The Navy

anxiety

I’ve had anxiety issues all of my life. I believe they originated in childhood. Growing up with parents who had physical fights after loud and long screaming arguments and who would move you from one state to another at the drop of a hat probably created some of my insecurity issues. My childhood wasn’t built on anything solid. It was built on fear. My younger brother and I spent a fair amount of time wondering when the shit would hit the fan next time and trying to plan out what our strategy would be for handling that. Would we call the police and risk getting into trouble? Or would he handle trying to keep them from killing each other while I took our little sister somewhere so she wouldn’t hear? Or would we just all run away?
At one point or another, we tried them all.
Flash forward to Hawaii, where we moved when I was a chubby, frizzy haired, freckle faced, redheaded ten year old. Hawaii is beautiful and I know so many people there who are also beautiful, both inside and out – but going to school in Hawaii as a little white girl is scary. You’re a haole and it brings out the bullies. Going to school every day was about survival. It was about knowing when to go to the bathroom, where to hide during lunch and which girls not to make eye contact with. And no sooner than my mother decided to “home school” us, our house burned down and we lost literally everything we owned.
Are you catching the theme of instability?
By the time I was in my late teens, I trusted absolutely nothing. I didn’t trust employment or people and the idea that I was ever safe from anything was ridiculous. Going to the grocery store I would check my wallet a half a dozen times to make sure my card was in there. And then checking out, I’d break out in a sweat thinking that it would be denied even though I had checked the balance right before I got there. Anyone I dated was cheating on me, would hit me, and eventually would leave me. I was never relaxed, never believed anything would last. I was terrified that I would lose my job and the girls and I would be homeless. It kept me up at night, planning out what I would pack, what I would abandon, what I would tell the children. Even social outings would render me so full of anxiety that I would sit in my car staring at the door and trying to work up the nerve to just walk in. Sometimes I couldn’t.
One day, in my twenties, I decided I was done. I was done being afraid. I was done living every single day wondering when the bottom would fall out. I was done. This was my life. I was reclaiming it. I was not going to be in a prison of fear anymore. Starting right then and there, I would look that anxiety in the face and walk right past it. It was the bravest I’d ever been. It took absolutely everything I had in me. And slowly, oh my god so very fucking slowly, I was able to climb up and out of that hole. It was like I had to show my brain that each thing wasn’t scary by doing it a dozen times before it was removed from the terror list. It was awful and it took years. And even now, in my mid thirties I still run into times where anxiety will creep in and consume me, occasionally for seemingly no reason at all.
One of my guilty pleasures now is being able to laugh at myself. I forgot my credit card in the car? I’m sorry, how crazy. Please go ahead and suspend my grocery transaction and I’ll go get it. Falling down in front of everyone? Ha! SO WHAT? Forgetting my badge for work. So annoying but not the end of the world. Small things. Small drops in a bucket and they can only take the amount of attention that I give them. Some things deserve a little bit of concern and I have to give them that or become entirely numb, but not everything. So when I feel like I am being apprehensive about something, like the drive to Connecticut that begins in the morning, I have to forgive myself a little bit. Being nervous is ok. I am allowed to be worried. The Ginger Chick from ten years ago could not have done it. She wouldn’t have been able to sleep for all of the freaking out about every single possible scenario. She would have needed so much xanax. But this Ginger Chick? She can.

in 36 hours

In 36 hours I will be loading up the car with my oldest daughter and her two kitties and heading to Connecticut. I can’t believe how something that was so far away has crept up on me. And what do I even want to say about it? I can feel the little tendrils of anxiety when I think about all of it compiled: three days of driving, driving in places I am not familiar with, hotels and cats, caravaning the two vehicles for thirty hours, driving through New York… all of the travel stuff freaks me out but I am feeling a strange calm when I think about leaving my daughter there. My baby will be living so far away in a place she isn’t familiar with and while that’s so surreal, it’s also so very right. She is supposed to leave and have a life. And I am so lucky that she has found a great partner to start her life with, someone who I trust to take care of her and to learn with her.
So I am all packed and Wednesday morning we are headed from here to Memphis, Thursday we will leave Memphis and make our way to Winchester, Virginia and finally on Friday, we will drive from Virginia into Connecticut. And then I am never driving ever again. Ever. Again. This isn’t a road trip in the traditional sense… no stopping and seeing all of the weird roadside attractions.. just a lot, a lot, of driving.

a random list…

I have lost an entire load of laundry in the last week. Does this happen to other parents? It happens occasionally in my home. I think it is because the girls don’t care who’s laundry they have. They just take it and stick it somewhere to keep me from griping at them for not putting their clothes away. A few weeks later, I will stumble across some items I’m missing and upon further digging, discover the entire missing load. In this case, I am very much looking forward to that happening as I am missing two pairs of jeans and I’ve been wearing this pair for three days straight…

The movers came! The movers came! All four thousand, one hundred and fifty pounds of stuff that we moved into the storage room is now packed into wooden crates and on it’s way to Connecticut!

