Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I have two decals on my car: Sgt stripes and OIF plus I have a new yellow ribbon magnet. It reads, "Proud Wife of a Soldier." I can tell when people are trying to read it because they inch up on my bumper. Today, at the burger house drive through, it was no different. As I rounded the corner after placing my order, I noticed the gentleman behind me. He had on a navy blue cap with lots of gold lettering down the side, which is indicative of a veteran's cap. I couldn't read it, but then I noticed the base sticker on his windshield. I had already paid for my lunch, but I rolled down my window again and told the drive through lady I wanted to pay for the gentleman's lunch in the truck behind me. Her mouth gaped and I explained to her I saw his base sticker and his cap and I could only assume he is military and I'm a Soldier's wife. It was the least I could do. Only thing I asked of her was, "just tell him I said thanks." She teared up and reminded me God would bless me. I told her he already has. As BG announces before a meal, "bon appetit, Soldier boy."
January...we all had the crud and it was severe! BG turned 3 mid-January and we had to reschedule her party because of bad weather. I don't wish on my worst enemy hyping a party only to have to cancel it because of snow and ice. There isn't a 3 year old in the world who understands why no "happy party" after we've hyped, bought goods and prepared until our fingers bled. We had it in February. Delightful turn out. On the twisted side, I had an extra month of negotiating power with the threat of not having it at all. This year we asked for $10 phone cards to send to our deployed soldiers in lieu of gifts. Remember, BG's birthday is 18 days after Christmas and she got PLENTY then. Some of our friends totally ignored the request and showed up with gifts that there is no way will get played with. Same deal as last year. I know their intentions are good, but please, please, please respect a momma's wish. We did get 12 phone cards and $30 to help in shipping care packages. Just so it's clear, BG got lots of prezzies from us and others, so it wasn't like she was neglected by my request. Those of you who have children, know the masses of stuff that accumulates. I rented out a room at our local aquatic center, which was the best choice ever. For "entertainment," because we only had 1 1/2 hours, the kids colored pictures for us to send to our soldiers. It was a good time.
Aside from being busy, February came and went without too much of a problem; just usual craziness. Sgt. had two drills in February because they are doing their pre-deployment stuff and he didn't want to take time off from work. Worked out pretty well, I guess. He moved through with flying colors and of course all is well with him. "Word" has been spread and they are gearing up. He has his 3 week AT coming up and then they are supposed to have another one in November. They will be mobilized.
I am as unorganized as the day is long, but I'm a planner. We have all the "planning" done for this deployment, with one change that needs to be made to our wills . Even the morbid stuff is done. After attending the CPL's funeral in December, I decided immediately I wouldn't want that to fall on my shoulders or anyone else's during my grieving time in the event something should happen to Sgt. My civilian friends shudder at those words. It's a part of our life. It's our reality. We accept it. I explain to them it's no different than them drawing up their wills or picking out plots; I just added another step to it. They could need theirs before I do, but I'm ready. Only God knows. Anyway, I digress.
During one of our chats, vacation came up. We typically don't take much of one, but this year Sgt. said we needed to go somewhere with BG before he deployed. Okay. Where? Folks, we are dumping our life savings and heading to the World of Disney! There's nothing greater than Cinderella and the rest of the Disney crew to make a 3 year old's life just peachy keen. Our thrill be in the wonder of her. We have a timeshare we bought several years ago for dirt cheap, so we are using it and that means $0 for a place to stay. We've decided to drive instead of fly. However, that is today, could very well change by then. It is going to be about a 9 hour drive and by the time I figure in arriving at the airport early, baggage claim, waiting in line for rental car, etc., it's only another 2 hours and I'll save the $800 on airfare. We are planning on stopping in two of our favorite cities - one on the way down and one on the way back. We will be traveling over a holiday weekend so airport times are going to be massive. Military gets in free to Sea World and Disney has discounted (but still over priced) tickets. By the way, if I've never mentioned it, I'm a budgeter and I love, love, love to save money, but, then again, who doesn't? I'm not really all that great at budgeting, but I can save some money. BG has new Cinderella panties in preparation for our trip, which is in August! Who was I to deny her the glittery pleasure. I did buy the next size up because she seems to be going through a growth spurt and those suckers cost a small fortune!
