Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gotta get it off my chest somewhere!

Alternately titled: Mothering eleven-year-old girls is not for the weak!

Is it possible to be a truly awesome parent to one of your children and simultaneously be a completely crappy parent to your other child?

Is it?

Because it might not all be rainbows and unicorns raising my son, but in general it is rewarding.

But my daughter...


That kid is going to be the death of me.

I've really been struggling with her this school year, and I realize that it is because my husband is deployed, and she's at a hard age, and she goes to a school where an 83 average is a C and a 75 average is failing, and she's a girl so she doesn't want to turn into me, and she's lazy by nature, and she got all of my crappy personality traits and my bad skin...

*deep breath*

...but none of those things make me feel better when she lies and is irresponsible.

I know I have failed this child by somehow managing not to teach her to work hard. I am very much afraid of what she will become. I am scared that she will miss out on so much in life. But my fear is too distressing to deal with every day so it turns into anger.

I feel like I am angry with this girl all the damn time.

Lately I am having an especially hard time because things are going really well for my son. I am having a hard time finding ways to celebrate his accomplishments while she is failing at every turn.

I'm afraid that my daughter and everyone else in the world assumes that I love my son more because I understand him better and get along with him better, but that is just not true. It is because I love my daughter so damn much that I am so anxious about the lack of coping skills she has to deal with the world.

People always say that she is such a sweet girl, so happy and polite. And she is. She is. And if I were her aunt or her coach or her friend's mom that would be great. But I'm not. I'm her mother and I can't send her out in the world with only sweet and smiley to fall back on.

This week she has decided that she wants to be an author when she grows up. Why? To quote her exactly, "Because authors don't have to get up in the morning."

In the meantime, she is failing English.

We're going to be supporting this girl until we die. I can see it now. She'll be living in our garage when she's thirty.

I hope she finds a rich man to marry. I hear sweet and smiley go pretty far with rich guys. And my daughter needs a staff.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It's Official

Not only did my husband and I make a decision about our future, but my diligent husband made it all happen.

We are going to get to stay here in Virginia, basically, for the rest of our lives. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it. The sacrifice is that he will be deployed again. For a year. And he'll leave only three months after he gets back from his current deployment.

We talked about our options, or the options we were going to create for ourselves, for days. I kept going back and forth in my head. We could go back to the bayou or another flying squadron somewhere else. He would requalify in his aircraft, be a member of a crew, probably deploy a bunch, and have little chance to be a leader. All while we lived in a place we wouldn't choose for ourselves.

Or he could volunteer to go away for a year where he might have a job commiserate with his rank, we would live right where we are and the kids would stay in a school that we all love.

As much as the second option seemed to make better sense, I love my husband too much to just blithely send him away for a year so that I could have what I want. So I dithered.

In the past I always told him, "Whatever is best for you is best for us. Do what you need to and we'll make the rest work," and I felt like I was going against that principle by suggesting he volunteer to deploy and pretty much end any chance he has to advance any further in his career.

But he sent me an e-mail that said, "It looks like the volunteer deployment might be a go. Are you sure this is what you want?"

As soon as I read the words, "...might be a go," I let out a huge sigh and breathed, "Oh, thank god." And so I had my answer. My gut reaction to those words told me all I needed to know.

He's deploying again. But not to Afghanistan or Iraq. He's going to have an important and interesting job that will actually really contribute to keeping people safe during the war. And he's going to retire in just a few years knowing he did his part and his duty.

And I get what I want too. (Except for the being separated from my husband for another year part of it.)

I am so thankful to him for making it all work out. And I am grateful that he is willing to sacrifice this one year of his life for the overall benefit of our family. And I still feel guilty for asking him to do it.

But the kids are happier with our decision than I thought they'd be. Everyone else in my life has acted like it's awesome news. As happy as I am to not have to move, I still don't think it is awesome news.

I'm still going to miss the hell out of my husband for a really long time.