Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daddy in a Box

I am a military wife.

This is somewhat of an uncomfortable description for me.  I always envision military wives as traditional conservative creatures.  Women who are the backbone of America, organized and resilient.  The military wife likes orders and rules.  And God.  And Country. (But probably not Yale.)

I, on the other hand: Non-white, from MA, a product of the People's Republic of Cambridge, educated abroad, worked abroad, peripatetic, multi-lingual, dual citizen, over-educated, green, godless, feminist, liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay rights.  Didn't take my husband's name (it took Maj. C's brigade three years to get my name and title right).  I don't do pledges or anthems or prayer. I do science, books, and numbers.  Ex-Wall Street.  Ex-academic.  Donates to Planned Parenthood, Dems, and NPR. Wine, not beer. Goat cheese, espresso with lemon rind, and arugula figure prominently in my diet.

I'm probably the embodiment of someone's idea of Blue State boogie-man.  Or should I say boogie-woman.

For Bunny's entire life, we have lived apart.  I have an empire to run (albeit a very small empire) here in MA. Maj. C is stationed in CA.  I often feel like Not the Military Wife of the year, but this works for us.  We're non-traditional people, so we have a non-traditional family.

Most days, as I don't know any better, it's fine.  You juggle.  You work, you cook, your kid is dressed in mismatched clothes.  Cashmere and hair have goo on it. You deal.

Somedays, it sucks. After a long work day of slogging through technical specs, cranky multinationals, government agencies, and pile of legal documents to review, I felt like I go home to my second job.  I have a hungry little Bunny who wants my attention, bad cats who rip into a bag of cat food (leaving cat food all over the floor), piles of dirty cloth diapers to wash, and baby food to make.  The house is a mess, and Bunny is teething.  Then I burn the baby food.  I nearly cry.  I think about all the things Maj. C misses in Bunny, then I cry.

These are the days I feel like I actively have to count the good things in my life (not blessings-- remember, I'm godless).  I feel myself consciously trying "positive self talk" and forcing myself to reframe my chaotic existence.
  • I have a wonderful family-- a healthy baby girl, the best guy in the world, and a supportive family.
  • My family has their health.
  • I have wonderful friends around the world and in my own neighborhood. . .
  • The best neighbors in the world, including one who periodically mows my lawn.
  • I love our home.
  • There is a new Daily Show to watch
  • We're comfortable, especially compared to the rest of the world.
  • I have never known starvation or war.
  • The cats apologized for their transgression
  • I have a new novel to read which I will someday read
  • Due to Steve Job's amazing ipad, Bunny sees her dad every day.  Think about it, this was science fiction a few years ago.  He would be whisper of a memory to her otherwise.
Like a mantra I repeat a list of these things in my head, trying to ignore the cat food pellets digging into my feet, swearing as I load a pile of nuclear-stink diapers into the wash and picking up around the house.  But after a few hours a miracle occurs, the cats have eaten the food off the floor, the wash is done, and the house is orderly again.

1 comment:

  1. To weep because it's hard; to know your blessings* because it can be joyful, too: both of these things are good. (And you even have time to write a blog. Awesome...)
    *I can say this because I'm a reverend. For which I can blame you.