Now for a little bit of a vent....
I had my haircut last week and M asked me about Sgt's deployment. I told her our time line, blah, blah, blah. She took that breath with a sigh - you all know the one - and she got ready to go off on a tangent about the war in Iraq. I knew it was coming because I've been in that same chair and had the same conversation just about every 7 weeks for the past year. (I've been going to her for almost 4 years, but it's only been a year that we've been preparing for word of Iraq, part deux) This was coming, "Maybe it will end before he has to go." I interrupted her to cut her off at the political pass.
It's funny the opinions I hear on the war and everyone's hate of it. I'm not saying I support it, I'm not saying I don't. I'm simply saying that Sgt. has a job to do, whatever it is, and, when he is called, he will report and do a good job. They all will. No different than going to work any other day of the week except he won't be in City, he'll be in Iraq. And if I hear one more time, "maybe it will be over and he won't have to go," I'm going to scream. It's just like telling someone who is adopting, "now that you are adopting, you'll get pregnant."I was not harsh, simply matter of fact and it got my point across. Oh, by the way, she was one of the ones who threw out the pregnant comment when we were adopting, which is why I included it.
My story is the same today as it has been. I'm the proud wife of a Soldier. My Soldier is a proud member of the National Guard. My Soldier and I stand united and we will do what is asked of us.
I hope you all are well...
Saturday, December 22, 2007
CPL Joshua Blaney returned home today in a flag draped coffin. Tomorrow, Fed Ex will deliver 5 Gold Star Service Banners to my office to be presented to CPL Blaney’s family at his funeral on Friday. I was not able to be at the airport when this hero returned home but tomorrow night I will be at a funeral home paying respects to a family whom I’ve never met. It seems no matter what we do, it simply will not be enough as this family is dealing with most ultimate sacrifice of freedom. I’m the only spouse in BSM-NC and while I don’t know the heartache of sending a child to war, only my husband and best friend, my heart aches no less for their loss. I’ve found that the ties that bind us to our military families are just as strong as those that bind us to our immediate families, sometimes stronger, and our job as family is to stand tall for those who stand for us and even taller for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
In the coming weeks, I will also be working with another BSM to put together a condolence/memory book for this hero’s family. There are no politics to be discussed, no opposition to express…simply remembering a Soldier who died for what he believed in.
SSG Michael Gabel was with CPL Blaney when their vehicle was blown up by an IED. SSG Gabel gave the eulogy for his best friend at a memorial service that honored three men who lost their lives in October.
”I will not be bitter,” Gabel said. “I will not shed any tears of sorrow. I’m proud to have known such a good man and a warrior to the bitter end. Until we see each other again, sky soldiers!”
There will be similar words spoken for both these heroes in the coming days.
I lift these families, immediate and extended, in prayer.
About Thursday night:
Last night I visited the funeral home for Cpl. Blaney. It just so happened that P and I got there at the same time and after shaking hands with some of the PGR, we made our way into the funeral home.
Meeting his mother was heart wrenching for me; hugging her and seeing the sadness behind her eyes. We hugged and shook hands with the family and, despite their grief, every.single.one.of.them thanked BSMs for the support. They took the extra time to tell us how much they appreciate everything that has been done and the thoughts and prayers. Some had never heard of BSMs and P shared with them the history. We met P., the BSM from CA and her daughter, A., who is also in the Army. It was nice talking with her and she, too, expressed sincere gratitude.
There were quite a few people there, most Josh's age, and, as I walked around, I was listening to them share stories and memories of Josh. There were many tears shed for this Soldier but there was also laughter.
I've never seen a flag draped coffin in person nor have I seen the Battle Cross in person. My heart literally dropped to the pit of my stomach as we rounded into the next room and I saw it. Very moving and very surreal.
I sent an email to the Mayor of Matthews this week asking if he would kindly send a condolence for the book we will be assembling; he chose to send a letter directly to the family but he sent my information to a community newspaper. They had recently done an article on the BSMs and she will be forwarding it to me and when I receive it, I'll share with you all. She, too, thanked us for the things we do.
