While You’re Gone

I’ll take care of things while you’re gone.

I’ll take out the trash on Thursday mornings. I’ll fill up the gas tank. I’ll call maintenance when the water heater breaks. I’ll cook dinner for one (and a half).

I’ll match and fold her too-tight pajamas. I’ll be her audience at bath time. I’ll chase her down and wipe her nose. I’ll go down the biggest, steepest slide at the park with her.

I’ll take care of things while you’re gone, the things you take care of.

Because while you’re gone, the seasons will change. While you’re gone, the pink blossoms on our tree out front will come and go. I’ll chase the mother robin away from building a nest in the front porch light. The grass will fill in green in the bald spots in the backyard. You’ll miss the allergy season while you’re gone (lucky).

But other things will change too. While you’re gone, her feet will get bigger. While you’re gone, she’ll learn a hundred new words. She’ll feed herself with a spoon. Her hair will get longer. She’ll outgrow the clothes she’s in now. Her face will look more and more girlish.

While you’re gone, she’ll steal my phone and lock me out of it at least four dozen times. She’ll throw 100 tantrums. She’ll bonk her head on the coffee table at least once a day. She’ll pull on the doggie’s tail and play in her water bowl like it’s a kiddie pool.

And while you’re gone, she’ll only get to see you on a phone screen. She’ll hear you calling her name through a speaker. She won’t understand why you’re gone until she’s much older.

While you’re gone, you’re gonna miss her like crazy. You’ll miss the tickles and the tantrums, the teething and the toy-throwing, the walks to the park and the dirty diapers.

People don’t take those things into account when they think about deployments.

So honey, I’ll take care of her while you’re gone.

When You Hate Where You Live

So here’s the thing. When my husband found out which plane he would be working with in the Air Force, there were a handful of bases we could have been stationed to. Some decent, some close to home, some meh. Nebraska was the bottom of our list. It was our last choice. And that’s where we’ve been planted.

Maybe it’s because I grew to really love the South. Maybe it’s because my family is there. Maybe it’s because I fell in love there, started my adult life there, became me there. But here just just not home to me.

I don’t like the weather, or the layout of the city, or the people. I don’t like that it’s not trendy, it’s not fun, it’s different. For goodness’ sake, we don’t have a Moe’s here…

And I could sit here for days… months… years… and continue to complain about where we’ve been stationed because I’ve decided it isn’t my home.

But that’s not what God wants from me.

He wants me to grow where I’m planted. Even if I don’t want to.

Maybe, especially if I don’t want to.

So this is my new prayer.

God I don’t like where I live. I don’t like where you have placed me. I don’t want to grow where I am planted. I confess all of these things. But my prayer is that you change my heart to love this place. My prayer is that you will make this place beautiful for me and be a place where I want to have my family. God, make this place where I want to live, make me never want to leave. Help me grow, give me water and sun, give me the nutrients and determination it takes to grow, flourish and thrive here in Omaha. Amen.


“If This Text Goes Through, I Love You” & Other Hard Things to Hear

Today I’ve been weak. It’s been the definition of “one of those days.” I’ve had ups, downs, side blinders and zig zaggies. Things that have probably bothered me for months have finally caught up to me, and I was ill prepared for their inevitable collision.

This afternoon I spent several hours at my in-laws’ house wiping up dog vomit from my weak stomached Goldendoodle and scrubbing the walls free of my brindle lab’s blood splatters from a tail wound she won’t let heal. They’re both exhausted and anxious, tired of staying in a home that isn’t theirs and missing their daddy something fierce. I want to get them home so badly, staying in Knoxville during this deployment has been so hard on them. They need their routine, their yard, their life back.

While I’m deep in that elbow grease, I receive a text from my husband that they have had a power outage on his base and the wifi isn’t working well. We played phone tag for hours and then he texted me a text I hope no one ever has to receive from someone they love and miss: “Still not working. Phone’s going to die. If this goes through, I love you.”

In a moment when I needed to speak to my companion more than anything, I couldn’t. And it feels wrong. I collapsed onto the couch, my dogs laid each of their heads in my lap, and the impulse to cry hit me like a train… But no tears came. I couldn’t cry. Is it being a mom now, I have acquired this need to stay strong despite all things colliding at once? Some kind of strange strength that is tapped into when you have a child, to protect them and yourself from unnecessary emotional interruption? I don’t know. 

