When your husband gets mobilized, MilitaryOneSource sends you a nice pile of literature: glossy magazines with happy soldiers reuniting with family, brochures containing phone numbers, DVD’s for the kids, and inspirational books. They also send you a flyer outlining the Emotional Cycles of Deployment. (Read the next sentence with a nice, pasty smile.) This material is provided in order to assist you in your transition from civilan to supportive military family, and to be prepared for the emotional rigors of your upcoming separation.
I didn’t have time for that psycho-drivel emotional cycle crap during Phase One: Rip Your Hair Out Getting Ready.
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But now, things are so different. I have just a little more time to breathe, at least in the evenings. For example last night after work, soccer practice, dinner, dishes, homework, baths, laundry, stories, prayers, kisses, and contemplating donating a limb for the creation of a clone, I had time to watch a television show! We’re not talking iCarly or Spongebob Square Pants here. We’re talking a real bona-fide ay-dult television show. I was there, I was committed, I was snuggled into bed, and the television – it was on. I’m sure it was just fabulous. At least, I’m sure it was a really great ten minutes. I just know it was. I do remember thinking of Husband and his probable lack of sleep exceeding my own, you know, right before falling asleep myself. I am so sympathetic that way.
The point is, I finally decided to look at my stack of propaganda tonight.
Okay, fine. You’re right. It’s not really propaganda. But I’ve decided to move quickly from Phase Two: Complete Mental Instability and fully embrace Phase Three: Mad As Hell. I feel I have pretty accurately self-diagnosed myself after looking back at last week’s posts in which I started my transition. There were signs. Perhaps one was when I fantasized about giving the Lancome Lady a tracheotomy with her own mascara brush. And maybe it was wrong to threaten my Husband with execution by guinea pig. I mean technically there’s not a “violence” phase of the cycle listed in the materials (for my kids’ sake let’s hope not anyway), so let’s just go with ”Mad as Hell.” It sounds better. More militaryish. More patriotic.
So, as I look over these materials, I suddenly start laughing. And of course, being in transition between Phases Two and Three, I start my laugh with a big HA! then land somewhere around sarcasm, ending it very near mad scientist. Thank goodness the kids were in bed. I kinda scared myself just a little at the end, there. Anyway, here’s what I evil-laughed at. For the first time, I realized that I was sent a book entitled:* * * The Courage to Be Brilliant: How Five Acts of Improvement a Day Will Make You Shine! * * *
Are you freaking kidding me? Five? Five? I don’t even do five pushups right now! You want me to improve five things? About my actual life? Each and every day? Right. Like I want to “improve” right now. How about let’s focus on maintaining sanity for a sec, MilitaryOneSource. Just to clarify, are these five different things, or can they be the same five things?
- Try not to be so angry.
- TRY not to be so angry.
- TrY not To BE so AnGRy.
- Try not to be soooooo angry.
- AHHH. TRY NOT TO BE SO ANGRY!
And for the record, I purposely did not type “try not to be angry.” I like to set reasonable expectations for myself.
If I were forced to actually examine and identify five DIFFERENT things about my current state that need improvement, I’d likely erupt into a karate-chopping fit. I can envision slapping the book right on the photo cover, right across the author’s throat for a cathartic but unsatisfyingly symbolic neck chop. It would not be pretty. Let me tell you, it would definitely involve a follow-up trip to Jack In the Box for one to ten tacos. Guaranteed.
I cannot read this book right now. That idiotic title alone is enough to make me want to look for my mascara weapon.
Instead, I’ve decided to go with something gentler and kinder to get me started. It’s Sesame Street’s “Talk, Listen, Connect” DVD for deployment. It looks so much happier! More colorful. Less personally intrusive, despite the annoyance factor. And hey, if Elmo tells me I can make it through this deployment YEAR just fine without maiming anyone, and if he doesn’t ask me to change FIVE things about my CRAPPY personality every day, well, there’s a pretty darn good chance that we will all make it through the DVD without any “permanent” scars.
Just watch your back, Elmo.