I've been reading journals. I've been a journal-writer since I was seven years old, so I have books and books and books of my life stories. Most of them aren't very interesting, but if you sit and read one all the way through, you can get a general feeling (and a few details you've been wondering about) about that particular year. First I found my journal from the beginning of 2009, when Husband and I were really struggling, right before we split up. Then I read this year's journal.
Then I found 2007.
I can't tell you how much it disturbs me that I was happier in Kansas than I have been the last two years. I can't even describe to you how messed up that is. I remember Kansas as the (second) darkest time of my life, filled with depression and loneliness. I remember feeling like the only thing that would ever make things right in the world was going home to Utah. I remember wishing and hoping and praying for an end to the nightmare we called The Army. "Just four years" turned into an eternity that finally ended, and I was sure that was the beginning of my real life. My good life.
There are very few things in this life that are actually greener on the other side. Utah definitely wasn't one of those things. All that time spent counting down to the end of our contract turned out to be a happier time in my life than I've had since I came home.
My life revolved around nothing except my family and my house. We bought a cute little house in a tiny little town called Abilene, Kansas, and all we did was raise our kids and get in shape. We were committed to exercise and healthy eating, so we looked amazing (I even wore a bikini that summer! I'm miles and miles away from that now). We concentrated completely on our health, our kids, and our [incredibly frustrating, stupid, unruly, un-potty-trained] dog. My life consisted of cleaning the house, teaching the kids, nursing (and then weaning) the baby (which was Asher at the time), and waiting impatiently for Husband to come home from a 16-hour day in uniform.
Don't get me wrong... the army was terrible for Husband. He has psychological scars that will never heal, and the job really messed him up. And I was hella lonely. I'm not about to underplay that. But you know what? We were on the same team. We had absolutely no one else to answer to. The most intrusive thing that came along was having to go to bed at 9:00 pm in order to get up at 4:00 am for PT. We had no help and no babysitters, but we were self-sufficient, and that made us happy!
It gave me joy to clean my house before my husband came home so he would feel less overwhelmed after an entire day in combat boots. It gave me joy to give my babies a bath and put them to bed with 3 books and 3 songs every single night. We never deviated from our routine, and we had perfect angel children most of the time. (Yes, this was before Asher could talk back to me... and neither of them were in public school yet.)
We had our share of problems, and our relationship DEFINITELY hadn't been perfected... but we were living FOR each other, and we haven't seen an ounce of that since we've been back.
I find no joy in cleaning my mother's house. I'm sorry, Mom, but I just don't. It's not my space. I don't feel proud of it. I find no joy in doing the laundry - even though I still have that amazing washer and dryer I raved about in my journal. I don't bother reading or singing to the kids at night, because the baby would terrorize the whole time and they're so completely wild they don't listen anyway.
Routine? Haha! What's that?
I'm not going to go as far as to wish we were back there... but life on our own certainly had its advantages. And there are just some things that have happened since that have changed us forever.
Thank God for a record of what life was like... back in the nightmare days of Fort Riley, Kansas.