Here is the email she sent to me and my reply to her:
Your work on behalf of the Blue Star mothers is a wonderful thing. My
husband and I own the community newspaper and we're
putting a story in this week's edition on Josh. Mayor M has directed
the town to fly their flags at half-mast. He forwarded this note to me.
Is there anything we can do to help out the Blue Star mothers?
Let us know -
ps We did a story on the history of the Blue Stars a few weeks ago and
would be happy to send you a copy. Thanks again for what you do.
While your words are kind, it is the absolute least we can do to support our heroes and honor one of our fallen heroes. It seems no matter what we do, it simply will not be enough as this family is dealing with most ultimate sacrifice of freedom. I'm the only spouse in BSM-NC and, while I don't know the heartache of sending a child to war, only my husband and best friend, my heart aches no less for their loss. I've found that the ties that bind us to our military families are just as strong as those that bind us to our immediate families, sometimes stronger, and our job as family is to stand tall for those who stand for us and even taller for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
I know no truer words to speak than those above.
You moms (and the dads) are amazing and the love you hold for your children is the most intense love I've ever witnessed and I see where your strength and endurance comes from. My mother told me while we were waiting for BG's referral, "You will never know true love until you have a child." She was one million percent right. Even though BG is only 3 and her accomplishments are limited to potty training, colors, shapes, alphabet, etc. I'm proud of her. Each time we hit a new milestone in our lives, it supersedes the one before it. I know the pride I have for Sgt. as my spouse and how my heart swells (and skips two beats :) ) when I see him in his uniform so I can only imagine what you all feel for your children.
As I remember this family in prayer, I also pray that none of you have to experience this.
When I was growing up, my grandmother always said that if it was raining on the day of a funeral it was God’s blessing. However, she also said if it was sunny on the day of a funeral it was God’s blessing. Yesterday morning it rained. When I walked out my front door and felt the first drops on me, I smiled; God was going to bless us today.
As I pulled into the church parking lot, I smiled again; the Patriot Guard Riders were standing in the cold, windy mist with their flags. Some had hats and gloves others held cups of coffee to keep their hands warm. I hugged some, shook some hands and thanked them. They thanked me. There was absolutely no reason to thank me and Biker B. said there was, “For all you do,” with You being BSM collectively. It was the same reason I thanked them.
There were two friends who spoke; one from his childhood and the other from his service. Both told stories that made everyone give a chuckle and as we watched the backs of the heads of those in front of us nodding, we knew they were all remembering the good times. We always hear the stories about bonds of brotherhood, but it’s typically in general conversation. Yesterday that bond was so evident. The point at which it sank in for me was when his best friend, who also serves in the Army, said it through tears; he called him a brother and said he loved him. The words of his other friend that stood out to me were when he said the mission was successful. He described a mission being successful when you leave on a mission you, you want to make sure your men return; Josh’s men returned. He also described the mission as being successful when you return; Josh returned home.
At the cemetery it was quiet except for the sounds of muffled sobs as the pastor read his words. It was cold and windy at times. Although I knew it was coming, the 21 gun salute caused me to jump with each round. There was an Army officer to my left, about 1-1/2 steps behind me, standing at attention and as that first round was fired, a tear rolled down his cheek. They also flew a helicopter over. Watching as the flag was folded and presented to his parents, we knew the end of the service was drawing near. The pastor quoted Joseph Campbell in his message at the church , “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” I always remember a quote by Karl von Clausewitz, “Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior.” This young man held so many titles: son, brother, friend, Soldier, warrior, Hero. He was courageous in his service and duty and is a true Hero who was loved by so many and remembered by so many more. He now lays to rest at the foot of his grandmother’s grave.
Last night over dinner, I needed Sgt. to talk to me. I needed him to tell me things that he normally wouldn’t talk about with me, mainly the pretty much unspoken bond he shares with his soldiers. He isn’t one who discusses his feelings openly and sometimes not even when I ask. As I told him about the remarks from the funeral, I asked was it “true.” We hear about that bond but is it something that is really felt deep within. While it sounds like an odd question, I needed to hear his answer. The times I see With his Soldiers/friends are social situations with laughing, cutting up and annoying boy habits. And his answer was simple, “Yes. Those you train with, work with and fight with are your brothers. When you leave on a mission your goal is to bring them home. His friend was right, their mission was successful; everyone came home.” My Soldier’s voice was hushed as he spoke those words, whether he intended it to be or not. I told him that even though they are human, we have this image of Soldiers (Marines, Airmen, etc., too) being so strong and unwavering and it was hard watching these Soldiers shed tears. We all shed them.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Today I was sent an email about a fallen hero from my area; his home of record is near me and his parents are not too far, just across the state line. This hero was in her son's unit until about 6 weeks ago when he and some others were transferred to another unit. He was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. The mom who contacted me has been friends with the hero's mom for the three years since their sons became part of the same unit and have provided support for each other numerous times.
