For the next twelve months our family will be on a new journey. We will be living life and loving each other over sometimes long distances. My solider is home from his deployment, but he will still be taken away from home for many months at a time due to trainings and duties he must perform away from where our family lives. We will see him MUCH more often, but many bedtime hugs and soccer games will be missed. As I said goodbye to him this morning after 12 glorious days all together under the same roof, I cried. I love him! I really actually like him! I need him! He is my partner in this life and it makes it so difficult to say goodbye, but I must stay strong! We have twelve months to go. We just started this. Today is day one of our new journey.
I really try to remain positive and most of the time I do! I plan fun things for the kids and I to do. I spend my mornings getting us ready for our fun filled days and I spend my nights cleaning up from them. I make sure we have “down time” and time to relax. We’ve spent almost every holiday since our solider has been gone doing really very “normal” holiday activities, so that we don’t all mope around feeling sorry for ourselves that he is gone.
Today, New Year’s Eve I planned to have friends over. I planned to eat pizza from our very favorite pizza place, I got party hats, blow horns to make tons of noise, and sparkling apple cider to toast with at midnight. Only thing is… I’m sad. I want to be with my soldier. I want him here. We’ve lived apart for over 7 months and I’m tired of it. I want him back. I want to cuddle with him tonight and kiss him at midnight. We’ve been apart for 4 out of 13 New Year’s Eves since we’ve been married. I know that is pretty good odds, but seriously, I am just missing him tonight. I miss his laugh, his scent, his voice, his touch, his presence in the house… I just miss him.
So, 2015 I’m excited and happy that you are here! This year will bring my reunion with my solider! We will spend more months together this year than last and that is something to be very thankful for!
Happy New Year!
Remember when I wrote that blog post a couple months back about 44 things to do while my soldier is gone? Well, today I re-read the blog post and guess what? My soldier has been gone only 1/3 of the time that he will be gone and yet my kiddos and I have already done 22 of the 44 things that we planned on doing! That’s half! How awesome is that? So, yay for us!
We went to the drive-in. Um, CRAZY NIGHT! But, seriously I am SO glad that we did that! We may have been the loudest truck there with my five kiddos switching seats every ten seconds and calling, “Pass the popcorn,” loud enough for the entire drive-in to hear us, but it was a BLAST!
We visited the beach! SO GLAD WE DID THAT TOO! I love the beach, it is my happy place! My sister-in-law came to visit and we took five kiddos, two chairs, five buckets and shovels, snacks, drinks, diapers, towels, shoes, toys, and a camera to the beach and made it out alive and still ready to do it again someday! Success!
I teach my daughter’s Girl’s In Action class at church almost every Wednesday night and LOVE IT! Being with her and her friends and teaching them about missions is a joy!
I’ve taken the babies on walks at the park, watched my oldest play soccer and basketball, taken tons of photos of everything we do and so much more! I even signed my son up for drum lessons and that wasn’t even on the list!
So, three months down, six more months to go and only 22 more things to check off my list and then my soldier will be home!
Thanksgiving was awesome this year! The kids and I spent time together and pretty much did “nothing” all day long. We ate what we wanted, played games, took naps, and seriously just hung out all day! We missed our Daddy very much as he is still in Afghanistan, but we did get to talk to him today and he is safe for tonight. Now the kiddos and I are all ready to snuggle up in our warm comfy beds. The weather has cooled down a bit and it is on night’s like this one that I love to light the fire and drink hot apple cider while I catch up on reading my favorite blogs. I hope your Thanksgiving was all that you hoped for and that you spent time with those you love!
A soldier’s sacrifice
A soldier, a husband, a daddy, a son, and a brother died this week. Tonight I learned the devestating news that a dear sister in Christ received the very worst and most unimaginable news that the love of her life will never come home. He was killed in Afghanistan. The thoughts and feelings that run through my mind and body right now are all too familiar. I have never received the news that she had to endure this week, but something all too similar.
It was July 2004 and our first son had just been born a month and a half earlier. We were blessed enough that my soldier was able to come home on leave from his deployment in Iraq to see his son be born into this world. Those were the happy moments of 2004. Then, there was July 1, 2004. That day will forever be remembered in our house as the day that daddy came all too close to being gone forever.
