I once was told the secret to juggling is to just keep the balls up in the air. My friend said once that if you look carefully your hands barely touch the balls. You just keep tossing them up. If you try to hold onto one too long you will drop them all. I have never learned how to actually juggle things with my hands. On this journey to the new normal, I feel like that is what I am constantly doing. I've always felt kinda like a juggler as a Mom, military wife and small business owner, but now there's just so much more as a wounded warrior wife. It's so true, "The fight for the wounded never ends."
On January 22, 2011, I was a Mom, Army wife, small business owner, Pampered Chef consultant, Kappa Delta Clarksville Alumnae Association Shamrock chair, Girl Scout leader, PTO volunteer, ASCPE Fellowship member, Dance mom and now I can't remember what else. Luckily I managed to keep it all very well organized and somehow managed to get it all done.
I have to tell you I laughed so hard last week when I was accused of controlling Chaz. True, I am have a little OCD. True, I have zero problem speaking up for what's right. True, I get crap done. Also the truth is my husband does not need for me to speak for him so I have not and will not do that ever. My husband may have lost his legs but his personality and brain functions are exactly like they were before he stepped on the IED. Chaz is so amazing. He doesn't need anyone to tell him what to do. Do I encourage him?! Damn straight, I do. There's a huge difference between encouraging and controlling. And seriously I need as many easy buttons as possible. I need Chaz to manage Chaz and I'll manage me, the girls, the bills, the girls' education and everything else.
Sure in the early days following January 22, 2011, I did way more for him than I do now. I helped him with all sorts of things. Come on, the guy only had one useable arm when I first got him back. But every chance I got I encouraged and pushed him to keep trying to do more. I still help him with a lot of things. I have never pitied Chaz nor told him he can't do something. But control him, that is far fetched?!
I already have so many balls in the air why would I want to add more?! Common sense would tell you I would be looking to drop some of them out?! And FYI I couldn't control Chaz if I wanted to, he's as stubborn as I am. My husband is a brilliant man and doesn't need anyone to tell him what to do. He has gotten this far with my support (notice the word support, not control). Do you think we'd be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary if I had ever tried to control him?!
Part of the controlling part came when Chaz turned down a trip. The girls and I were not allowed to go. I didn't even know about the trip until after the rumors started. People don't understand why Chaz doesn't want to go on these trips where families aren't allowed. Here's why, Deryn is going to be 10 this year. Do you know Chaz has missed over half of her life thanks to his career choice? Thanks to the IED he is finally getting to be a Dad and he is enjoying every minute of it. Chaz wants to be with his girls. He has told me more than once that just being in the apartment and all four of us being here together gives him so much peace. The bottom line is the man almost didn't make it. He and I look at all of this as a gift. We are not staring a gift horse in the mouth. We are beyond thankful that we are all still together. Chaz just wants to be a Dad right now. Before we know it the girls will be grown and gone. There will always be trips, but we can't go back and enjoy our girls while their young. It's unfortunate that more people don't understand this. We are a team we heal together. That's what Chaz wants and that's what he gets! I know we are so weird because we like our kids and we like to do things as a family. We like weird and we'll stay that way. It worked out pretty well for us so far.
People crack me up. We are living in an oxymoron. You are told that if you need help this is who you go to. Well that person blows you off, so you go some place else. Well then that first person gets their feelings hurt because you went to someone else. Then they get mad because it's the Army and they get yelled at when they don't do their jobs. To which I always reply, well then you should do your job. I have told several people that if you worked for me, I would have already fired you. So because I get things done I get accused of being controlling. I can see how determination becomes controlling. But that's not what is going on here. It all goes back to you not doing your job and me finding someone who does.
I am very familiar with the Army's structure of how it all works. That's how I know how to navigate the system. But WTB is not your typical line unit, but many working in it fail to recognize this. For over a decade Chaz did his job and I stayed out of it. At the beginning of this journey, I had to become more involved with the US Army then I ever have been. He needed me to handle it all and I did. At first we were told there are people there to help the families and now we're being told that they are for the soldiers only. Well this is not just about the soldiers. We are healing families. I know the Army doesn't normally mess with the families and now we're asking you to do something so far from the norm. But please don't tell me one thing and then come back and tell me the opposite. The bottom line is who is here to help these families?! We have got to make this system clear so families can navigate it. The wounded warriors need us to do this for them. In my words, it's time for a come to Jesus meeting. I can't stand watching this families suffer. They don't know where to go to get help and they are going through so much. Things were getting better, but we have slid back down a bit and now it's time to see what we can do to get it back and build on the good.
In the meantime, I am going to see about those juggling lessons. I missed the memo on controlling Chaz. So I guess I need to learn how to juggle more balls. I am so glad that we never truly graduate high school, we just learn how to weed through the BS. Glad I like gardening so well! ;)