I was contacted to ask did I receive any kind of notification of his death and did I know any arrangements. No, I didn't. I did get the DOD notification and there was a small blurb in the paper where his parents live. I started working on it, though. Actually, a member from another chapter in my state sent me contact names for the PGR who may know something but we're waiting to see where the hero will come home to. He was my neighbor by locale and family by military. I never knew this hero and I don't know his family. I feel helpless. The other mom is flying in from California and is hoping to meet this young CPL when he returns home. I offered to help her find a hotel room, give recommendations or whatever I can. I didn't know what else to say. I told her to pass along my phone number, etc. to anyone who may have a need for it. I didn't know what else to say. This mom got choked up on the phone because her dear friend is grieving terribly. She didn't have the words to finish. I simply told her it was okay. I understood. But, to be honest, I don't. I'm a spouse. I'm not a mom.
My BSM group will be doing the condolence book for this fallen hero. I presented one back in the spring but I've never worked making one. I have begun gathering the materials and the other mom in my group is putting the word out requesting condolences. As a BSM, I've done the cheery: care packages, letters, passing out cards, etc. This is totally new territory for me. I will give my best. I will do my best. My commitment to our brothers and sisters, as well as their families, is unwavering support and to do my best. I hope as I step up to this new layer of duty for a fallen hero I won't fail.
Please keep the family of CPL Joshua Blaney in your thoughts and prayers. By family I mean immediate as well as his brothers and sisters in arms. We pray God will bless them and keep them in his care.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I don't remember the date of my first "real date" but I know the date my first "real boyfriend" and I broke up. September 14, 1989. I actually wrote a cheesy high school girl poem entitled "July to September...the months are remembered." You gasp at a three month relationship? Umm, yes. I had his class ring and everything. He was the first boy who tried to feel me up and I didn't like it. I don't consider it an anniversary but I couldn't help but post about it when the date popped back into my head. Made me grin, too.
Sometimes I find it funny that I don't know the date Sgt. and I met. I have absolutely no idea. I know it was sometime in July 1996 and it was after my birthday and it was probably a Wednesday night as that was the night my girlfriends and I went out but I don't know when we actually met. Oh, well. He's snoring away right beside me and that's what matters. Oh, and I can't ask him because he can't tell you either.
June 13, 2003 my mom called and told me my dad had been diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancers. I dropped to the floor and cried. I've always been a "daddy's girl" and I knew my world was about to change. By the grace of God he is cancer free for four years now.
I remember my 30th birthday like it was yesterday. My phone rang at 7:20 a.m. that July morning in 2003 and it was my aunt. She called to tell me my grandmother had died and she wasn't sure she could break the news to my mom, would I please tell her. I did. I was so numb from the news that it was a pretty bland phone call. Mom said, "really? Okay. Let me go tell dad." She hung up with me and cried with him. I cried by myself as Sgt. had already left for work. My driver's license is a reminder of that day; I have hives in my driver's license picture. Big red splotches all over my neck. They're on my face too but those can't be seen because of my make up.
We spent much of the next year trying to have a family and it was in September 2004 we decided to begin the adoption process. After much research, praying and soul searching, we chose to adopt from China. I never felt led or called to adopt from China and there were no signs that lit the path but we chose China and I promise you BG is the absolute best blessing God has ever bestowed upon us. If I'm never given another blessing, I can honestly say it's okay because she truly is my world. On October 12 we met with our agency and began our paperwork. We paid the extra money for an expedited homestudy (three weeks vs. three months) because Sgt. had been put on alert and we wanted to make sure all our paperwork was done in the event he was deployed.
