Liz had new tubes put in her ears today. This, in and of itself, is not really noteworthy. The surgery was fast and easy, she was a champ and even hours later is seems like she is showing signs of getting her hearing back in the questionable ear as all the fluid has since drained. All good news. The noteworthy part is that we didn't need to rally the troops to make this happen. In our new life, Chris can just take the time off when he needs to. When the ENT called saying that we had to reschedule from next Monday, but could do it this Wednesday, two phone calls later we were booked in with all childcare needs covered. This is kind of a huge deal for us.
First and foremost: Chris can take time off. He can request leave, and actually take it and be sure that no one will be calling two days into his vacation telling him that his choices are return to work (at his own expense) or go to jail. He no longer has to prioritize being at work over being here for his family. When he says "my kid is having minor surgery, can I come in an hour late so as to get my other kid to school?" his bosses say "sure, lets just move that meeting, are you still good for dinner with [random big-wigs], we can cover that if needed?" Say what? The difference between being a service member and, well, and actual human being who is valued by your employers, is a phenomenon for which the English language has no proper words.
Additionally, on a personal note, it is a big deal that Chris will take time off. It is no secret that Chris will often prioritize being at work, spending time with work contacts and all the personal stuff he has to table due to excessive work, over being here spending time with us. One of Chris' most admirable traits is that he always gives his very best to his job, therefore producing exemplary work that helps guarantee his position in this field he so enjoys. However, when doing the right thing for the job sometimes comes at the cost of everything else, it can be frustrating for those of us picking up the slack ina ll other aspects of his life. Combine this personality trait with 8.5 years of being a military member (see above) and needless to say, it has taken some serious deprogramming to get us to this point. When I call and say "can you do Charlie's drop off on Wednesday?" he is not only able, but willing, to move a meeting, change a lunch plan and/or sacrifice a meet and greet. So this is that mysterious "co-parenting" thing that civilians always talk about!
We are on the mend medically and making real progress towards being the kind of family we always wanted to be. I am caring for a family as a cohesive unit, not caring for the lives of four people with the occasional complication of my partner's presence. Seven months in the wild and our new normal feels pretty good.