A while ago, I told Chaz that this whole experience is like having a child all over again. When you first get your soldier back, all they do is sleep, eat, pee and poop just like a newborn. As they get a little better you get to talk and giggle (coo & goo) with them. They finally get to eat solids and then they finally begin telling you what they want to eat. You get to help teach them how to walk. If you want to take them anywhere, it's just like when you are packing up an infant. I joke all the time, I traded a stroller for a wheelchair and a diaper bag for a bag full of medicine and medical supplies. Then your soldier gets to learn how to drive. Last you have to let them fly out of the nest. What is so hard to understand is that with a child it happens over a longer period of time, with an amputee it's only months.
Most people know I am an OCD/Control Freak. Chaz says I am not really that bad, but I do like and thrive on organization and planning. You can't throw a wrench into my system and expect me to be automatically happy about it. This experience has been a great lesson in patience and planning. I have had to accept that I am cannot be in control of everything. I have had to let go of a lot. I have handled it all really well. I have had a few temper tantrums, but usually I had very good reason. But Chaz says I have become a lot more laid back, which he says is good. It is amazing to me that now I don't seem to get upset as quickly over things. I tend to handle them all better to. I decided to let our van meet a concrete barrier the other day. I parked, made sure the door still opened and Chaz's ramp system still worked. Once I saw it did, I closed it all up and drove on. My friend who was with was like oh my goodness, how are you not crying?! I said, "It's just a van." It's amazing how this experience has helped me put things in perspective.
Chaz is doing so very well. It has been less than 11 months and his dependency on me has diminished a lot. In January and February, he needed me for everything. Now he only needs me a few hours a day. If his right arm wasn't fused, he would need me a lot less. It is really hard to get used to. I am so thankful that he is such a rock star and is doing so well. But just like a mom letting her children leave the nest, I am so full of so many mixed emotions.
I am so excited for him. He can do so much! He is just a rock star. Chaz and I have had the same goal since day one, we want our lives back to as close as we had them before January 22. I am proud that he is so independent, but at the same time it is so hard to not be needed as much. I also didn't think this would all happen so fast. We were first got here they told us based on others with similar injuries it would take 4 years for Chaz to be healed. We haven't even finished year one and look at how far he has come. I can't help but wonder if I am going through all of this now so I can handle letting the girls grow up and move away a little easier. I am still so afraid for him. I still wonder what if he falls, what if he gets sick, when was his last x-ray, did he eat enough breakfast? It is so hard to just let go of all of that when you are the one they were so dependent on for so long. But you have to let go. You have to acknowledge they are grown ups and perfectly capable of handling everything. You have to trust them and know they are ok. I told Chaz yesterday that I don't think I'll ever stop worrying. It's hard to stop worrying about someone you love when you were so close to losing them. I know he will fall and get scuffed up, but doesn't everyone now and again?
I am so thankful Chaz and I have been together for over 12 years. We know when the other one has something going on. We know when it's time to talk. Chaz and I are beyond husband and wife and beyond best friends. We are at a level that is beyond amazing and I cannot possibly label it. I am so thankful for that. At the same time there's that motherly part of me that still wants to control everything he does. I want to keep him (and the girls) in a little bubble and protect them from everything. But if I do I will foster resentment instead of fostering his resiliency. I guess you can say this roller coaster of crazy ups and downs is not ending anytime soon. I am on a new turn now and I have to figure out how to hold on and navigate it. I have to figure out where I am needed and make sure I am not holding him back. The last thing I ever want to do is hold him or our girls back. I don't think I have held him back yet, if anything I feel that I have encouraged him to push himself a little further. I was just not ready for him to be so independent so quickly, but I married a kick ass Army Infantry soldier, why would I have expected anything less than awesome from him?!
I know several wives are having a hard time flipping the mommy switch off too. It is so good to know you are not alone. This is a hard phase to navigate, the lines are sometimes drawn in sand and the wind seems to blow them away. But I just have to remember my oldest child is 32 years old, even though sometimes he acts like our 6 and 9 year old kids. He is an amazingly brilliant man and never ceases to amaze me with his spirit. He is my Hero. I am so thankful that God brought me such an amazing friend and partner for life. Now I just have to chill out and let him finish growing up. I have to make sure the see-saw is balanced just right. I have to balance the fear, control, encouragement, all of it just right so it all works. But this is the same balance I have to maintain with our girls too. One thing is for sure, I am looking forward to getting off of this roller coaster!