This is not about the election.

They have to leave us.

They try to do it strongly.Version 2Version 2

We have to let them go. We try to do it gracefully.20161110_201110

They have to go far away. 20161110_185628We have to stay put. But it doesn’t always happen fast. Sometimes it drags out over days. Version 2Days of waiting to leave. Days of knowing they are technically still here. But we can’t see them. Then they are gone.img_0605 And they have to do hard things. 20161110_18575720161110_193815They have to live in hard places. 20161110_193857Version 2They miss us and we miss them. 20161110_193734100_2532We try to be brave like them. Version 2Version 2 Things happen to all of us. img_0514100_3275100_2507Version 2100_3056Version 2But they miss our things. 100_2990OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA100_3183100_3403100_2731And we miss their things. 20161110_185713Version 220161110_194029It’s hard for each of us to understand the other’s things.

And then one dayVersion 2 they’re back. img_1387_zps676d09f1And there’s more waiting. img_1519_zpsba00bc47Agonizing minutes and hours of waiting. img_1521_zps2bec4be9We can see them. img_1527_zps1a17229cWe can almost touch them. img_1539_zps152cc91aWe are about to lose what’s left of our minds. And then

img_1557_zpsa7e3979dimg_1559_zps8941975bimg_1561_zps89484c16img_1562_zps06530d61img_1563_zpsc1773a53img_1569_zpsbe72cb54img_1579_zps87e08feeimg_1580_zps47b05b4aimg_1594_zps9dde29bc

Welcome home. And welcome back. And whatever the world is like, it will always be changing–but the reason we send you and the reason we wait for you is the same as the reason you go and the reason you go again, and again: we love our country and what it was built for and we love each other because we have this in common.

Uprooted

It will be another full month in the hotel.  Upon hearing our stay was to be extended another 2-3 weeks, my first thought was gratitude that I’d get my money’s worth out of the crock pot, double burner, George Forman grill, plates, and utensils I’d bought.  Well, maybe that was my second thought.  The first thought might not have been in gratitude’s realm.  But it should have been. We have a place to stay and money to feed ourselves, we are all healthy, Sam has a job of some sort, and we are waiting for a brand spanking new house to be built for us.

Insert Bella quote:  “But it’s taking a long tiiiiiime!”

This is her whine for everything lately.  And she’s not wrong…  The “drive” to Malcolm’s school every morning through Honolulu traffic–a tedious crawl at 5mph for 45 minutes.  The wait for her frozen french toast sticks to cook in the microwave–which, incidentally smells less like armpits, but seems to have become less efficient (correlation between BO and power?).  Just now–when her My Little Pony show on Netflix freezes to buffer…  Things take a long time.  Especially when one is waiting for them.

I think the hardest part about the situation is not being able to settle.  Not really.  We made it here to Hawaii.  Good.  We are learning our way around; I can drive to school, Target, and the Commissary (even though it is closed indefinitely due to Government Shut Down.  Yey.) without a GPS.  Excellent.  Sam has a job, though no one is clear on what it actually is.  We did find a church.  I joined a Bible Study.  These are all extremely helpful in feeling like I have a life.  But when someone says, “Let’s go home,” the kids’ faces flicker confusion.  I have taken to qualifying “home” with “hotel.”  It’s never one or the other.  Because it is neither.  I am a creature of habit.  I like excitement but I also like knowing what to expect.  Routine is good for me.  I’m like a 4 year old in that way.  Routine makes time pass pleasantly while you wait.

While Sam was deployed I lived hour to hour.  The gym will burn a couple of hours.  Just make it til lunch.  Just til nap time!  It’s almost time to make dinner.  Almost kids’ bedtime, then you can watch tv! etc.  Then we found out we’d be moving overseas again.  To somewhere I didn’t want to go.  When Sam came home, we had a month to get used to each other again, fly around the east coast to say goodbye to family again, and get ready for PackingPaLooza.  Three sets of movers would be coming.  And I was pregnant!  A “Welcome Home Baby”!  I bought maternity clothes fit for a tropical climate.  We were put on the housing list!  Thank you, little embryo!  The kids were excited about a new baby and kept asking how small it was.  Everything was working out!

And then it wasn’t.  I lost it about an hour after being at the doctor for the test.  It was there.  And then it wasn’t.  It was just gone.  I knew more terror and grief in that moment and the days to follow than I’d ever known during three years of deployments.  But we had to get on a plane.  The movers would be coming soon and we had to get back to El Paso and prepare.

The first wave was for things going back into storage.  They were all very nice.  They did a good job.  I bought them pizza for lunch.  That night I went to bed and realized they had stolen all of my favorite gold jewelry.  Every piece held precious sentimental value from milestones in my life.  Every piece held great monetary value.  Every piece was too expensive to replace.  They were just gone.

The next week the other movers came and took the rest of our belongings away.  We spent the next three weeks on inflatable chairs and mattresses.  A few days in a hotel.  Then we got on another plane.   And went into another hotel.  Which brings us to now.

A couple of weeks ago, when I bought the burners, crockpot, grill, etc, I also got some shelves and a stacked drawer contraption. This was the first step in considerably improving my mood.  I had realized that part of the reason I was losing my mind in this place was not that the two rooms we live in are small, cramped, and inefficiently arranged, but that because they were so there was no where to put our things.  What possessions we had were crammed in corners, spilling over nightstands, stacked in walkways, etc.  It felt like were were about to pack up and leave at any moment.  But we weren’t.

Hense, the shelving, ceramic dishes, and dispensing of all suitcases from sight.  We live here.  I have constructed a three tiered metal shelf.  I have put down roots.

Now all we need is a house, our stuff, a defined job for Sam, some friends, and we’ll be golden.

First World Problems.

Shouldn’t I be more grateful?  More flexible?  Have more perspective? I can talk a good game, but when it is reality– this is what I am.  What is my contentment measured in?  What is it anchored to?  A house of my own?  My material goods surrounding me in an aesthetically pleasing fashion?  A daily routine comprised of activities structured around my entertainment?  Basically, it should be all about me.

My roots are showing.

They aren’t attractive.

Bella’s right.  It’s taking a long time.  I’m thinking now that perhaps I need a long time to get ready.  Since finding out six months ago that we were moving here, I’ve done very little to combat the resistance I’ve felt.  Writing it that way just made complete sense–I’ve been in a Resistance.  Had the beret and everything.  On the outside, I was on board.  I was going to make it work.  Everything was going to be Ok.  But when darkness fell, when faces turned from me, I was unfolding maps, digging tunnels under kitchen pantries, and devising secret codes.

But I’ve been made.

And it’s time to get over myself.

I need new roots.  And I need to resurface from my bunker.  I want to be on board for real.  I want to know, not just believe that everything is going to be OK.  I don’t want to hide myself, my real self.  I want my roots to show and not be ashamed.

tree roots