The second I walked out of my bedroom this morning, I started my little mental zen chant I’m ok with the house being messy. I’m ok with the dishes not being done. I’m ok with the table being covered in random stuff. I’m ok with the house being messy. The GingerBeard Man and I discussed this at our anniversary dinner last night. We are accepting the mess around us right now in this time of chaos because trying to tackle it with all the stuff going on is a nearly impossible task, and one that takes the time we want to spend with the two older girls away from us. So for now I am ok with the house being messy.

I found my everyday bra this morning. I thought it was part of the missing laundry. It wasn’t. But I am glad to have it back.

I googled “stress sweating” after being a sweaty mess the last week or so. I couldn’t figure it out. During the whole drive to IKEA this past weekend, I was just dumping sweat. At work, I’m sweaty… even at home. So I finally stopped and asked myself what had changed lately and the only thing I could think of was that I have been super stressed out. Sure enough, The Internet confirms: We have two types of sweat glands: apocrine and eccrine. When we get stressed, the larger apocrine glands – mainly in the armpits and groin – produce sweat. Stressful situations also cause our heart rate to increase, and encourage hormones and adrenaline to flood the body, causing additional sweat from our eccrine glands.

When I told Youngest Daughter yesterday that it was The GingerBeard Man and my anniversary, she asked what we were going to do to celebrate. As he had not told me yet, I said I didn’t know. She excitedly blurted “you should have a water balloon fight!”

I have like four lists right now on my desk. One for all of the things I need to finish at work before I leave in one week for Connecticut. One for all of the things I want to do before I leave regarding home stuff (ha!). One for all of the stuff my oldest daughter needs to do prior to moving. And one for all of the things I want to remember to pack.

Second Oldest Daughter left for Spain yesterday. She sent me a text at 6:30 this morning to tell me she was drinking moscato in Spain. I couldn’t possibly be more jealous.

Chicken Week 2.0

My oldest daughter loves chicken more than any other protein. So when I was making the grocery list for this week, since she is staying with us, I asked her to tell me a bunch of dinners she’d like to have. She chose things like Chicken Caesar Wraps, Chicken Sliders on Hawaiian rolls, Caprese Chicken and Chicken & Mushrooms… This didn’t surprise me or The GingerBeard Man, as these were frequently what she wanted to eat when she still lived at home.
Next week is her last full week here before we hit the road to Connecticut. This morning, I sent her a text and asked her what her dinner preferences were for next week. Her response was “Chicken Week 2.0”.
So I am scrolling through recipes on pinterest and hellofresh, trying to pick the last few chicken meals I will make for this girl before she heads off and has to make all of her meals herself.
When my kids were little and I was a crazy busy single mom, I rarely cooked anything that didn’t come out of the freezer and get popped into the oven. My life revolved around convenience and frankly, I didn’t really know how to cook. It wasn’t until they were neared to their teenage years that I was afforded the luxury of caring about what we ate and learning to cook things that were mostly good for us. It was even later that I realized that they needed to learn those same things and started having them help me in the kitchen and eventually cook meals for the family on their own.
It’s one of the things that I am the most proud of. I have raised children that can cook. And not just dinners that go from the freezer into the oven, but with the use of real, fresh ingredients. And not only can they cook, but they appreciate so much eating food that is good for them. And not good for them too! lol We aren’t the kind of family that ignores the awesomeness that is Famous Amos cookies 😉

Two weeks to Connecticut

Two weeks.
Like.. I can’t even.
My life is all my oldest daughter right now. Packing, moving, hanging out with… Because, in just 14 days, we are hitting the road. And three days later, we will arrive at her new home in Connecticut.
When you are getting started as a parent, you stare into a chubby little baby face and wonder what your children will look like someday… You watch them playing pretend and you wonder what they will decide to do with their lives. And during that especially terrifying teenager time, you hope that they won’t turn into delinquent hellions… and they mostly don’t.
My oldest daughter has passed all of those milestones and will turn twenty this year. Those small wonders about how she will look or what she will decide to do with her life are miles behind me as I look at a beautiful adult who wants to be a teacher. She is grown. And she is moving far away. And I’m gonna cry my eyeballs out.

