I hope everyone’s summer is going well! Life has been pretty crazy over here. We officially made it through Annual Training 2020!! Excuse me while I go and do your worst jump/skip/dance routine over this news! For those that are not familiar with what I’m talking about, Annual Training is when my husband is away for a minimum of 2 weeks every year and has very minimal to no contact at all. Also, this always happens in the summer…during garden harvest and any crazy cosmic thing that could happen while he is gone…like a global pandemic. This year was a 6 week long training…thanks COVID.
yes, I may be a little dramatic, but I think I have a right to be. I literally hold down the fort at our 40 acre little hobby farm and take care of a toddler all while working 30 hours per week outside the house. Some days I feel like f*cking superwomen and others I end the day in tears watching some Netflix. What can I say, we can’t win them all. Every time Brett leaves for any training or deployment my car ends up in the shop. Seriously, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!!!! Up until like 3 years ago every time he left a family member of mine died, so I will take this route instead. But for real, my car ended up in the shop only 1.5 weeks in and $350 later I had to replace something in my car that Brett replaced himself 2 years ago for only $50…..*palm to face*…
To make everything better, this year when my lovely husband left, I was left to take over a master bathroom remodel, shop re-build, garden harvest, and we decided to redo our deck!!! So I became a solo parent and a contractor over night. Yeah, this isn’t exactly what I thought I was signing up for when I married a military man, but I also, wouldn’t have it any other way.
But for real, how do we do it? Looking back, there were days that I thought would never end. But we got through it and both Raegan and I are stronger for it! Between many crafting sessions, pizza and movie nights, books, lots of outside playtime, and a lot of schedule family time, we kept busy and that I think helps a ton!
Please don’t think I have it all figured out and came out of this knowing the answers to everything. I DEFINITELY DO NOT! This is just me sharing what worked for us and what I’ve learned from experience and from help from family and friends.
Believe it or not, the weekends are the worst. For us at least. During the week we are busy all day at daycare and work and then when we get home its time to start dinner, clean the house, do laundry, playtime and then before we know it; its bedtime and we start all over. But the weekends are long…and its hard keeping a toddler busy, especially by yourself! So we had at least ONE “event” or family thing scheduled for each weekend to keep us excited all week long and it gave us something to do over those long weekends. I highly suggest it! For us we had family come up, went to the beach, went to the cabin, and many other things.
One of the hardest things for our toddler was understanding time…”when was daddy coming home?”….”is he on his way home yet?”….I can’t even tell you how many times I was asked these questions, and it broke my heart every single time. So we made a COUNTDOWN CHAIN! We used some scrap paper lying around and Raegan and I decorated each chain with cute sayings for when he came home to look at. Which now that I mention it, he still hasn’t looked at them…oops! Anyways, this was the best way for her to acknowledge the length of time needed before dad would actually come home. Plus it also turned into a fun craft that took up an entire evening before bed, WIN WIN in my book! Every morning Raegan was so excited to take a link off of her chain that she would start waking up earlier and earlier to do so…which isn’t what I had in mind, but hey, it worked!
Another idea that worked for us, which is crazy to think about because its so simple, but open communication was a huge asset for Raegan. What I mean by this was I was completely honest with my 3 almost 4 year old about everything involving daddy. When she asked me if I missed dad, I would tell her how much and we would talk about it. When we were realizing he would be home a day later than we thought, we talked about it and she understood. When she asked what daddy was doing, we talked about how daddy was doing his Army job and being an army man in the California desert. By the way, she got so good at saying California that its probably one of the cutest words out of her mouth…that and Olive 🙂 She was aware of what was going on and it felt so good to be able to talk to her about it and for her to communicate with me her feelings about it all.
Videos! Boy, what a simple, yet amazing invention. A dear friend of mine advised me to have videos of Brett telling Raegan how much he missed and loved her so she would be able to hear it whenever she needed it! What a great spirit-lifter for her when she’s having the “daddy blues”! Plus I got to witness the best part…watching her reaction to seeing him every time, just made my heart explode!
In the end looking back it doesn’t seem like a whole 6 weeks actually went by. It seems like it was just a few really long days that came to an end. Thanks to our loving family for keeping Raegan and I busy and being there for us a long the way! We definitely couldn’t have done it without you!
Until next time,