Sitting there, I just pet my babies and breathed in and out. The moment I felt like I got a handle of the moment, I received a second text from my mother, saying my daughter was awake from her nap and crying and I needed to come and nurse her. Responsibility is following me everywhere I go, I can’t escape it. I want to find some closet somewhere and just sit alone in the darkness, imagining myself void of all responsibilities and tasks. Just breathe and be. Just for a minute.

Because today just took me. I got lost in it. It’s not the hardest day I’ve ever had, by any means. But I’m stressing. I miss my husband. I miss his help. I miss his positivity and light. I miss being able to vent all these things to him. Because even though I do get to talk to him sometimes, there’s always a chance the wifi will go out, or he’ll get called off to work on something, or they’ll shift his flight hours and we won’t get to talk that day. 

We have less than two weeks left of this, and I can’t help but feel disappointed in myself for not keeping it together. I was so determined to stay “OK” while he was gone. Because logic tells me that I have to learn to be fine even if he’s not here, because reality is, he won’t be here all the time in the future. I have to learn to cope and thrive, regardless of whether he’s here to help me or not. But I’m not okay, I’m not thriving. I’m mad. I’m bitter. I’m lonely. I’m failing, in my eyes.

Saying all this, I know I need to give myself grace for today, and all my hard days. But for today, while I’m still feeling this, I have to acknowledge this feeling for what it is in this moment. It sucks. I don’t ever want to get a text like that from my husband ever again.

To My Deployed Airman

My Dear Husband,

You may consider this a pity party post. Well, if wanting to acknowledge my husband for what he does for a living makes me sound like I’m whining, then welcome to the party. BYOB, freeloaders.

Dearest darling husband of mine. You’ve been an airman for over 2 years now. We spent the first 7 months of our marriage separated while you were in training. We moved across the country together. We have raised two big puppies together. We’ve made one beautiful baby girl together. I couldn’t be more proud of us and how far we’ve come in just 8 years of knowing each other.

But I talk about us too much. What I mean is, I don’t talk about you enough. You, just you. What you’ve done. Who you’ve become. For me, for our family, for this country.

You’re cringing already, I know.

Because for some reason you don’t really believe what you’re doing is that big of a deal. You kind of scoff and shrug it off when people acknowledge your sacrifice. It’s a humble response, sure. To think, when the ultimate sacrifice to one’s country is to give one’s life for it, you may think that what you’ve given isn’t nearly as significant.

What have you given? 

The freedom to choose where to live, for one. The comfort of family close by. The pleasantries of living in the South. The closeness of friends. The familiarity of home. The ease of travel. 

You’ve given up your time. You’re at the beckon call of your job anywhere anytime. You have to spend nearly half the year overseas. Giving up time with your wife, time in your house, time you could be spending seeing your daughter grow, learn, develop, laugh, say her first words and cut her first teeth.

Dinners. Parties. Holidays. Birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Funerals. 

And yet, all of this is an easy trade off for you, for the honor of serving something larger than all of this.

Husband, you’re amazing. And I need you to know your sacrifices mean everything to me. I’m humbled and amazed by what an honorable man you are. And no matter what you say, your job is a big deal. What you’re doing is important. Who you are and what you represent is so significant. And if it were possible for me to be speechless, I would be.

Don’t shrug it off when people thank you for your service, husband. Accept it with a full heart. Know that you can take their praise and multiply it out to the thousands who have served and sacrificed before you, so that you may serve our country today, for your family in your time.

Let all your works be made in thanks to those who have gone before you, bringing hope to the land of the brave and glory to our God Almighty.

Thank you, my airman, for being the best husband you can be and the best father our little girl could ever ask for. You honor us by sharing your name with us, and we are so proud to call you our airman. I love you.

Go get em, handsome.

Love Always & Forever, Your Mollybelle

My Husband is Deployed (and It’s Not THAT Bad)

There’s a look people give me when I tell them my husband is deployed overseas. It’s a mix between surprise, pity and what-do-I-do-with-my-hands? It’s usually followed by “I can’t imagine what you must be going through,” “I could never do what you’re doing,” or the quintessentially Southern, “Bless your heart!” I’ve found that my automatic response so far has almost always been, “Oh, thank you. But you know, it’s not that bad.”

And guys, it really isn’t that bad. My husband is fortunate enough to love his military job. He’s deployed for a few short months a couple times a year, and that’s much less than many men and women in the armed forces. Not to mention he has great internet connection where he is, so we get to FaceTime often and I send him dozens of Snapchats of our adorable 4-month-old daughter.