My last Mother’s Day

You know, sometimes you get super excited about a certain day… like your birthday or Mother’s Day and then when the days happens and it’s just another day, you get all bummed out? That used to happen to me a lot. It’s like the curse of being a single mom. Unless someone else steps in and helps your kids do some secret planning or shopping, then they really can’t do more than just be sweethearts. And that is enough of course, but sometimes they forget to be sweethearts altogether and you spend your Mother’s Day cleaning and doing laundry and trying not to kill them and at the end of it, you’re bummed because it was supposed to be a good day.
I’ve had those Mother’s days.. and I’ve had the ones where someone would step in and help the kids out and I would be surprised (or not, because – you know – kids aren’t all that sly, lol)… I’d come home to some cute little flower bouquet and some cards with handprints that were made in school or have the mornings where the kids brought me a practically inedible breakfast in bed. And of course it wasn’t the breakfast that you’d treasure, it was messy haired and beaming with pride little girls standing there while you ate it. Because those girls love you and they are glad you are their mother.
This year was different. I am so freaking hyper aware of all the time I am spending with my daughters right now. Having all four of my girls home on Sunday was more than enough to make everything right with my soul. Seeing their little sleeping faces and just being able to chat and hang out with them was so great. This is the last year that I know I will for sure have all of my daughters under one roof on Mother’s day. Gah. My heart.
I knew that the two older girls were up to something and when I woke up Sunday morning and crept out of my room for coffee, the sign in the photo was hanging in my kitchen. It is so perfect. I love it more than just about anything they’ve ever given me. For both the thought that went into it as well as what it symbolizes. These two are leaving me in the next few months and while I hope someday all of my girls will be close enough to me that we can spend weekends together like we did this weekend, I know it is unlikely. It is more likely that I will see them on Christmas and through facebook and we will catch up on phone calls and through photos. It brings my tears right to the surface.
I know I keep saying it. This is what is supposed to happen. I am so proud of these girls that they are courageously facing the new chapter in their lives. They are excited and happy and I’ve done my job. They are adults. They are leaving and that is exactly what is supposed to happen. They don’t need me and I am so grateful for that, but it is also kicking my ass a little. The closer we get to the end of June, when my oldest daughter and I make the trek to Connecticut, the more I feel my chest tighten at the thought. I’m going to miss her so much. I’m going to miss them both so much more than I even have words to express.

Minnesota bound…

Well she chose Minnesota.
I’m not surprised.
I paid the enrollment deposit this week and she is officially moving in August.
I’m so excited for her and for this adventure she is about to embark upon. Just as I am excited for my oldest daughter who is headed to Connecticut in June… but man, it’s so hard to think about them being gone.

I had my first daughter when I was sixteen, and my second daughter when I was eighteen. We all kind of grew up together. They made me into a mom, but also into an adult. They taught me pretty much everything that I know. For the last twenty years, my life has revolved around those two girls and the idea that they are now moving off to start lives without me is so perfectly wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

My two younger girls will still be home for another four and seven years and that is wonderful but somehow doesn’t actually relieve any of the pressure on my heart. So for now, I am trying to enjoy the time before they leave. I’m trying to immerse myself in hanging out with them and spending as much time with them as I can.

This past weekend, I had planned to have the afternoon to myself. The GingerBeard Man had went off to hang out with a friend and all of the girls were busy with their own plans. I had spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry. Finished with my chores, I took a quick shower and started contemplating what I was going to do with myself for the rest of the afternoon. A chick flick? A nap? A walk?
But as I stepped out of the shower, I heard my dogs start barking. The bark turned from DANGER to EXCITEMENT and so I knew someone the dogs knew had arrived. A few minutes later, my oldest daughter walked in and asked me to make her pancakes.
She’d driven an hour from her apartment to my house, just for pancakes.
My initial reaction, and I think most moms would have this, was to be bummed that my free time had just disappeared. However, after a moment, I realized this could be the last time I get to make her pancakes. Or breakfast for that matter. And so, with a lump in my throat, I took down the pancake mix and turned on the stove.

Talk to you later.

April 11, 2016
1:33am

“You’re my best friend.”

“You’re my best friend too, dearest.”

“I don’t enjoy everything that comes with the job.
I want more time with you.
I just can’t stand to say goodbye anymore.”

“Then don’t. Don’t say goodbye
Tell me I’ll talk to you later. Not goodbye.
I will always be here, we will always see each other again.”

“Alright. I love you.”

“I love you too, dearest.”

“I’ll talk to you later.”

Yes. We will.

