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With a little help from my friends

What do you do when your love is away?
Does it worry you to be alone?
How do you feel at the end of the day?
Are you sad because you're on your own?
No, I get by with a little help from my friends.
Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends.
Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends.
-The Beatles

I've spent a lot of time talking this week. Well, first I spent a lot of time reading, avoiding what I was thinking about. Then it built and built until I was lying on the floor of our sunroom crying during naptime. While I was lying there, sun shining in, I thought, "What am I doing? I need to talk about this." So I watched the clock until it was an appropriate time to call my girlfriend who is in a completely different time zone. As soon as I heard her voice, I started crying.

Crying, "Is it the crack of dawn there?"
"Um, I think you have the wrong number...?"
"It's me! Kimber!"
"Girlfriend! What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I hate the Navy!"

I don't hate the Navy. I miss having these conversations with her face to face. I miss deciding that I don't want to eat dinner alone and driving over to her house for dinner. I miss my other friends. I miss them coming over for "movie night," where we end up splitting a bottle of wine and talking all night. I miss these Navy wives who are walking along the same road as I am, who have become family.

This is my husband's senior year in the STA-21 program. He has 16 credit hours this semester, plus being on staff at the ROTC. Next semester he will have 19 credit hours, plus being on staff at the ROTC and senior project. He signed up for classes this past week. Before that, I was telling myself, "Let's get through this semester. Let's make it to Thanksgiving, then finals, then Christmas break. Spring semester will be easier." Now I look at his credit hours-- 19! and he's working on getting approval for 22!-- and my heart sinks. It won't be easier. Which made think very negatively (I have said before that I'm a deliberate optimist because I'm a pessimist at heart). This semester sucks and next semester will suck and then moving will suck and going through power school and prototype will suck and then boat life sucks. I felt this huge weight on my chest. This sucks! What are we doing???

I don't know what we are doing. I do know a couple things. I am extremely proud of my husband's active duty status; he is serving our country. I am extremely proud of his naval career. He was a nuclear mechanic on fast-attack submarines and was picked up for the STA-21 program, service selected submarines again. I love the sub community. The people we have met are absolutely wonderful and instantly found places in our hearts. I love how handsome he is in uniform. I find myself speechless every Wednesday when he heads to school in his khakis. (Don't even get me started on the dress uniforms! Bow chicka wow wow!) I love this hard-working man. I love how he kisses me every time he comes home and kisses me every night before bed. I love how he eats whatever I serve him and thanks me when I heat up macaroni and cheese for dinner (seriously-- I love this man). I love how much he loves our children and how he always has time to go outside with them. He comes home from a long day and turns on the porch light to toss the football with our preschooler. I love that. I love that he goes in our toddlers' bedroom to give them a kiss every night.

I spent hours on the phone the past couple days talking to my friends about my fears of career Navy life. My husband and I have been doing this together for six years (he's been in for a little over eight). It's not that I don't think we can do this. To use a Lord of the Rings analogy, I feel like Frodo after he volunteered to take the ring to Mordor. I know we have a long road ahead of us. We don't know what all of the challenges will be, but we know that it will be a long, hard journey. Next year we will leave the safety of Rivendell-- our quiet life here in North Carolina where he is home every night-- and embark on the next phase of our journey. I have as much trepidation about our first boat with three, possibly four, children as Aragorn did about passing through Moria (we only had one child on our last boat). What will happen? When people tell me take each day as it comes, I understand their intentions. But where was Frodo's heart as he gazed at the pool of Mirrormere; did he truly enjoy that "bright spot" on his journey? He survived Moria, but at what cost? We will make many dear friends along the way-- we already have. We will be separated from good friends for awhile, as the Company was separated from Gandalf. Our roads will cross again and we will be glad to travel with them for a time. And when we finally throw the ring in Orodruin, I will enjoy our retirement. (I tried warning you that I am a pessimist.) But where would our Frodo be without the Company, the Nine? Where would he be without his Sam? Excerpt from The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien, page 929:
"I am glad you are here with me," said Frodo. "Here at the end of things, Sam."
"Yes, I am with you, Master," said Sam, laying Frodo's wounded hand gently on his breast. "And you're with me. And the journey's finished. But after coming all that way I don't want to give up yet. It's not like me, somehow, if you understand."
"Maybe not, Sam," said Frodo; "but it's like things are in the world. Hopes fail. An end comes. We have only a little time to wait now. We are lost in ruin and downfall, and there is no escape."
"Well, Master, we could at least go further from this dangerous place here, from this Crack of Doom, if that's its name. Now couldn't we? Come, Mr. Frodo, let's go down the path at any rate!"
"Very well, Sam. If you wish to go, I'll come," said Frodo; and they rose and went slowly down the winding road...
Thank you to my friends this week who pushed me onward when my hopes failed. Thank you to my friend who told me that I did not sound like myself, that the Kimber she knows can take a deep breath and press onward. Thank you. Thank you to my friend who told me I had my "sassy pants on" and reminded me how to pull myself up by my bootstraps. It is such a comfort to talk to someone who has been there. Thank you to my local friends who have listened to me vent at playdates for the past week. Thank you to my friends who continue to text me, even when I reply with "Debbie Downer" statements. I am so appreciative of the love of my friends and pray that I am as good of friend in return. Genuinely, thank you.

Time to take a long, hot bath, have a glass of wine, take a deep breath, and do what needs to get done.

Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends,
with a little help from my friends.
-The Beatles


anchoredhearts said…
I feel like we are on the same wavelength here, freaky. I can't speak to knowing what STA-21 is like (although, from what I hear it is no picnic). I'm going through deployment number 2 and I just want to cry into a pan of brownies lately. I have to say that I'm realizing just how lucky we are to have military families. Being home and hanging out with my non-navy friends has made me feel completely misunderstood. All I have to say is hang in there mama, I appreciate your honesty.
-Lindsey R.
anchoredhearts said…
I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award!
check it out here:
Kimber said…
Lindsey, thank you for the nomination! Also, sometimes a pan of brownies is the best listener! :P STA-21 has been much better than underways; he is just ridiculously busy. He is getting a difficult degree in such a short amount of time on top of having a family of five! I know several of the guys have struggled with the class load, but I do think that the family factor makes it even more demanding for him. Praying for you during this deployment and belated congratulations on your hubby making chief! :)

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