Josh's Final Message

 Josh's final shower message to me (written with Wyatt's foam alphabet, that has only one of each letter) was "U CAN DO THIS".  I had been doing great.  Holding it together, feeling optimistic.  At the sight of that beautiful encouragement from my husband, I lost it.

It reminded me that I would be doing this alone.  But also, it reminded me that he believes in me.  And that vote of confidence was so uplifting.  I left it up for two days.  I needed it to buoy me along as we hugged our last hugs and said our goodbyes.

 It was strange for him to pack (in about an hour) everything he needed into just two pieces of luggage and a backpack.  Normally we have ten pieces of luggage, plus a backpack per person!  It was strange to drop him off and not go get on the plane with him.  For four years now, we've traveled together as a family.  The last time we did a drop off like this was when Wyatt was about six weeks old.

 It was very, very different this time.  The boys understand that Daddy's going to be gone a long time.  They, along with me, have their own feelings about this.  Thus far, we haven't had any tears from them, but I can see in their behavior that they're dealing with his absence in their own ways.  And last night at bedtime Logan said, "I hope daddy surprises us and comes home early."  I felt bad crushing his dreams, but I reminded him Daddy will be home on Halloween and not before, simply because I don't want him to have any unrealistic expectations.

 I won't lie. I did the ugly cry when he was hugging those boys goodbye at the airport.  
They were so sweet. 
"I love you, dad."  
"See you soon, dad."  
"Have a safe flight, dad."  
"Do good teaching, dad."  
They totally get it.  They know that him leaving is hard, but also necessary.  They know that he's working for our family.  And what I know is that this will all be worth it when I have a healthy baby in my arms, and we're back together as a family.


 This first bit apart is eleven weeks.  He'll be home for Halloween.  Then we have six weeks until he's home for Christmas.  Then it's just three short weeks before he'll come home for my planned c-section.  We're hoping he'll get two weeks home for that.  And after that, we're not sure.  He may come home one more time in the spring, but we might not see him again until May when school lets out.  Honestly, I am taking it one bit at a time.  Right now my focus is on the fall, starting up homeschool (on Monday! Eek!) and staying busy until Halloween.  (Including fall ball- baseball- which I signed the twins up for on Saturday. They are so excited! And swim lessons, my personal favorite.) 


So many people have reached out to us during this time of goodbyes, and I can't tell you how much it means.  A lot have asked what, if anything, they can do.  A few suggestions:
Send Josh a care package
We can make him feel loved even though we aren't there to love him.  Snacks, meal items, prizes for his students... It doesn't matter what makes up your care package-- it truly is the thought that counts.  I want him to know that he is loved and supported and appreciated for what he does.  Yesterday Wyatt told the lady at Winco Foods that his dad was going to Alaska "to teach all the kids".  It was so sweet.  What he does is really amazing and really challenging, and if we can collectively add a little sunshine to his weeks alone, I want to do that.
Reach out to the boys and myself
If you think of us, let me know.  Send me a message, comment on a blog post, shoot me a text.  And if you want to get together, even better! Nail me down for a time so that the boys and I have something to look forward to on our calendar.
Pray for Josh, pray for me, but mostly pray for this baby.  It's the reason we're sacrificing all that we're sacrificing and I can't wait to meet him or her.


In other news, I hit sixteen weeks today, four whole months, and I am so relieved to have made it this far. I will be even more relieved when I hear Little's heartbeat again on Thursday at my prenatal appointment.

Meanwhile, I'm contemplating gender reveal ideas to make things fun for Josh who won't be here when I find out.  There are so many awesome ideas!

"I love you mom"

And I'm enjoying my boys: Jack wrote me this note last night during his bath; apparently taking a note from his dad's book.  Logan hugged me while I was brushing his teeth and said he was sorry I cried at the airport and was going to miss daddy.  And Wyatt cracked us up on the way home from baseball sign ups.  Exasperated with his brothers, he sighed loudly then said, "For the love of pete! Would you listen to me?!?"  They are the sunshine in my days, and I'm so so grateful to be home with them.



Pam said...

Well, darling girl, I hope you realize we are in a drought here in SoCal. Your post started an unending flo-of-water-works ... here in the middle of the Desert! It will take two days to re hydrate!

It will be okay, I know, but it doesn't make it any easier for you!

I so admire you and your family from afar ... keeping you in my daily prayers!

Amanda said...

Bless ur family. U will be in my prayers.

Katie said...

You are strong. You are brave. And like Josh said, you CAN do this!

Would your boys like an international pen pal? We are moving to Belgium in just one week and my third grader and I would be happy to send them postcards from our adventures in Europe over the next year. You can use the postcards to help supplement their homeschooling lessons. And if your boys are like my boy, there's nothing better than getting a letter in the mail addressed just to them! Send me a note at beecreekbooks@gmail.com with your address and I'll make it happen.

Thinking of you, lifting you up in prayer, and continuing to send strength to you.

Katie (your New Jersey fan)

Tabitha Studer said...

Shelly!! Everything about this is beautiful. You CAN do this, what an amazing message and the exact thing you needed to hear. You and Josh are so in sync with each other. More proof that I shows this year is going go make that connection even stronger and will be something you look back on in awe knowing how you can do incredible things for each other and especially for your babies. Love you!!

lbenologa said...

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
– George C. Scott

It's so outstanding to sit here and read your post of how much you will love and miss your husband. It just goes to show how absolutely real true love is. I can recall back to the days in high school when you had first met Josh, and it puts a smile on my face to see that you guys are still so inseparable, today! Although this may be hard, and by no-means can I fathom how you feel, I'm certain that you can do this. You're such an incredible mother, wife, and human being that I have an unwavering faith in your ability to persevere.

Your love for Josh and your love for your family is just such an incredible sight to behold, that in a way, I think it's a type of love more people should aspire to have. I'm certain there will be hard days for you ahead, but you're Super Mom!! And to think about the day when you, Josh, and your family can be reunited again as an entire unit... can you imagine the sheer joy and the love that will radiate from all of you when that time comes again?

As Josh said: "U can do this" Shellster. We all know you can. :D

“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
― Nelson Mandela

Our Family said...

I agree with your husband, you CAN do this! We go through separations due to my husband's job often and it's never easy. Sending positive thoughts and prayers for time to go by smoothly!

Sylvia said...

I Think of your family every day ! May the weeks fly by till Joshs next visit!