On Day 726, Baby Potato and I said goodbye to our love (P, the Big Potato) and took off on an extended trip to the US. We were going to meet the family. We said, “See you later,” thinking we’d be reunited in a mere six weeks.
What I never expected was how hard jet lag and new mommy exhaustion would hit me. After getting four hours of sleep in a seventy-two hour window, which included twenty-four hours of international travel and fifteen time zones, I was beat. Pure and total zombie mode here. For ten days (the length of the first leg of our trip, mind you), I was incapable of caring for our son alone. I don’t know what might have happened without my family’s help. They watched this beautiful boy of ours while I slept and sat with me while I fed him to make sure no harm came to the two of us. There are feedings and times that I cannot and do not remember. It’s such an incredibly scary feeling to wake up thinking you’ve gone eight hours without feeding your seven week old and then get told you’ve fed him, not once, but twice.
So, you can imagine my stress and my fear when P tells me he will return to Korea days AFTER us. I was already nervous about the return flight, as the trip over was plenty hard and everyone said it’d be so easy with a two month old. I was even more nervous about the fact that we’d be turning right around and doing it again six weeks later since we move in mid-April. Three international trips in a twelve week time frame? And our son won’t even be five months old by the time it’s all said and done?!
There was never any question of us returning to Korea. I don’t make decisions that separate our family. I’ve always sacrificed in order to be with my husband. Always. We will be separated more than enough with P’s career in the military; I will not make a decision that leads to us being apart for any significant amount of time. Much less with this sweet baby who changes and grows so much every single day. How selfish would it be of me to keep this adorable boy away from his daddy just because I can barely stomach the thought of stepping on another plane?
But that was the decision we made together. To stay half a world apart in case I continued to react badly to the jet lag for our son’s safety. To take the hit now in order to give stability to our son’s little life. Sleepless mama equals crazy mama, and this sweet baby actually has a sleep routine now.
I hate that P has had to miss half of our baby’s life because of work. I hate even more that he will miss another six weeks or so (who knows exactly how long with this crazy Army of ours). Yeah, twelve weeks is a drop in the bucket of our life, but it’s our bucket and those drops are what fill it. I have such a huge sense of sadness for the time I am missing with my husband and that he is missing with his son.
And what I find to be just as sad is that we moved away from Korea on Day 726, five days shy of our two year mark, with no finality or closure. We did not say goodbye to our friends, our parish, our woods, our home. We did not have beef and leaf one last time (not that I can eat it with my dairy/beef/soy/peanut intolerant baby, but that’s not the point). We did not do those last minute touristy things we put off until the end. We will not see one last spring in Korea.
Right now, P is an hour from landing in Korea, and it upsets me that we are not there to welcome him home. That others will be there to welcome their soldier home, but ours will go home with no fanfare, no kisses, and no milk in the fridge.
I’d be lying, though, if I said I’m not happy to be snuggled in bed with the baby Potato, free of jet lag, safe and sound. I’d be lying, if I said I am not excited to spend a little more time with my family. We know this is ultimately the best decision for us: we wouldn’t have made it if we didn’t believe that. Nevertheless, I am still sad to see this chapter of our lives close. Korea is where so much happened for us. Korea is where my heart still resides.
Now, we are back to the waiting game. Let’s go, March! Hurry along now. April brings far more exciting things for this little family.