This birthday is difficult, and I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm going to guess it has something to do with this:
Saying goodbye. My kids had to say goodbye to the closest thing resembling a father figure right now.
And I guess I had to say goodbye too. Which, I'm a little embarrassed to admit hurt harder than I thought it would. If you by chance saw me burst into tears in a BWWs parking lot- now you know why. Teej has been nothing but great to us. A best friend to Justin. A cool uncle who throws the kids as high as the ceiling. And my very own personal handy-man when I needed it.
But the harder part was this. Saying goodbye to her and her mama. Don't cry Brooklynn. I know this is hard, but you have got to keep it together.
I should count myself lucky, though. I don't just have Whitney, I have Mary Anne too. I never thought I would meet a person who completely understands my nonsense, let alone TWO people.
Who will climb on my back and take awkward family photos with me now? My actual family? Gross.
I've come to terms with the fact that I'm the tall one and never get to be the cuddled. Always the cuddler.
Anyhow, I have been meaning to write this since Whitney drove away ten days ago. But honestly, I haven't had a well enough handle on my emotions to write down anything without bursting into tears. So maybe that plays into why I am so "eh" about today. I love birthdays. Like, LOVE THEM. I love that people call me and that you can get free dessert at Applebees. If I liked Applebees, I'd be all over that.
But I don't like to be reminded that the people I want to be around aren't here. Whitney is gone. My family is in Kansas. (And by the way, they're making me share my birthday party with Lucca when we visit in October. Great, I am going to get sidelined by a two year old. You suck, Luie. Love you!)
Most importantly, Justin is gone. And that always sucks- birthday or not. If I could pick one word to describe his absence, it would be "heavy". Not only does that describe the work load (because I don't do dishes when he's home. I don't. He's really awesome and let's me get away with that.) but just that feeling every night when you go to bed and realize that you are on your 100th plus day of no pillow talk, no back-up, no nothing. Just telephone conversations that eventually turn into 2-minute check-ins because both of you have run out of things to say. Or maybe because I was napping or watching The Mentalist and didn't want to be disturbed. Maybe.
Every morning I get up and know that no matter what, I have two children that fully depend on me. They can't even get into the pantry without me. God forbid I fall backwards over the dishwasher and break my neck (catch that reference, anyone?) and nobody knows that I've fallen and can't get up and the kids are running around the house with no way to eat or even get out of the house. But seriously. This is a legitimate fear, so if you ever don't hear from me for days, please check.
Basically, I'm done. My brain is done, and my body is about one more night of 4 hours of sleep away from falling apart. I need this to be over. Like, yesterday.
The one thing I can say about today is that there is no doubt in my mind that I am loved. Near or far, the ones I care about have gone out of their way to make me feel special, as I deserve (I really do).
Tomorrow is another day closer to this deployment being done, and hopefully does not involve cleaning up the stomach contents of anybody. Fingers crossed.
Until then, if you invite me to do anything that does not involve watching my kids for two days so I can go to a hotel and sleep for 36 hours straight, here is my response: