I am not exaggerating when I say that the last one has been the most eventful week of my entire life.
More happened in the last handful of days than every other life event combined. For the last two years here in Savannah, we have been in a kind of holding pattern: waiting for Mr. Wright to graduate, waiting to start his career in the Army, waiting on Baby Giant to make his debut — just lots and lots of waiting! Then, last week, everything we had been waiting on happened. That kind of excitement, coupled with the swell feeling of hormones decreasing at what feels like terminal velocity, has made this an interesting ride for this NSMM to say the least. Let’s recap what has happened thus far, shall we?
- Thanksgiving with Mr. Wright’s Kids for a week
- Baby Giant is born
- Mr. Wright commissions in the U.S Army as an officer (SO PROUD OF HIM!)
- Mr. Wright graduates Cum Laude from his university
- We learned that we would be traveling to Arizona for 4 months for training in just under 8 weeks
All caught up? Awesome. Seems like a lot, yeah? I thought so too! But I was prepared to handle it in stride. After all, we finally had some time off. No more school projects and exams that kept Mr. Wright locked away in the garage until the wee hours of the morning. No more feeling like my uterus was minutes from falling out. No more stressing about whether or not he would get his desired branch in the Army. Just 8ish weeks to relax and regroup. 8 weeks to stop and smell the flowers, to travel to Boston, to watch movies and eat food — to do whatever we wanted. As far as follow on orders (that is the duty station we would report to after he finished training in Arizona), well, we would just wait and see. We “knew” with Mr. Wright being so high up in his class we were sure to get one of our top three: Virginia, Maryland, or Texas. It was only a question of which one. So you can imagine my surprise on Thursday when Mr. Wright told me we “had orders.” That is Army speak for “The Army decided where we are going to live next.” I waited to hear which of the duty stations we were going to end up at first. Truth be told I was going to be cool with anything as long as it wasn’t overseas…
The idea of schlepping two kids, a dog, and a 4 bedroom house full of stuff to an overseas duty station was enough to make my skin crawl. I am all for adventure and seeing the world, but maybe later — when my kids are old enough to carry their own stuff, and walk.. but I digress…..
So Mr. Wright looks at me with this half grin, half dread face…. It’s one of the hardest faces to read on him because sometimes it means good and sometimes it means really bad but he is trying to soften the blow.
Then he tells me: We have orders to Alaska. A-L-A-S-K-A…..
I almost threw up in my mouth.
NOT because Alaska isn’t beautiful, or a wonderful place we would love to visit. Not because it’s cold (it gets to be -65 degrees where we are heading) Not because I could potentially see Russia from my house (Sorry, Mrs. Palin, I had to!) — but because it was sooooo not what I expected!
After all the other new changes, I was kind of looking forward to something kind of mundane. A post in the continental U.S where all I would really have to learn is where the closest mall and hospital were. A place I could easily travel home from at a moment’s notice. Now, instead, I was looking at an entirely different lifestyle. One where I have to cover myself from head to toe to keep from getting frostbitten. Where we have to plug our car in to keep it from freezing? (didn’t even know you could do that!) Where the sun is pretty much non-existent in the winter time and never sets in the summer? One where poor Mr. Wright would have to sell his kidney to pay for flights to get his kids to visit. This was so not what we signed up for! And when I say that I mean that my husband was told to make a list of the 10 places he would like to be stationed and guess what wasn’t even on there? DING DING DING!
So we just kind of stared at each other and I made my version of his grinny frown face..and then, I did what any woman who just had a baby a week ago would do — I burst into tears. I texted and called all my family and friends and said my preliminary goodbyes. I posted cryptic farewell messages on Facebook. Then I commenced feeling sorry for myself. HOW could this happen to us? What had we done wrong? Why did G-d hate me?!
Once the shock wore off, we decided there was only one thing we could do. We would get out of it. Somehow we would make darn well sure we didn’t end up in Alaska. Mr. Wright started to think of other assignments he could volunteer for. I talked to other spouses and perused the Internet looking for information on how one would refuse a duty station. Mr. Wright assured me that I didn’t have to worry and we wouldn’t have to go to Alaska. I breathed a sigh of relief. I took advantage of the baby napping and I hopped into the shower. I prayed to G-d to help me come to terms with this awful news — to help me accept my awful fate.
As the water rushed over me, I allowed myself to calm down. I began having rational thoughts again… and I tried to look at the bright side of the situation. This would be a great adventure for us. We would get to see things we could never see in the continental U.S. There were so many great things about this assignment if I just looked at it in a positive light. I got out of the shower feeling refreshed and excited to discuss what I felt with Mr. Wright. He had been thinking too. The more we talked about it the less horrible it seemed, in fact we started to get kind of excited!
After all, we had only ever been stationed in Savannah — this would be a brand new frontier for us, for our marriage, for our little family, for our life! Mr. Wright said he was excited to see the Northern Lights with me. He had seen them before when he lived in Iceland but he wanted to see them with me! That alone made me almost want to jump on a plane… but I think what really solidified it was when he said,
“We could spend the rest of our career trying to get back there,”
Because maybe this was meant to be? Maybe we had some deep rooted lessons to learn, maybe we needed to grow as a family and needed to be far away from our loved ones to do so. Maybe, just maybe, this would be the best 3 years of our lives! And how would we know if we just ran away before we even tried? Exactly, we wouldn’t. So after hours and hours of discussing the many possibilities, and dreaming about the not-too distant future, we decided to hang up our fighting gloves and allow ourselves to get excited about our next big adventure.
I have been scoping the net for good deals on winter clothes, we have made a list of stuff we need to buy, and I have begun networking with the other spouses stationed there. Just listening to their chatter has helped me get a much better idea of what lies in store for us.
Now I can safely say that I have a pretty good handle on what is going to transpire in the next 6 months, and I am caught up enough to deal with it all… in stride of course! I think Mr. Wright feels the same way, as he has begun to assemble a list of things we need to do to get ready to leave Savannah for good.
Encountering so many challenges at once has made me realize three things: First, just how strong our relationship is. We dealt with this together, as a team, and as a team decided it was something we wanted to undertake. Second, we can handle anything if we just take it in stride. Lastly, we can’t go wrong if we continue to be grateful for what we have and trust that G-d will provide for us.
There is no hill or mountain we won’t be able to climb! It’s a good feeling….
But please G-d, if you have something to add to the list, or some other challenge for us to undertake….can it wait until next week?