Welcome to the very last #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl. This last time, we all give our final words about the entire trailing spouse journey. Scroll down to view the other Trailing Spouse’s stories. I dedicate this post to a member of my extended family, who is, was and will again be — the ultimate Trailing Spouse! You know who you are! 😉
The last few months have been a little crazy, to say the least. I feel like I’ve been swallowed up in some parallel “trailing spouse” universe and suddenly my time isn’t my own. Well, it is, isn’t it (But then again with two kids, it never really was, right?) 😉 Hence, the trailing spouse’s version of a twilight zone.
I started this trailing spouse journey in 2008, and there began the self-taught lessons of surviving home away from home and parenting away from home. You’d think that seven years later, someone like me would’ve gotten the hang of it already.
In the last few months, I’ve learned and experienced some things I’d never experienced in my trailing spouse life.
A big part of it is the shift from becoming perennial renters, to home owners. It was a big, long, drawn-out, time-consuming decision and process, but strangely enough, it’s moving forward. From the paperwork to Escrow (say what?!) and all the concerns in between, it made me realize that I didn’t know all that much about building a home away from home after all.
I missed the comfort of having the suki’s to call, or people who knew who to call, and the quality custom furniture from Two Tots. I feel like all I’ve done is crowd source every step of the way. Thankfully, my friends here have not disowned me yet from all my questions and requests for referrals.
Suddenly, my husband and I are on dates to furniture stores, or paint shops, and appliance centers. It’s interesting to see how different our tastes are, and how we manage to agree on things after hours and sleepless nights on end.
Somehow, what I said the minute we walked in the store suddenly makes sense to him three hours later — after a whole process of discussion and back and forth “what ifs” and options. I tell ya, I’m thankful for my Mindprint scans, and Coach Pia’s Discover Your Core Weekend, as these are what’s getting me through it all. But really, this exercise in putting a home together should be a prerequisite to marriage next to the Pre-CANA.
On the bright side, the house looks like it’s coming together nicely, and from what I’ve seen, it’s every bit of what I imagined my house would be (at least I know I have good taste. ;)).
This home snowballed into so many other changes, such as a new school for Sam. You’d think — she just moved into that other school last year right?! But, such is the way the school district works. We tried to find a school in our current area, but there just wasn’t any on the market. This little girl of mine has changed schools approximately 5 times in 7 years. I know kids are resilient — and Sam puts up a smile and makes all the friends — but I don’t think any more movement should test just how resilient she is. Somehow, we need to start planting these roots. It’s all the more And I feel the pressure to try to keep things as normal and as familiar as possible.
Now with all of this going on, our morning drive to two schools takes up a whole hour (we’re living in the new house yet so I still have to drive a way, on top of the extra early hour I need to get their breakfast and lunches ready), and by the time I get back home, I’m spent. My husband says I should go back to sleep, but with the adrenaline rush and the hustle it requires to get them out of bed, into their clothes and into the car EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. — I ask, how can you really?!
And somewhere in between, our water got shut off the whole day without prior notice, I got pulled over (and had to contest my ticket!), summoned for Jury Duty (which I also had to decline), rear-ended and sandwiched between two cars, and at the end of it all, I had to wait until my husband was home and the kids were in bed before I could drive myself to the E.R. to get myself checked out. I think the last bit took the cake for me — where I was thankfully I wasn’t more hurt, but at the same time, I couldn’t believe the entire situation. All I need were some medium-strength pills, and I was able to function again.
I had to negotiate the medication too, because the doctor was giving me an extra strength tablet but said that I wouldn’t be able to drive for a while. I surprised even myself when I didn’t hesitate and said I couldn’t have that. I needed something else that would keep me to be mobile. The kids after all have to be brought to school (among other things!). Life couldn’t stop because I was “injured”. Trust me when I say it’s not about self-pity, it was just the natural inclination — to make sure everything runs like clockwork. It’s funny what an independent autonomous life does away from the usual family support and household help. Coddled, lucky or driven to survive? The perspective shifts.
Yes, Mercury was in retrograde for me for quite a while.
And with all of that going on and more, that one statement still rings true: that the only thing constant in life is change. And this whole journey as a trailing spouse just forces you into adulthood, and continues to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. There may never be a dull moment, but there’s always a new one. The last few months have proven just that. There is some normalcy to the day-to-day routines, and yet there is none. It’s never really “bad”, it’s always just new, and unfamiliar. And don’t get me wrong, there’s always a lot of good mixed in there too.
One thing’s for sure, the trailing spouse life is never boring. It’s always full of a wide range of emotions and experiences.
Hopefully when all of the above is settled and chalked up to things of the past, there will be more light at the end of the tunnel, greener grass to play on, and more z’s for this tired mother.
Didi of D for Delicious tells more about The Happy Ending of the Trailing Spouse Fairy Tale.
Yuliya of Tiny Expats shares why the trailing spouse life is a challenge and Why It’s Great to Share Stories with Fellow Trailing Spouses.