Lo and behold, on December 16, 2004 my life changed as I never knew it would. We had been out to dinner with some friends of ours and came home to a message on the answering machine that he was being called to active duty to serve in Iraq. My heart sank. But, we sat down, looked each other square in the eyes and talked about it. At first we thought it was a voluntary recall, not mandatory. In Sgt's heart he knew this was something he needed to do. As his wife, I supported him and never would I stand in the way. I vowed to support him all the way. I stood steadfast as he returned the call where he found out it wasn't voluntary, but mandatory. At least I knew his heart and mind were in the right place. It made it a lot easier for both of us.
February 13, 2005 I stood with tears streaming down my face as my husband went from weekend warrior to active duty. I cried every mile of the way home. He would be stateside for another month before they left. I didn't want to go home to an empty house. I began blogging and over the course of his deployment, I met some of the most wonderful people I now consider to be some of my best friends ever. They not only helped me through the wait of BG's adoption but they also supported me with Sgt. being deployed. I had never met 99% of these people but they sent emails of encouragement and they were simply my friend.
October 8, 2005 I stood arm in arm with other wives in Tropical Storm Tammy waiting for our beloveds to descend from the clouds.
December 8, 2005 I saw the first picture of BG and I feel in love almost instantaneously. After 14 months (plus several years) I was going to a mom to the most beautiful little girl in the world.
February 15, 2006 one year and two days after my husband boarded a plane for active duty, we boarded a plane for China. Five days later BG was placed in our arms and it was official: we were promoted from a couple to a family. She didn't like us but we sure loved her.
2006 and 2007 have gone by like a shot. I sometimes think the things I once viewed as life changing are not so much anymore. And I know it doesn't make them insignificant. Maybe it's my mind's way of telling me to enjoy the blessings I've had bestowed upon me and take them in for all they're worth. There will be more to come; I'm sure of it. There are "bad" things that happened all along the way but we are fortunate enough to not have had anything super terrible happen that I consider it an anniversary or super life changing. Every day changes our lives in one way or another based on the choices we make. I looked back over my list and with the good stuff, we always say "This is the best day of my life" but everytime we say that, the new event is better than the one before it. I love it. There are some things I would probably do differently but very few things I would change.
At the end of the day, I'm thankful my house is what it is. It's not big by any means but I have one. My daughter, the daughter I've dreamed of my entire life, is sleeping in the clothes she wore today because it was too much of a battle to get her out of them into her jammies. But she's here, in our house, sacked out until she realizes I'm not there. Then I'll slink back across the hall and sleep in her bed until Sgt. gets up at 4:30. I'll groan at him as we pass in the hallway because I'm not one who likes to be awaken before she's ready. He'll pat me on the back and go on about his day. I'll get back in bed for another hour and a half. But he's here safe and sound. Tomorrow I'll get up and begin the mundane work week just like I do every Monday but I have a job to go to.
While these things aren't life changing, they certainly are a significant part of my life and I'm glad I took the time to look back over them.
I wish you all a fantastic week ahead.
Monday, December 3, 2007
We have rented a storage facility to put all the school letters in and the few boxes of goods I had received prior went to make 41 care packages for deployed soldiers! I have been invited to speak at a couple of schools about my project but with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I just am not going to be able to do it. I received 4 boxes of goods from a school in SC last week to put in care packages and one of them is packed to the brim with beef jerky and Slim Jims. Yummy... These 8th graders went above and beyond and I do hope to make it to their school one day to say Thank You in person.
Sgt's unit had their annual Christmas luncheon yesterday and 1SG was talking about family support when the words rang out like a shot, "Family support is important now but when we deploy it will be more important. The National Guard has soldiers to take care of soldiers. Families need to take care of families." They did massive blood draws on Saturday. I know when SGT was in the Navy reserves and active duty Marines they did blood draws during his "birth month physical," which is in June. So, some of them who have been around a while said it's the way the NG works before a deployment. We know orders are coming and even though I'm mentally trying to turn back the calendar, I know it's getting closer. I've got my dollar on sometime in January.
