in my circle of friends. But other people not in that situation often ask me, "Don't you wish you lived closer to family?" Truthfully, not normally.
It's not that I don't think it would be nice to have family nearby, but I've learned to value the independence that Jared and I have learned--both in marriage and with Clark--because of circumstance. Because it's just us two. When we first got married, I had a very good friend (also a well seasoned Navy wife) tell me, "Your marriage will be stronger because of this lifestyle. When things get tough, you'll only have each other." That has proven true many times.
And now that I'm a mom, in my day-to-day life with Clark, it's still true that I am MOSTLY on my own. And I think I'm a bit tougher for it. BUT. I don't (yet) consider it a hardship. I genuinely enjoy having Clark with me almost 24/7. I love figuring out how to be a mom with just him and me. No one sees my mistakes except him, and he is pretty forgiving when I screw up. YET AGAIN. We work it out together. He's my little buddy and we do everything together. Even if I had family here, I don't know that I would use them much for watching Clark. Because, at this point, I've learned that there's almost nothing I can't do without my little baby strapped to me!
BUT. On days like last Friday, I admit it would be nice to have someone (my mom or mother-in-law maybe?) around to come over and hold Clark for ten minutes while I shower. Maybe just give me a hug and say its okay. But here's the wonderful thing about this life. I DO have people that would do that if I would just call.
Yesterday, I went to the dentist, and he discovered an issue that needed some additional attention and a biopsy the following day. This appointment was important, and I needed to be there. I can think of very few places where I CAN'T take Clark, and the Oral Surgeon's office is one of them. So I was immediately faced with the question...who is going to watch Clark? Because Jared doesn't work a job where he can randomly go in late one day or call in sick. So I posted a plea on Facebook for all of my friends. Could anyone watch Clark for me for a few hours? Within minutes, I had several people text me saying that they could change whatever plans they had and pitch in to help me. Friends that I know would love on Clark for the two hours I would be gone. That would kiss his face and tell him I'm coming back soon!
THIS is what I love about this life. These situations. When you realize your friends are like family. And even though our friendship here is temporary and everyone is going to be moving and shuffling again very soon, while we are here, everyone takes care of each other. Like family.
I'm so thankful. For my friends here, for the grandma-ish cashier that works at Tuesday Morning, and for this crazy life in general.