My mission for Summer 2009: Survive almost 3 months of boiling heat with both kids at home all day, every day; without selling either child on e&ay. Do so without going bankrupt.
My strategy: a little something I’ll call the reverse deployment. That’s when the family members leave and the service-member holds down the home-front (‘cause they still have a job to do, you know).
The kids and I loaded up the car and hit the road. Except for the 1st week, when [*gasp*] Stretch actually took leave and joined us, we were on the road and Stretch was left behind to man the home-front. As it turns out, he didn’t enjoy being the one left at home. I can understand that. I don’t particularly enjoy it, either.
We actually reverse deployed twice. The first time was for 4 weeks. It started with a 3-day drive across 6 states to my mother’s home. The first night we stayed at a military installation: great suite and even better price. The 2nd night we used Stretch’s hotel reward points for a free night. (Guess all those TAD trips had a good side to them after all.) Stretch helped drive half-way across the country and then flew home (or redeployed) on Father’s Day. (Hm-m, that might not have sent quite the right message.) The kids and I stayed another week while the girls took swim lessons. When it was time to go, I drove a day and a half across 3 states, spending the night at another military installation, before reaching my aunt’s home. After reconnecting with extended family for a few days, we hit the road again to join a fellow military spouse for the 4th of July. We only had to cross into the next state this time and it took only half a day.
Despite not having laid eyes on each other in almost 5 years, we picked right up where we’d left off. Even the kids bonded quickly even though only one of the five had any memories of the others. Because her husband had taken Reserve orders and was gone for the summer, I talked her into making the 10- hour drive to follow me home so our kids could continue to entertain each other. The fact that we hadn’t seen each other in years had nothing to do with it.
We had about a week’s break before reverse deploying again. This time it was only for 2 weeks. I drove for 12 hours in one day to get to my sister’s house. By the way, I don’t recommend this on 4 hours of sleep. A few days later, I drove another 3-1/2 hours to take the girls to my in-laws, where they would stay for almost a week. We went a day early so the girls and I could attend my mother-in-law’s annual family reunion. It was the first time we’d attended. In 11 years of marriage, Stretch and I had never been able to attend due to distance. And the first time I attended (this year), I did so without him. Typical.
The kids and I made the drive back home earlier this week. This time, I made reservations at yet another military installation part-way back to avoid another 12 hour drive. For the first time, I was wishing my oldest (she’s 8) was old enough to drive.
The summer flew by while the kids and I spent time with family and friends. Now we are waiting to hear teacher assignments and I’ve finished buying school supplies. School will start next week. The summer is drawing to a close and the mission was accomplished.
Just don’t ask me to drive anywhere anytime soon. Oh, and if anyone has seen my sanity, could you send it back to me?
(This is cross-posted over at SpouseBuzz.)