The only word I can rationally use to describe my life for the last four years is "chaos." I was convinced that the harder I worked the better off I, and my family, would be. I was assured on many levels that all my hard work would pay off--at the cost of limited time with family, a crumbling house that I was unable to tend to, and a neglected wife.
Obviously, I was wrong.
While waiting to deploy, and after I was relieved from my job as an Operations Officer due to said deployment, I suddenly had lots of time off. I took a week of leave while waiting to go to CAST (more on that later) and tried to wrap up the multitude of projects I had waiting to be done around the house. While I was working on the empty swimming pool (in 85 degree weather--much later than I had anticipated) Princess came outside while the kids were at school and SW was off taking care of business. I was sweaty, frustrated, and really didn't have time to deal with her. She went and stood under her kiddie-swing and pointed up. Begrudgingly, I lifted her into the swing and started to push.
At first it truly was an annoyance--a distraction from keeping me from completing the swimming pool project That I knew the kids so desperately wanted completed. But slowly, without me knowing it, something came over me that I haven't seen in a while.
For 45 minutes I stood there pushing that swing. We didn't talk, she didn't laugh uncontrollably. But for 45 minutes all I could hear was the wind in the trees and the constant squeak...squeak...squeak of the ropes on the swing.
At some point I forgot about the pool, forgot about the deployment, and forgot about all the pressing issues in my life. For 45 minutes all was right in the world, and I was reminded about the absolute perfect innocence of being a child.