But can we stop playing the comparing-one-milso’s-suffering-to-another game for a second? Because it’s hashtags like #deploymentssuck that have gotten me in the habit of having to reassure people that my husband may be living across the world for part of the year, but it’s not that bad.

Before you go thinking this lady must be dead inside, let me be openly honest. I used to suffer from crippling separation anxiety. The idea that when we’re married, I would be spending several months a year separated from my best friend would have sent me into a full-on panic attack just a few short years ago. There was no way I could get through life on my own, not seeing him every day. Just imagining saying goodbye was agonizing to me. I could never in a million years be a military spouse.

But then I married this airman. We spent 7 months of our first year of marriage apart while he was in training. We moved across the country, away from family, friends, everyone we knew. And guess what? It wasn’t that bad. We made it through because whether or not it’s spent in each others’ company or separated by thousands of miles, the day is still 24 hours long. The sun rises and sets, you breathe in and out and just keep on living. You find new ways to connect with people. A handwritten card, a designated Skype date each week, a phone call on the way home from work, that becomes the new normal.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was from a seasoned Air Force wife who told me, “It doesn’t matter if he’s at home or away, you have to learn to be okay. That means being okay when he’s deployed and you’re the only one home taking care of the kids, and being just as okay when your husband is there with you.” 

I’ve taken this advice to heart and I’m now trying to apply it to our first deployment. At night, I lay my head down on my pillow and he’s not there next to me. He hasn’t gotten to hear our daughter laugh yet. At any given moment, one of us is horribly behind the other on one of our TV shows and might accidentally slip a spoiler (I know that seems trivial, but if you’re married, you know it’s a big deal). 

But I’m choosing not to count down the days till he gets back. I’m choosing to be okay, instead. Because if I lived like that, I would go crazy. I wouldn’t be the mother I need to be if I were constantly thinking I’m not enough for our daughter. I wouldn’t be the wife I need to be if I wallowed in how upset I am that my husband isn’t here with me. It’s unfair for me to put that on him. His job is a blessing, not a curse. It’s our living, not the death of me. His sacrifice does not merit my complaint, and I strongly believe that it is my job as a military spouse to be supportive of him whether he’s sleeping in the same bed as me or on a cot in the desert.

Y’all, 1 day or 1 year, deployments suck. I won’t say they don’t. I miss doing life together. I miss his smell, I miss how he makes me eggs and bacon in the morning, and Lord knows I miss keeping up on our TV shows together. But I choose to believe it’s not that bad. I choose to be positive, for myself and my little family. Whether he is home or away, I love him the same. Sometimes the Internet cuts out in the middle of our daily FaceTime. Sometimes our daughter is melting down and all I want is another pair of hands to take her for me. And sometimes I wake up from a dream and turn towards the other side of the bed to tell him about it, to find he’s not there. 

Remarkably, through it all, I make it to tomorrow … and so does he.

A Year in the Land of Omaha

One year ago today, my best friend and I packed up our car and made the 900 mile drive across the country to our first new home here in Bellevue, Nebraska. 
I didn’t know anyone, we had to Google Maps our way through town for several months (still do some days), and we had to sleep on the floor for the first month until our stuff finally arrived (probably one of the best months of our marriage, hands down).

Moving is scary. Change is not always fun. Happy as I was to finally be reunited with my husband after 7 months of Air Force training, the idea of moving somewhere so unknown was difficult to swallow. Moving here was our last choice. Who wants to live in Nebraska? What even is there to do in the middle of cornland? It’s a good day’s drive from anyone I know in any direction. Truly isolated. Altogether unnerving. And for that 14 hour drive away from home, friends & comfort, Nebraska was scary.

But this is home now, and it isn’t scary. This isn’t where we fell in love but love led us here. This isn’t where family is, but we’re making a new one.

I’ve learned that big changes don’t seem so intimidating when you have someone to share them with. I’ve learned a whole new way to love and be loved by my husband. I’ve learned how to take that step of faith when God leads us to, trusting that He has always had our best interests at heart, even when it doesn’t seem to fit “our plan.”

Thinking back on my thoughts driving with Drew in the car that day, listening to Harry Potter on audiobook, watching the southeast horizon fade away behind us in the rear view mirror… How proud I am of the home we have made here, the year we have lived here, and the beautiful life that will be with us here soon.

