Choices, Chances, Challenges

I wanted to write a little bit about school, homework, marriage and life in general. Yesterday fell into all of the above. I’d been trying to catch up on the homework I’ve been ignoring the last few days, so I was working on some poems, trying to catch up on reading and everything, but generally not very enthusiastic about it. When James got home from work, which was after six, he’d had a long day, I’d had a long day, he changed clothes and we both flopped onto the bed and talked some.

He got up to get on with our evening, and I didn’t budge. I didn’t feel like doing whatever it was I was supposed to be doing. He offered me dinner. And I love that offer. It’s one I can’t refuse. Because dinner (or any meal) out with my husband is time that we’re not distracted by our various preoccupations (including, but not limited to TV, video games, and internet), and we actually have some pretty good conversations. I sometimes feel bad that my work occupies all of the dining room table so that we only ever eat in front of the TV on the living room floor. However, we do get to go out at least once or twice a week and connect on a different level than the every day.

It can be hard to talk about the tough things in life when you’re steeped in the routine of it. But last night, we talked about some tough things. We talked about kids, specifically ours. It was mostly fun talk, and we talked knowing that neither of us can really anticipate all of the realities that will hit us head on when we do eventually procreate. He can’t comprehend how it will be to raise a girl, for example. And I don’t know how I’ll be as a figure of authority. From the kid talk, we got to the living situation talk. We know that we are going to need more space if we’re going to add members to our family. Hell, we need more space for even the two of us. From the living space talk, then, we got to the money talk. Checking, savings, debt, and all of it. The fact is, James needs a better job. He could easily be promoted from his current position within his current company, and often, he thinks that might be tolerable. But we both know that the service provided by companies like Blockbuster are not going to be in demand forever. Even now, the company’s losing money, which I hope is common knowledge because I don’t want to be sued for slander or anything. And even though it’s lost money in the past and bounced back, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to turn out that way. And who wants to settle for “tolerable,” anyway? So, this turned into the job discussion.

We talk about his job situation a lot. And it’s never the same conversation, which might be easy to fall into under our circumstances. I can’t really explain how it changes, just that it does, and I feel like we’re always covering new ground, even if we’re touching on the same issues over and over. Last night, we again discussed the possibility of Iraq. I haven’t mentioned this here before, but it’s something I think I’m ready to. He would sign on with State Department to go over for a year doing paperwork of some type, hopefully in policy making or intelligence analysis. This would not only get his foot in the Government’s door, but probably do quite a bit to jumpstart his career.

He worries, though, and with good reason. We all know what a bad situation we’re in over there, and we would all be more at ease with our loved ones safe on their home soil, even if they’re diplomats or bureaucrats. But there is work to be done there. And with every door that slams shut in my husband’s face, this opportunity looks better. I suppose that says something, too. His main worry, though, is not his own safety, but leaving me behind to worry and be sad. His secondary concern is the possibility that his going to Iraq would literally kill his mother. And with her health, it’s not really that melodramatic of him to express it this way. There are still some doors that may still be open to him, though, and we are both holding out hope that something will come from those, instead.

But if it doesn’t?

I told him he should go. I told him that I would worry, that I would miss him terribly, and I would be lonely, but I know that I have a solid support structure of family and friends in place that would keep me afloat until he returns. I told him that as long as he kept in contact as much as possible, I would promise not to worry too much, because I know that if this is what he has to do to get onto the path he wants and deserves, he must go. I told him that if he goes to Iraq, I would worry for a year, but if he doesn’t, I would worry our whole lives that he wasn’t living up to his potential, his desires, or his dreams, and that he would regret later not doing what it takes now.

In the meantime, nothing is set in stone. So, wish him luck as he reaches out to some old connections. We’re going to a career fair at my school in a couple weeks, and someone from CIA will be there. He’s going to call his aunt about getting into Naval Intelligence, and he’s going to look into becoming a Foreign Service Officer. He knows that sometimes he doesn’t try as hard as he should be trying, but he appreciates it that I don’t nag (much). I sometimes vent a little (here, and to friends), I get a little frustrated, which I told him, but most of the time, just the fact that he’s trying at all means a lot to me. So what I do instead of nagging is I just find little ways to let him know that I’m behind him, I believe in him, I want him to be happy and I will always support him, no matter what. It seems to work.

After laying all this out here, I’m having second thoughts about clicking “Publish.” This all seems even more personal and revealing than writing about sex or body parts. Maybe it’s because it’s not just about me. I will post this, though, because it’s important. And because it’s not just about me. There is a “we” here. I hope I’ve made it clear.

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3 thoughts on “Choices, Chances, Challenges

  1. Jill says:

    I know what you mean about having second thoughts with placing such personal (yet witholding names which is also very personal) information out in the world of strangers. I’ve second guessed myself a few times while writing. I admire how confident you seem to be regarding everything. I also empathize with feeling left behind, I’ve been going through it already and worrying about the coming/pending deployment. At least James has a choice about his future, as few doors as there are presenting themselves. I’m still struggling about the fact we can’t say “no” to year-long departures and crappy situations. I’m glad you have had the chance to be married and gain some foundation before he may have to go, I’m sure it will help tremendously, as will friends and family.

    Keep your head up and inspirations coming. I look forward to them dailiy.

    Jill

  2. You are a braver woman than I. I could never do it. You are as brave as he is for even thinking about letting him go. I can’t take it. When so many of our TRAINED SOLDIERS are getting killed. When so many Iraqi civilians are getting killed just for cooperating with Americans. I don’t mean to make it worse, it is just my Michelle over-reacting tendancy. I would never in a million years let Sean go. Not that he would want to. You never know, there is so much craziness going on here right now that something might open up.

    I hope something come for him, he deserves better than he is getting from the powers that be. I hope that if he makes the decision to go he will be safe and carry a big gun.

    And I hope you will be safe and not more lonely than you have to be. You’ll always have a place at the Higgins Homestead for Hegemony Transients.

    Michelle

  3. Stacey says:

    I hope that James makes a decision that he (and you) are happy with.

    I can completely understand your fear having to do with Iraq…more than I’d like to. My boyfriend has decided to enlist in the military and will be shipping off for basic training and officer training in November. Though there is a large part of me that doesn’t want him to go, it’s his choice and I’m proud of him for standing up like that.

    But, it’s a frightening concept that for the next 3-4 years (assuming we could handle the long distance), I will be living in constant fear that he will be shipped off to Iraq or another dangerous place. Though the odds are against something bad happening to him, it’s impossible not to fear the worst.

    I hope that James finds something that will bring him fulfillment without danger and without separation from you. You both deserve better.

    But, if he does choose something that will separate you for a while, there will be plenty of people who are around to distract you and give you support (even if it’s across a few states via e-mail.)

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