When Life Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
Or in my case, you make a lemon poppy seed bundt cake with a lemony glaze. I’ve made many things from scratch, but the only lemonade I’ve ever made came in powdered form in a little tub with directions requiring you to add water and stir.
When you’re dealt a lemony blow, you deal with it. You make the necessary decisions. You get mad, whine because your plans have just been shot to hell and then you move on. Because really, lemons aren’t that bad. There are in fact, many more unsavory things that life could deal you.
Sometimes, after you’ve come to terms with your newly acquired lemons, you realize that they are an extra sour variety. Extra sour lemons require lots of sugar and an extra dose of cheerfulness, something that might not come so easy to you. No one wants extra sour lemons. Extra sour lemons inspire extra sour whining and lots of feet stamping because NOW your plans have REALLY been altered.
And then by some wild and crazy luck, you discover that maybe your lemons aren’t extra sour afterall. They *might* be, but you won’t find out until you delve a little deeper.
Figuring out how sour your lemons are might take a little time; which will require an immense amount of patience on your part.
And now you’re thinking, huh? What IS SHE TALKING ABOUT?!? You’re not making much sense, girl.
Here’s the thing. Uncle Sam is like Big Brother. He listens very intently and when he overhears you and your husband (who has signed his life way to Sam, hereby becoming Property of the US Government) making plans, Uncle Sam laughs.
He laughs hard and then he issues deployment orders.
On Thanksgiving morning, as we were driving to North Carolina to spend time with Craig’s sister and her family, we made plans. We talked about how we hadn’t been to Florida in a while and how we should make a trip there this summer. We talked about vacations, running, running goals and races we’d like to run in.
It was a nice, agreeable conversation.
After our nice trip to North Carolina, we drove home and started back to work and school as usual. And then one day, Craig came home early.
“What are you doing home?” I asked.
“They changed the schedule and I’ll be working the day shift, now.” He replied.
“And by the way” he added, “guess who is going to deploy soon?”
Ha! Less than a week after making some plans for the future, the smack down from Uncle Sam was issued. A smackdown in the form of a “vacation” to an exotic undisclosed location.
The good news is that this impending deployment is only going to be six months in length. Six months, in military terms is a cake walk. Completely do able and a much easier pill to swallow. Also, Craig will be deploying with people he knows, likes and trusts. Also, if he doesn’t deploy any time soon, come new assignment time next year, this will be noted and he’d be more likely to be sent to a base where they deploy in massive units for 12-15 months at a time.
In a round about way, this deployment is a blessing in disguise. Hey, when you can deploy on your own terms, with your friends and only be gone for six months, it’s all good.
And really, I can’t complain. We’ve been so very lucky, where deployments are concerned. Craig spent six months in Kuwait a few years back, but otherwise, he’s managed to avoid, through no effort on his part, any serious time spent “over there.” Like I said, we’re lucky. Lucky people can’t complain. Lucky people shouldn’t complain.
Sure, our trip to Florida would need to be postponed, but he’d most likely be back in time to have a quick little trip somewhere, just the three of us, before school starts up again in the fall. And best of all, we’d still be able to tackle some of the races we were so looking forward to running together.
We’ve been sitting on this info for over a month now. Due to the general desire to insure safety and to not be labeled a big blabbermouth, I won’t disclose Craig’s deployment location, but trust me, it’s hardly an enviable destination. It’s not as if our military folks get the opportunity to deploy to Tahiti or Jamaica.
See, we’ve made our lemonade. Or a bundt cake. Finding the positive in light of an unfortunate turn of events.
And then Monday happened. Or maybe it was Tuesday? Yep, it was Tuesday. Monday was the day my head was all fuzzy and then I had to frantically search for a paper document Craig “supposedly” received back in 2000, but in actuality didn’t receive it all. Yep, that was fun.
I enjoy rifling through 14+ years of paperwork for phantom documents. Anyway, on Tuesday, Craig called and said that there was a pretty good chance that the deployment wouldn’t be six months after all. Instead, it will more than likely be stretched out to twelve.
Six months I can’t complain about. Twelve is another story.
Like I said, extra sour lemons.
In spite of the extra sour news, we pulled out the sugar canister and tried to look on the bright side. It’s not as easy, but definitely doable.
Which brings me to today; a day in which I had just warmed up to the idea of a year long deployment. Before I headed out the door to help at Caroline’s ice cream social, I received yet another phone call from Craig regarding the impending deployment length.
As of now, the not-so final word is that it’ll “probably” be six months, but they won’t know until a replacement actually arrives, or something like that. I can’t really remember; the rapidly changing details are fuzzying up my brain again.
It’ll be no shorter than six months and no longer than twelve.
Yep, that’s helpful.
Which means, that our lemons may be extra sour, but we won’t know for a bit.
As for now, the sour level remains a great big secret.
It’s been a crazy month, to say the least; every day, as we creep closer to departure, it gets a little more real. There are arrangements with the landlord to me made, friends to say good bye to and wills to be drawn up.
It’s not fun.

However, I’m pragmatic and like to keep it real. Real perspective helps squash the why me pity party. I have a friend who had a baby less than a month after her husband deployed; another endured three deployments, having her third baby during the third deployment. I’ve got it made. One kid. No babies on the way. A great neighborhood. I’m not emotionally needy and I can change a toilet handle if need be.

Sure, I’m going to miss Craig; I’ll miss him a lot; especially if he’s gone for 12 months.
But I won’t fall apart. Maybe I feel this way because Caroline is older and I’m not spending my day with a bunch of little people, but I firmly believe that deployment is MUCH harder on the deployed person. Sure, we’re stuck at home, keeping the home fires burning, but they’re in harm’s way. They have nothing to do but think about home. They can’t go to Target to waste time. They can’t go out to eat or take a vacation. We’re the lucky ones. We’re enjoying the tax free salary while they’re working hard, getting dirty, missing their families.

Anyway, that’s the scoop from our house.

I’m glad to finally be able to put it into words.


2 responses

  1. Wow. Some sour lemons. I wondered what it was all about when you mentioned it the other day, but I didn't think about this. Why, I don't know, cause it seems obvious now. I know you will be okay. You are quite the independent gal and can take it! Prayers for you anyway, thought.

  2. Wow, that's a lot to handle. So many unknowns. That is great that you are trying so hard to be positive though, it has to help. thanks for stopping by my blog with running advice. I would give anything for a treadmill right now, but then I think only 3 more months and I could run outside again, so I should just make do.


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