A photo of my husband and son watching me at a CF Regional game back in the day popped up in my FB Memories. It should've been a happier moment for me. It was more like a lesson learned in "be careful what you wish for." Instead of reconnecting my family when my husband got back from deployment, I dragged everyone out to support me at our regional event.
We got some cheap t-shirts and free gear, but I was injured, exhausted, and angry. I was too busy to really visit with friends. I was too drained to really be emotionally interacting with my husband and kids. I wanted to sleep when they just wanted to be with mom/wife. I was unavailable during most of my son's waking hours. I hear a lot of people bring up things like "chance of lifetime" and "regret" when I was deciding on competing or not. I do believe there are some events that fit what people were trying to tell me. This was not that event, not for me. It was that event for other people. You don't get this time back on the back end of life, choose wisely.
In the string of poor decisions, I scheduled us for a cruise. It was great, it really was. We enjoyed a very short cruise. Perhaps too short. Two working adults synching up schedules and leave doesn’t always end in a big "W." In this case, it led to far too few days at sea. Why does that matter? Because pirates. Seriously – pirates. Historically significant pirates and pirate places. My husband loves those. And I tore him from them all too quickly.
How would such a great start to a return home end? It would end in a physique contest prep for us both. We both chose this knowing how the timing worked. As a warning to those mixing contest prep, redeployment, and family – family, family, family. Do I believe it is impossible to maintain a contest prep period while enjoying time reconnecting with family? I do not. However, I believe your time, energy, and focus should be on reconnecting with your family. That may mean, missing workouts, changing schedules, and not having the time to create or practice routines and posing. Late nights, late morning, scheduled activities, kissing babies start to shrink a schedule.
It’s ok though. Through admitting my failure here (and yes it was a fail, no pretty words) and reflecting on the situation, I’ve made choices resulting in a happier me and family since then. I don’t want to scare people thinking about having the wonderful spouse and kids. It’s a wonderful mess to be a part of, but it’s a process requiring you to do something and make decisions that are not always predictable and obvious. There is a high chance you will fail to some degree at some point in the process. However, there is something entirely beautiful and freeing about facing your failures and staring them down to become better and challenging the next decision point in your life.
I like to imagine looking my failure in the face and telling it “today is not the day.” The only way to do that is to stare it down, punch it the throat, and be determined to learn from it to make things better.