The Beginning of The End of The Year.
I cannot recall December. We often went 100 MPH during a time that should have been slow and deliberate. Yet, with visits, gifts, and events, we just picked up with January and pressed. In November, I received a notification from my job that I would have to leave for 35 days to attend training in Alabama. It could not have been more poorly timed. January and February are big celebratory months for us, kids’ birthdays and my and Josh’s anniversary. This year, we planned to visit Disney World for Emerson’s 1st birthday; upon notification of my training, I was notably vexed as days prior, we’d secured a hotel for our Florida trip.
Naturally, Josh and I were fuming about this disruption. We thrive as a unit; I am unsure if there is more to say. We work well together; the girls are fantastic ranch hands and sisters to each other and their baby brother. So, the idea of not taking them on this trip was quite disheartening. But, as is the life of a dual-military family, the trip was delayed, and I was off to Alabama on 4 January…yay. As I write from training, I cannot quite explain how it feels as a first-time mom to be away from your child; I feel like I cannot breathe; God knows, I am not sleeping (hello insomnia).
As we navigate my absence, Emerson has only slept separately from me for two nights with my mom in our home. Plus, he moved daycare rooms, so I am filled with many fears. The girls [unfortunately] returned to public school (a convo for another day). It feels very unsettling not to have been there to walk them to their classes and meet their teachers. On top of that, my husband has military duty, the kids and their activities, the farm, and other community responsibilities. I feared that he would burn out, but he is holding strong. My hero.
Josh has unmatched discipline. I pity the fool who thinks they work harder than him. There is no pity party; he gets it done. He has the farm running like a well-oiled machine. I watched him build cross-fencing in December, pounding holes and wiring for hours. He has been at farmer’s markets most weekends and delivering meat to local customers (thank you to our supporters). The silver lining through this experience has been the support of our local friends watching Emerson and the girls, dropping them off to and from practices; we are largely successful because of our family by choice, our friends. I was relieved that Josh was running the housefront well. However, it did not stop me from jumping on the first plane back to Texas to spend time with my family and give him a much-needed break.
My Visit Home, Texas!
Of course, getting home was no small feat. My flight was delayed two hours, causing me to miss my connection. I got to San Antonio after midnight versus 8 p.m., woof. Josh was sick when I arrived. So, I was happy to be home to give him space to rest. That did not happen; he had a farmer’s market on Saturday, the girl’s basketball season started, and we celebrated our newest 9-year-old’s birthday. I woke up on Saturday, and he was gone. So, it was the kids and me. We went for Booba Tea, donated, and watched some early basketball games. Between waking up and getting to the basketball game, I got really sick. I could not hear or breathe, and I quickly went hoarse. Help! Despite this, I carried on.
The Return to Alabama.
I was sick the entire trip, my head fully congested with aching ears as each plane ride gained elevation. I don’t think I have had a worse head cold. I returned to my hot military lodging that only possessed a cold water option in the shower. I was so sick I did not care. I took a very cold shower and slept in a warm room with a box fan. I woke up on Tuesday and was returned to my room immediately, where I was asked to get a COVID test (boo!). Needless to say, I was in denial as I had not had COVID thus far. BAM! COVID +, how fun. Since the test results, I have been stuck in this musty hotel room. So, I am writing.
Joy in the Juggle.
You know, the Ritchey family is a resilient bunch. We put our heads down and work. We don’t require much to thrive, and we try to do the best we can with what we are handed, but dang. This new year’s start has come for our jugular. We could easily say, “why me/us,” but what do we gain from that? We consider every shift thus far a test of our obedience and discipline; we adapt. There is beauty in the mess and redemption in our challenges. I guess that is the upside of recognizing that it is a new year, same Jesus. We continue to accept His will and do the work required to sustain ourselves even amid disruption. We will keep our heads up and stay prayed up, knowing this is all temporary. So, I share this story to encourage you to find joy in the juggling of life; things don’t always work our way, or with the ease, we sometimes come to expect, but with obedience and discipline, any challenge can be endured and championed, stay encouraged!