Here’s to a great 2nd year living “The Good Life” in cornland.
“Cause we’d be so free, Happy alone, Sharing a smile, So far from home.”

22w6d

Havent posted in a while cause things have started to settle and nothing much to report. But, journaling is healthy. 

Baby kicks. So hard. Wakes me up sometimes. This week she’s practicing her flips and tumbles. One second I’ll feel her kicks on one side of my stomach, and the next second she’s totally upside down kicking me on another side of my tummy. Crazy crazy kid in there. Future gymnast for sure.

Really hoping my belly gets more round and big for our maternity photos and baby shower later this month back in Knoxville. I ordered a couple cheap maternity dresses online and I want them to look like they fit correctly. My tummy is kind of lumpy/weird right now. I had a belly fat roll before pregnancy that I think is making the stretching process a little weird. Oddly thankful for it though, because it’s keeping me from developing an outie belly button, which I think are totally gross.

So yes, we have another trip to Knoxville planned. Originally just to do photography for a friend’s wedding, Drew was going to be deployed at this time but it got moved to March YAY, but now we’re making it a joint babymoon/wedding/friend’s graduation/baby shower/last visit for a very very long time. Going to spend a couple nights in Asheville, NC at our honeymoon hotel for a short babymoon getaway. Cannot wait. 

So weird to think that this time last year I was busy packing and preparing for our move out here. I had no idea what to expect, my life was going to get a complete makeover. It’s been a really full year. Stressing over training my dog to a new yard, learning to navigate a new city, being 900 miles from home, how was I to know that just one year later I would be 5 months pregnant with our first daughter?

I really miss home. But I know by now it would be driving me crazy if we’d never left. If it weren’t for my husband’s sacrifices we wouldn’t have a house, two wonderful dogs, job security, a decent income, and a future to feel safe about. I guess I sacrificed some comforts for this too. But it doesn’t seem like a sacrifice when you’re doing it for someone you love.

Like my changing body. I don’t really grumble about these stretch marks, or aches and pains. The fact that my body will never look or feel the same after this pregnancy isn’t really a problem for me. Because I’m doing it for her. Labor? Yeah that will suck. But I’m not mad. I don’t resent her, or our decision to be parents just because it’s going to physically hurt. Because it’s for her. And it’s all to bring glory to her Creator, who is insanely awesome.

I wanna take baby T to the Smokey Mountains when we’re in Knoxville. She’s not born, I know. But there’s a spiritual connection I have there that she’s gotta feel. The waters will be warm and the air won’t be too stifling or humid. I have this spot I want to take her that’s a small secluded waterfall off a pretty common trail that isn’t too well known. And just sit there and breathe and pray. And see if God has anything new to tell me about her. 

We haven’t named her yet, and we probably won’t anytime soon. We have a few names on the table, but no certain feelings about any of them. I’m comfortable with that. Her name just isn’t important right now.

It’s weird once you get past the excitement of learning the gender, how things just start to settle and stagnate. Her little movements are so common to me now, I’m not squealing and grabbing my husband’s hand to feel every little nudge. I’ve gotten about as far on the nursery as we can right now – we have a crib and a changing table dresser, repainted with new knobs, and most of her clothes and things we’ve picked up are organized. I have a couple projects to work on, but for the most part I have to keep reminding myself that there’s no rush. I’m barely over halfway there. We have so much time to paint and decorate and plan. And that’s a little overwhelming. I feel her, I know it’s a her, and I can’t fathom having to wait another four months to meet her now that it’s taken this long. My future pregnancies probably won’t feel this slow, but this is like glacier-slow. I need more hobbies.

Wow tangents on tangents on tangents. What a weird post, Molls. Way to just stick to your insane pregnancy brain stream of consciousness. You know actually, this post is a pretty accurate depiction of where my brain is at these days. Kind of all over the place, but in a settled kind of way.

So now to close, I’m going to sit here and think of all the things I would want to eat right now. Enjoy.

Oreo mint milkshake. Five Guys cheese burger. Lomein noodles. McDonald’s fries dipped in a Wendy’s frosty. Banana bread. Corn on the cob. Cookie dough cheesecake. Eggrolls. Super crunch sushi roll from Surin in Knoxville. Watermelon slushie. Caesar salad from Newk’s. Biscuits and honey. 

Ok… I’m starving now.