Wednesday, January 12, 2011

40 hours

40 hours. Some people put in 40 hours per week at work. It is 23.8% of an entire week. It is also the approximate amount of time I get to spend, in person, with my husband every week. Which makes 40 hours an allotment of time that has taken on new, precious meaning during the past 6 months while my husband has been stationed away from the family, a 6 hour drive (on a good day) away .

That 40 hours includes the time spent sleeping over 2 nights. It includes the time we attend to our own needs: work outs, showers, etc. It includes the time caring for the kids together, at gymnastics and swimming lessons. It sometimes includes the time I spend at work when on-service and covering a weekend. It is time that we are intensely focused on being together, of being a team reunited. It is time I can't wait for at the end of each week, and time that passes all too quickly.

I know this now: we will never take living in the same house, of falling into the same bed each evening, for granted again.

Making each week's 40 hours, from Friday, late at night to Sunday, early afternoon, that much more savored is the fact that soon,  in a couple of months, those 40 hours per week will become 0. 0 x 50 weeks to be exact, the amount of time that he will spend in Afghanistan in active duty. He'll have a total of 2 weeks of "R and R" sometime in the middle.

Working full-time and parenting 2 small kids with 1 on the way (6 weeks and 1 day to go before due date, but who's counting) has only been possible by lots of help at home. Ever since we had nannygate x 2 late last fall, my parents have basically moved in and are a tremendous help. They plan to stay well after I have the baby when another family member has committed to helping for several months. The new nanny search can wait until then.

Despite all of this madness, I'm remembering to count my blessings because they are many. To have retired parents willing to give up their previously enjoyed retired life to come live with us. To have a job which leaves me satisfied, happy, and not (usually) overworked. (Any overworking is my own fault and side projects I've taken on, not expected by my job). I have a wonderfully supportive boss who understands my family situation. I have a rock-solid marriage; we know that this separation and challenging 12 months ahead will only bring us closer. I have the world's best neighbors. We have fabulous friends who have helped so much already this year, both in their actions and their mental and emotional support. We belong to a wonderful church. So, now, 2 months before he is deployed, I am at peace and stand ready to face what comes my way.

One of my Christmas presents this year was a Philosophy set of products from their Amazing Grace fragrance line. If you're not familiar, Philosophy products come with smart names and little blurbs that inspire. The blurb on the Amazing Grace body butter I found especially resonant:

"how you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you climb down the mountain. and, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. in the end, it all comes down to one word: grace. it's how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light."

My plan is to wear this and live this. Every day. It smells, well, amazing, and it might just help me through the months to come.


  1. My husband deployed before we had a child (who was born exactly 9 months to the day after he returned home), but I always maintain that that time apart was one of the best things for our marriage - all you can do from the other side of the world is talk. He rarely wanted to talk about his day, so we talked about "big" things instead, and now we're so much on the same page.
    - An Active Duty Internist

  2. I love your positive attitude! You go girl! :)

    I think that's what important - to have a positive attitude when trying times are ahead of us. We have to be thankful for what we have and make the best out of the situation.

  3. You have an amazing attitude. Wishing you all the best in the last 2 months of pregnancy, and a safe deployment for your husband.

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for your family's service to our country! As someone who knows at least somewhat what it's like to have family members deployed (both my brothers), I feel for you and the stress of being without your husband for the next year. Best wishes for a smooth time apart for you and your children. -Rebecca

  5. I see your math (2+1 on the way plus 40 hrs minus 40 hrs + 2 nannygates + many research successes + parents) makes for countless hours of grace on your part, thanks for inspiring us all.

    And so lucky and fitting that you have such a wonderfully supportive family.

  6. Profound and beautiful. Hugs and prayers for the year to come!

  7. I stand, as always, in awe! Best of luck to you and your family in the coming year ahead, and thank you to your husband for his service. You are amazing! :)

  8. Your blog is always fascinating to read.

  9. Good luck, KC!

    Josh will probably graduate next December and apply to the training academy soon after...he'll be gone somewhere between 7 months and a year, coming home on weekends when he can. I'm nervous about all of it, not because I don't think our relationship can handle it...just because we've always been together and I'm going to miss him like crazy.


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