Like a Rolling Stone

I am not technically a fan of the Rolling Stones. Their music is fine to me, not bad, but just not necessarily what I seek. However, there is a song that has been rattling around in my brain for the better part of this strange year.

"I saw her today at the reception..."

My husband left a few days ago for his first four weeks in Angola. I have a range of emotional and mental responses to this, but admittedly at the moment they are mostly negative. I was not ready for him to go this time. I probably wouldn't have been ready a month from now, either. When we first discussed his possibly working on an overseas rotation, it was never coupled in my mind with being home alone with our newborn baby. I find this circumstance both logistically tricky and deeply emotional.

"A glass of wine in her hand..."


The people who read this blog and know us know that my husband is not a mean man. He is, in fact, quite caring. He tells me that many families like rotation life because the end result is that fifty percent of his time will be spent at home, as a full-time dad, not working. And also that the freedom of that schedule will allow us to spend more quality time with family and friends in Minnesota, the way we've often hoped to.

"I knew she was going to meet her connection..."

I believe him. I'm not immune to the positive aspects of his unusual work circumstances, but at the moment the intensity of the year has left me feeling overwhelmed and truly wiped out.

"At her feet was a footloose man..."

The day that he left felt like one of those really terrible days in life that you don't forget. He was busy preparing to go all day, and I was busy trying to care for the baby all day.  I sobbed when he got in the taxi.  Tears dropped from my eyes without warning throughout the days and nights surrounding his departure. Certainly pregnancy followed by newborn-induced sleeplessness exacerbated my intense feelings.

"You can't always get what you want..."

I, and we, had big plans for 2013. Big sewing plans, big professional plans, big travel plans, big financial goals, big plans for our new house. The curve balls were relentless though, and ultimately here I am, nursing our son in this dark nursery half-way around the world from my husband. It is very different from what I imagined having a family might be like.

"You can't always get what you want..."

It's not that I'm not thrilled about our beautiful baby, or blind to the positives of my husband's work. But it is true that I believe families should try to be together, and that the way this year unfolded is what has caused me to believe that more firmly. Tricky.

"You can't always get what you want..."

It is scary to think about the coming solo weeks after my Mom leaves. On the other hand, a lot of people have gone above and beyond to make sure that I don't feel alone or overwhelmed right now. One friend in particular has babysat more than once, brought ice cream and Chipotle, kidnapped me for a baby-free afternoon outside the house, helped me navigate my insurance coverage while I was stuck in my hospital bed, and even helped me improve my odds at continuing to breastfeed in the face of tricky circumstances when she saw, well before I did, how close we had come to not being able to do it. Other friends have dropped off food or helped watch the baby, and still others have sent things in the mail. My mom has not only baby-sat, given up sleep, and just sat still loving our baby for hours; but she has also helped me finish setting up and decorating the unfinished nursery by framing items and sewing bits that I had planned to do but had not completed prior to delivery.  All things considered, we feel loved and lucky, and I know that there are people I can call if I am truly struggling after my mom leaves.

"But if you try sometimes, you just might find..."

We are lucky for other reasons. My husband could easily have not been able to make it back from Indonesia for the birth of our son, but he did make it back. Also, we were able to be together from much of the pregnancy, and even more importantly, his strange job allowed him to be at home with us, full-time, for the first five weeks of our baby's life. Even though I am not quite yet able to feel happy and cheerful about the way this week and this month feel, my brain recognizes that it will all work, because it keeps doing that anyway, no matter what happens.

"You get what you need..."

I can't deny that we have what we need: love, health, each other, and some extras. Just like the song says.