My very best friend and I lived two houses away from each other on our military post at the time. Both of our soldiers were deployed to the same base in Iraq. We spent our evenings together, cooking meals for our kiddos and watching comedies to try and keep our minds off of our husbands being gone. She was up that night chatting with her husband over the computer when suddenly he typed that he had to go. The internet was being turned off. There had been an accident, a very bad accident and families would have to be notified. They didn’t want news leaking out to the family members before they could be contacted through Army channels, so all communication had to be cut off until it was done. My friend’s last words to her husband were, “Do you know where (my soldier) is?” His response: “No, I have not seen him today.” Then, the line went dead. She didn’t know what to do. Should she call me? Should she tell me what was going on? We had a trip planned to keep us busy over the 4th of July weekend. We were driving miles away and staying in her brother’s house while we shopped some of the biggest outlet malls in the area. She decided to call. “Have you talked to your soldier,” she asked. “Yep, I did yesterday,” I said. “He is on a convoy and will call me in a couple of days.” Her heart sunk. He was on that convoy. “Well, be sure to tell your Family Readiness Group leader where you’ll be,” she said. All Army wives keep in close contact while our husbands are away and its important that the chain of command know if we are taking trips or leaving base for any extended period of time while our soldiers are on deployment. “I’ll email her,” I said. I had a new cell phone number, so I emailed my Family Readiness Group leader my plans to leave town and my new cell number in case she needed to get ahold of me. She never got that email. I finished packing our bags that night and the next morning we left bright and early for the drive.
That night we stopped to have dinner at a restaurant and were just ordering when my friend’s cell phone rang. I watched her reach into her purse and move things around looking for her phone. Finally finding it, she put it to her ear and said, “hello.” Within seconds her face went white. She wasn’t smiling and didn’t look happy, but scared. Without saying a word, she took the phone from her ear and handed it over the table to me. It was at that very second that I knew something was terribly wrong. I took the phone. “Hello,” I said. “Baby, its me and I’m okay, but there has been an accident.” I knew it was him, but his voice didn’t sound right at all. I later learned that it was because his tongue was swollen out of his mouth, so talking was extremely difficult. The connection was also terrible. He was calling from a satellite phone half a world away. The conversation was short. We said, “I love you” to each other a hundred times and then he hung up.
After that, I did all of the things that military wives do. I called his parents. I called my parents. I called my husband’s commander’s wife and that is when I learned the details. My husband had been riding in the back of an unarmed Humvee. He was in the turret when all of a sudden he heard something that was so loud that he immediately couldn’t hear anymore. He was thrown up into the air and then came back down, his leg and ankle getting caught in chains. He was hanging upside down with dust and blood covering his face and eyes, so that he could not see. There was chaos, voices, and dust. Another soldier from the vehicle behind his ran to my soldier and got him down. They took him to the side of the road and called for a medic. “What happened,” he asked. “An IED,” they said. My soldier tried to get up, he kept telling them he was okay. He was not okay! He wanted to help, he knew his friend was dead. He knew his other buddy was still pinned inside the truck. He wanted to help, he wanted to get up, but they wouldn’t let him. It wasn’t until the medic got to him that he knew that maybe he wasn’t “okay.” A very young medic showed up beside my husband and hollered, “Holy hell,” when he saw his face. Blown completely open like a banana when it is peeled, the flesh beneath his nose, mouth, and cheeks were all totally exposed. Blood everywhere and debris too, my husband suddenly had the urge to spit. He did, and then immediately regretted it, feeling metal and hard chunks leave his mouth and thinking that he may have just spit out his teeth. After that, his mind is kind of a blur and the next things he remembers are all inside of the mobile medical station. They x-rayed him, finding a metal bolt from the vehicle lodged inside of his shoulder and tons of metal shrapnel in his face. As he lay there looking up at the ceiling his thoughts finally came around to us. He thought about how scared I would be. Moments later, he was in surgery. After over 700 stitches were used to put his face back together and the bolt removed from his shoulder he woke up in recovery and was given a satellite phone to call home. That is when he called me.
There were more days that he stayed in Iraq and when it was safe they flew him to Germany. After a two week stay in the hospital there, they flew him to Walter Reed in Washington D.C. After that, he came home to finish his recovery with me and the kids. He doesn’t like to be called a hero. He says he just survived. To me, he is a hero! Yes, he didn’t die that day, but he carries the scars of that event with him every single day of his life. There is not a day that goes by where someone doesn’t ask him about his face. NOT ONE DAY! For a while we didn’t go too many places. Having to explain those scars was just too much. Now, he wears his scars with pride because it gives him the opportunity to tell people about his friend and fellow soldier who died that day. He gets to tell people about his hero, the young man who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
One month down, nine to go…
Well, my soldier has been away for one month. We’re all still alive, happy, healthy, and the house is still standing. Success!!!
What we’ve done to keep ourselves busy while daddy is away…
* Swimming with friends
* A visit from auntie
* A visit from grandma
* The first day of school for the big kids
* Open house at preschool for Little Man
* Walks at the park
* Feeding the ducks
* A trip to the beach
* Baby Girl’s 15 month well-baby checkup
* Oldest girl had a slumber party with friends
* Play dates
* Pedicures with friends
* Watched a few new movies
* Basketball pictures for oldest girl
* First days of ballet, tap, and acrobatics for our little ballerina
* First day of Music and Missions at church
* Ate out twice (if you know us personally, this is a BIG deal!)
We get to talk to our daddy lots and the kids love to Skype with him and tell him about their days. We miss him like crazy, but we’re doing well!
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