Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It Never Gets Easier

We're now nine months into the Baghdad separation and well over a year since Jason left for D.C. to complete his training before the trek to Baghdad.  I keep thinking it will get easier.  But it never does.  No matter what happens, no matter how long it's been, no matter...it just doesn't get easier.

Our big guy had baseball practice yesterday.  And as I watched him ride his bike down the street to go to practice, backpack and bat strapped to his back, I thought about how much he needed his dad right then.  Dads are supposed to get to spend time watching and helping their sons learn the game.  It's very much a guy thing.  It's not cool having only your mom tagging along to the practices and games, and that's what Owen has right now.  I talked with the coach about our unique situation - dad's not here but it's not because of a divorce or because he's a deadbeat.  It's that right now his service is needed elsewhere.  Coach gets it, and he really works well with Owen.  But it's not the same.

And our little man.  He's going to be six months next week.  All those months of development and learning and growth.  Jason only got a taste of it - just a glimpse - and then he was gone right after Kellen was born. He got another smidge of a view in February when little man was three months and he was home on leave.  And then he was gone again.  I regularly update my facebook page with pics of our sweet baby for my husband to see his growth, but we know it's not the same.  We do what we have to do to get through it.  But it never gets easier.

Our daughter always seems to be the one who's the strongest.  But nighttime is the toughest for her.  That's when Daddy tucks her in and sings her a favorite song.  Mommy tuck-ins just don't cut it.  All of her stuffed animals are from Daddy, and she makes a special little blanket spread for her 'daddy leopard' and 'baby leopard' that he got for her at the San Diego Zoo.  Kids really do show their emotions if you watch very closely.  Abby kisses those animals good night and snuggles down under her comforter after every one of her stuffed animal treasures is also tucked in.

It's not that I can't do this.  Like I've said before, if there's anything I've learned from this experience, it's that I am strong enough to get through this.  But some days are harder than others, and lately they've honestly been harder.  Especially at night.  When the house is quiet and everyone else is asleep and I'm desperately trying to get to sleep myself.  It's lonely and I've missed out on sharing those special moments throughout the day with my hubby - the inside jokes, the special knowing smiles when the kids do something outlandish or amazing, the hugs, the kisses, the deep conversations.  We've made such an amazing life together and it feels like a good bit of it has been on hold for the past year.  I still do all the things I love to do - run, work, hit my favorite Starbucks, catch-up with friends, love my kids.  But there's a void with Jason gone and nothing fills it, even at my happiest of moments.

I know why we do this, and I DO love the life we've chosen. This year of separation is part of the requirement, and we knew it coming into the foreign service.  Jason's assignment in Baghdad teaches the kids about the big picture - Duty, Honor, Service, Loyalty, Sacrifice.  What better example of a father could they have?  We live by what we teach.  But there is no denying that it is hard.  And like I said, it just never gets easier.

My husband has a motto he lives by, and I alway keep it in the back of my mind, especially during the most trying of moments.  "Nothing worth doing is ever easy."


  1. Fantastic post Heather. I think a lot of people can relate to it. You guys are doing an awesome job. (kids included). I am glad you guys are nearing the end of all this.

  2. I had a dream last week that nothing happened last October, Pete was still in B'dad and all was normal and good. However, even in the dream, I remember thinking, "Whew...only a few more months of this (single parenting)!"
    Cheering you on from NOVA every day because it IS hard...even as the end is in sight.

  3. Great post, very heartfelt. Sometimes it's just really good to lay it all out there. Hope this helped. I worked DoD many years, attended a DoS one-year school so I get the reasons and the sacrifices. Hang in there. I'll be back to read more!

  4. You have been included in the Weekly State Department Round Up here:

    If you have a problem with any of the links or photos used, please let me know.