The countdown begins.
April 2016 – June 2016
First Underway

Hello World!

April 10, 2016
1:34am

While I happened to be up wasting some time while watching old reruns of The x-Files, I realized that I had my favorite pen with me. So I figured what the heck? Might as well do this thing…
HELLO World! Or really HELLO anyone who happens to come across this blog floating around on The Internet. My name is The Legit Chick. Anywho, I am a 19 year old college student, cat lover, and Navy wife…
I know what you’re thinking – “OMG she’s WAY too young to be married, I mean look she used ‘omg’ in her blog post, blah blah blah, not mature or responsible BLAH.” Well just hold your pretty little horses, and let me fill you in on my life story real quick. Hah. Quick. As if you can tell a life story quickly.
Well first me, then my other half.
So I am 19, fresh out of high school, just jumping into college. I have it in my head that teaching is the thing for me. Kids. I love kids. I love hearing their stories, helping them to learn, and being there to listen. It’s just what I hope to do.
I currently live in a musty old apartment like all young broke people do. I have three cats that are my babies! Turd, Baby, & Monroe. I love them and their snuggly faces. Agh! (That’s an overwhelmed yell of excitement that I get whenever I think about how much I love my kitties!)
So all of that is fine and dandy, I’m just living my life like all college kids do. Until you jump back to the Navy wife part. Nineteen and married. To a Navy man no less. It has opened up this whole new world to be, but my navy man wasn’t always that to me. At first he was just My Dearest. He was one of the first people I met on the school bus on my first day of middle school. I was eleven years old, very shy and not very confident in myself. He was a thirteen year old goofy looking social butterfly. He made everyone laugh, sometimes even at his own expense but that didn’t matter – everyone loved him and so did I.
All I wanted was to have this boy notice me and want to be my friend as much I wanted to be his. But what did I have to offer? I was so shy and so quiet, not exactly the life of the party. And yet this boy noticed me. As much as he was goofy, he knew how to be sweet too. He was kind. I remember the first time he said my smile was beautiful on the bus ride home. Things weren’t always smooth sailing, we argued and occasionally hurt each other’s feelings without even knowing it. But we grew closer and became best friends who told each other everything.
For over two years we stayed side by side, always there for each other. We’d spend hours on the phone pouring our hearts out. I don’t know if you remember being thirteen years old and feeling like the world is against you, well he was there for me and I was there for him too.
On May 8th, 2010 he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was so excited! My first boyfriend and my first best friend, I was head over heels for this lanky fifteen year old boy, he was my world.
I don’t think anyone thought it was meant to last. I mean we were so young, but the months just kept on passing. There were many ups and downs because not only was our relationship growing, but so were we. We were turning from children into adults and sometimes that change hit us hard. People our age always judged us for choice to stay faithful and loyal to just one person at such a young age and it hurt us. Sometimes we felt old like we were missing out on being a teenager. How can you truly be a “teenager” and have “teenager fun” while being so tied down? Age was also hard for us. I am two years younger than my husband and it doesn’t seem like much now at nineteen and twenty-one but high school was a different story. We were picked on mercilessly. He got the worst of it. They called him a cradle robber, and he must be so lame if he can’t get someone his own age. Once on the bus, a boy making fun of us threw a binder at his head. Thirteen and fifteen; fourteen and sixteen; fifteen and seventeen; sixteen and eighteen – those were hard years and hard times. Was it really worth the trouble? The Drama? In the end, it was.
We became each other’s rock. No matter how hard or scary things got, we were there for one another. When the choice arose, we always chose each other. And two years after graduating high school, My Dearest realized that if he were ever going to get out of this town we grew up in, he would need to join the military. I begged at first for him not to leave. I couldn’t even remember a time when we were apart. But he said if we were ever going to have the life we wanted, he needed a way out and this was his best chance. So at the end of my senior year of high school, he left. It was February 1st, 2015. It was one of the hardest things I ever experienced. He was my closest friend and suddenly he was hundreds of miles away. I ached all over for days. I wrote to him every day that we couldn’t speak. I sent him fifty-two letters for fifty-two days.
After boot camp, he was shipped even further away, to Connecticut. I graduated high school, moved into my first apartment, started college, and got my first grownup job – all without him there. He started submarine school and life was empty. We got engaged when I visited him in Connecticut that summer and we were married on Christmas Day on his first visit home since joining the Navy.
This Monday, tomorrow, he goes underway for two months. And just a few weeks after he returns, I will be meeting him in our new home in Connecticut. Six years after we first started our relationship, six years – but finally me and My Dearest will have our own home together.