BG is still the queen of runny noses and I've heard, "wipe my nose" so much I swear the next time I do it will make my ears bleed. There has to be a magical breaking point of when noses stop running. I knew I spoke too soon when I thought the two's had passed by too quickly without any major issues. They were a piece of cake; it's the three's that are going to kick our tushies. Yesterday in church she announced very loudly, "I no like preacher. Me go home NOW." Stickers, crayons, hymnals, bribes, begs, mommy's expensive watch - nothing satisfied her. So, we packed up the ladybug back pack and left the service. What else is there to do? We have never put her in nursery for a couple of different reasons. 1. When we adopted her she was 13 months old and it was paramount for us to maintain as much one-on-one with her during our bonding time. 2. She wouldn't go with anyone else...even now it's hard to leave her with someone without her melting down. Our church is small and she would be the only one in there and if I had to be back there where I couldn't hear, no point in even going. So, she's always been in the service with us, which is fine with us. Besides, she's old enough to start behaving when she is supposed to. So, as we embark upon her 3d birthday, it's being met with such resistance. She spent so much time crying and screaming this weekend in time out, her voice is nearly nonexistent. It's so pitchy I know she could summon up some whales from the great wide ocean. She pitched a tremendous fit in every store we went to on Saturday and the millisecond after stepping out the door she dried up and said, "wipe my nose." *sigh*
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
About 25 miles or so into my trip, I got a call from a BSM telling me that the hotel had my purse! Apparently in all the rushing and scrambling this morning I left it but the front desk girl knew we were all together as we had been there all weekend. So, I turned around to go back to get it. Of course, the money is gone...it was about $130 and is what BG knows as my "soldier money" because we use it for shipping packages, buying goodies, etc. I was pissed off because I know in my heart of hearts it was a member of the girl's soccer team huddling in the lobby who took it; they were the only ones there when we left and the front desk girl said we were only gone about 10 min when they brought it up to the counter. My purse, wallet, etc. are worth more than the money gone but principal of it chaps me. But, it was my stupidity and I've quit kicking myself. All else is okay and we went on our way. Since I was upset, I called my mom and told her about the "soldier money" and when I hung up BG asked me what happened to soldier money and I told her, as best I could to a 3 yr. old, that someone took it. She asked could we get more and I laughed and told her yes. Then the next words out of her mouth floored me. "It's okay mommy. I help you get more." I do some contract work from home and when Sgt. came home from drill, BG met him at the door and when he asked where I was she told him, "Shhh. Be quiet daddy. Mommy making soldier money and I helping. Come see." She showed him the pictures she had been coloring while I worked.
I love my kid. I love my kid more than the next breath I'll take. I waited a long time to be a mom and worked my tushie off to become one. She was 13 months old when we adopted her and was functioning on about a 8 month old level. I've watched her transform into the most amazing child and she never ceases to amaze me. Now, we have our moments...the 2s aren't gone and the 3s are settling in fast. But she has learned compassion. I know she doesn't comprehend it but two times when I needed some love the most, my almost 3 year old gave it to me. It feels good. No, it feels GREAT. Every night I tell her I promise to be a better mommy tomorrow than I was today. Every night she tells me she loves me bunches and turns her hands back to back to show me "bunches."
On the way to dinner, Sgt. told me what we thought was our "pre-alert" call was in fact our second notice. The first was in April. "Word" around the block is get it together...could be tomorrow could be another several months. His 1SG was heavily persuaded to sign his re-enlistment package because his contract will be up during the deployment. Sgt. wouldn't tell me when that was. Too tired to beat it out of him tonite :)
I'm tired tonight and my eyes are speaking volumes as to just how much. However, I got a dose of the greatest love of all...BG reminds me that there is glimmer and hope in almost everything and that no matter how many times you open that empty box, there is something new and exciting just waiting for you. Embrace it.
Good night my friends. Rest well.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I'm a proactive girl...The boots are bought. Cold weather gear has been beefed up. Hot weather gear has been beefed up. Boonie hats bought. Socks ordered. Goggles...well, I'm still choking on the price of those. Holy crap. Don't know why I pretend I'm surprised, I choked the last time I bought them, too. Sgt. always asks when he will get the "good stuff" to eat like I send to our soldiers. I tell him when your boots hit the sand so in the meantime, enjoy that pear. I'll be adding another box of Oreos to my cart at Costco like we thought, I suppose.
