Saturday, July 31, 2010

A time to grow

Life has been a lot of things lately.  Challenging, busy, eye-opening, humbling, and tender.  Being without a husband and companion for 4 weeks has surely been difficult, but even beyond Neil's absence, the greatest challenge has been all the uncertainties.  When will my house sell?  When will I see Neil again?  How long is too long?  I hate not having answers.  I hate being in limbo.  I hate feeling as though I don't belong anywhere.  Even an answer to ONE of my questions would help!

This I DO know:
We are working with an awesome realtorThe one we just "fired" - complete opposite of awesome.  As much as I'd love to rip the guy to pieces, he's not worth the trouble.  Our home was re-listed yesterday, and before noon today our new realtor had already received 3 phone call inquiries.  That's more action in 1 1/2 days than we saw in the 41 days it was listed with our previous realtor.  Again, opposite of awesome. 

Neil loves his new job, the people he works with, his boss, and the area (aside from the heat).  He heads to Pennsylvania August 15th for some intense 3 week training, and will finish September 3rd.

I miss him
.  Well of course I miss him - the whole Neil package!  But it's the small things that stand out to me most.  Watching our shows after we've put the kids down while sharing a bowl of chips and queso (which inevitably gets hoarded by Neil).  Hearing the garage door open and watching the kids race to welcome their daddy home.  Folding his laundry.  Making him a sandwich.  Sitting next to him in Sacrament Meeting.  Smacking each other on the butt.  I miss it all, but mostly those simple bits and pieces of our life, together.

I have a whole new respect for single moms and the sacrifices they make.  I constantly tell myself I could never be a single mom, but probably the greatest lesson I've learned since Neil left is that I never think I can handle something until I have to.  It hasn't been an easy job caring for two little ones on my own, but I've carried on anyway.  Nights are definitely the toughest.  By then I think we've all had enough.  Keeping my house clean has also been interesting.  I've actually stayed on top of it really well, but wow can Ryan make a mess fast!  I'd finally finished picking up today before we went to run some errands.  I am in the habit of making sure things look good any time I leave the house now because, well, that's part of the game when you're selling your home.  Anyway, everything was in place: dishwasher was running, garbage was out, toys were put away, kids were dressed.  I was finally getting MYSELF looking presentable to go out in public when I heard what sounded like running water.  When I ran out to the kitchen, there stood Ryan in the kitchen sink (which he naturally climbed into all by himself) with the water on, pumping the dish soap dispenser.  I immediately transferred him from the sink to the floor where he heroically galloped off giggling to himself.  Meanwhile the water's still running and I now have a lovely puddle of dish soap on my counter.  It's stuff like this that keeps me on my toes.  Neither of the kids ever stop, but especially Ryan.  He just goes from finishing one disaster to creating another.

While Chloe has been more challenging pushing her limits and whatnot, I will have to say she's also shown more love and affection towards me than she ever has before.  There have been moments when I've been in tears and she's simply walked over, given me a hug and kiss and then said, "There mommy.  Now you can be happy again!"  I'm not the only one who's shed tears over Neil's absence though.  Chloe definitely recognizes the changes that are taking place, and she's been affected by them too.  At first she didn't seem to get it, but now that Neil's been gone a full month and our only source of communication is by phone or Skype, it's definitely sunk in.  It's been an interesting observation watching Chloe learn to cope with this new chapter in her life.  She is certainly growing to be a tender-hearted little thing. 

The very first thought I had when I learned Neil would be moving to California without me and that I would have to stay behind until our house sold was, simply, "It's time to grow."  It's proven to be true, and has pretty much become my new motto.  I have found in this experience, as well as a few others over recent months, the value of privacy and of keeping certain things to yourself.  I've had many emotions race through my head, a few of which I've considered sharing with others but realized were more appropriate to take directly to the Lord.  I think this experience of being by myself has really enabled me do that more and more, ultimately building upon my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.  After all, there are simply some things we can only discuss with Him!  I have had some very lonely nights; nights where I've cried into my pillow feeling so overwhelmed and hopeless, and so lonely that I didn't have anyone to cry to or bear my burdens with.  And even though I didn't feel immediate comfort all of those times, looking back I've grown to see the small acts in which Heavenly Father has allowed me to grow and recognize His hand in all things.

While I was visiting my family in Utah a couple weeks ago, my mom introduced me to a book by Sheri Dew entitled, 'If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard'.  In discussing how President Hinckley handled his wife's passing she says, "...Despite suffering such a ravaging loss at an age when many would simply give up, and with the weight of the Church and indeed the world on his shoulders, he keeps marching on."  Sometimes recognizing the trials of others and further appreciating how they handled those trials helps keep our trials in perspective.  The Pioneers, for example, whose accomplishments and triumphs we celebrated a short week ago!  Compared to their afflictions, my trials seem pathetically small and insignificant.  So what can I learn from the Pioneers?  What can I learn from President Hinckley?  To keep marching on myself.  I stumble some days, and will continue to, I'm sure.  But the next day I'll get back on my feet again and march some more.  Sooner or later this will all make sense.  And sooner or later, we'll be a family again.


Rebekah said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel!! I remember it all too well when Dan came down to AZ before we could move or when he was deployed (when Seth was little). I know the lonely nights you speak of and all the frustrating (but cute) things the kids do because they don't quite get it. I know it's hard to fathom but it'll be all over before you know it and you'll be together again!! You are so strong and you have some great kids and together this too shall pass!!! Good luck with everything and I pray your house will sell VERY soon!!!

Wendy said...

Our prayers are with you during this time. We love you!

Wendy said...

Our prayers are with you during this time. We love you!

Anonymous said...

I often tell myself when I get comfortable with life the Lord throws us a curve ball and we are forced out of our comfort zone and grow. You are loved by of them being me. You are wonderful! Keep your chin up! P.S. Love the John Mayer....I'm a fan!

Jaimee said...

Thinking of you, Valeri! You are amazing and I admire your perspective!

Tami said...

I can't even imagine how hard it must be to take care of two little kids without a break and without someone to share the load with. You are doing a great job and I pray your house sells soon so that we can see you out here in California. ;)

Coates Family said...

You're a strong woman Valeri and I admire you. Keep marching.

Bre said...

Hang in there. This won't be forever :)

Becki Madsen said...

I know exactly how you feel- I was without my husband every two weeks for 19 months, it is not fun, but yes you do appreciate things more! Hang in there! Shauna said you recommended a photography class to her, could you send me the information? Thanks Valeri!