Yes, it's still early. Yes, I know it can change. Yes, we'll be strong. Yes, we'll do what we have to do. Yes, I bought Sgt. a new chain for his chainsaw because his honey-do list will only grow between now and next summer and right now getting rid of trees for the holy grail of swing sets to be put up is at the top of his list. Heh. No, he does not outrank me. Thinks he does but gals we know that's not true.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I have heard from our soldier and they are fine. His email was very short and simply read, "We're fine. We're fighting the fight. Will write more later. Thanks for caring." Oh, the Greenies that will go out in bulk for these boys. Oh, yeah...something for the handlers, too...probably beef jerky with a lot of love!
We have an adopted soldier at Camp Vict0ry, which came under rocket or mortar attack that killed 2 and wounded 40. Please say a prayer, offer up good wishes or whatever you can for these fallen heroes, their comrades, families and all affected by this. It's going to be a looonng 10 days or so until I can find out if they are okay with communications shut down.
Monday, October 8, 2007
I thanked the Major for sending me her picture and it's times like this that remind me exactly how blessed we are. I think sometimes we get caught up in saying it but we don't always realize just how true it is.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"Me Help! Me Help!"
One blue, one green, one yellow...
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I took up golf lessons in mid-June. I offered them to Sgt. for his birthday but he didn't want them so I took lessons for his birthday. Nobody was gracious enough to tell me I was insane for starting an outdoor hobby at the onset of
The Sgt. L family lives and breathes; I just need it to calm down a little bit. I know there's more I just can't remember it all right now...
Hope everyone is doing well and one of these days I'll catch up on the 367 feeds on bloglines to see how you all are doing.
Happy Tuesday, friends.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Our military is truly one of the beats of my heart and as long as my heart continues to beat, I will do all in my power, along with tens of thousands of others, to make sure everyone knows they are thought of and will not be forgotten or left behind.
Monday, July 30, 2007
We've had a crazy month or so running in different directions and sometimes we tend to lose sight of one another but normally we make it back to common ground. Sgt. is a wonderful friend to others and fantastic father. He is also a good husband but he tends to be better to others than he is to me. Meaning I have to rely on me a lot to get things done. I, personally, think it's all linked to the Y chromosome but that's just my wifely theory with nothing but his track record to substantiate it. I digress.
The summer always sends us in lots of directions and this summer it has put us going opposite ways. Last night we were able to actually talk. Granted, it was with BG in the bed between us because she absolutely refused to sleep without holding both our hands. Sweet? Oh, heck yes. Bad? Oh, heck yes...she's a terrible bed partner who flails with all 27 lbs. of her little body. It'll knock the wind right out of you. But, our king size bed is more conducive than her double bed. So, a family night it was. Normally he is asleep before his head hits the pillow but it takes me an hour or two to unwind and drift off to sleep. Last night was a RARE occasion so I took full advantage of it. We talked. Not just idle chit chat but we talked.
I often look at him and it makes me smile remembering when we first met. See, I hated him; I didn't like him one iota. He was drunk and asked me to two-step. Sure. He couldn't walk straight and I'm not sure what made me think he could dance. (Come to find out, it wasn't the alcohol. The boy simply cannot dance.) It was my friends M and A who told me he was cute and I should give him a second chance. And so I did. I'm reminded that I'm glad I gave him another chance. I don't think he sees me like that; it's not the way he is wired and it doesn't bother me but just sometimes.
Every Sunday in church, our congregation prays for our troops and usually Sgt. is mentioned by name for his service in the National Guard. Yesterday during prayer, he untangled me from BG's grasp and held my hand and squeezed it tight during prayer. It made my heart melt into a huge puddle because something in him was being soft, which doesn't happen all that often. We also found out that a member of our congregation has been in Afghanistan. WHO KNEW? We didn't but Sgt. shocked me again by going up to him and shaking his hand. Sgt. typically doesn't just approach people he doesn't know; I melted.
He had helped some friends of ours move into a new house so I made some food to feed the masses yesterday afternoon and as we were driving out to their house, he reached over hand held my hand. Wow...it was like falling in love all over again.
So, last night we laid in bed, BG holding onto each of our hands, and we were looking at her then each other. We always tell each other how much we love her, how pretty she is and how blessed we are to have her in our lives. I told him, "look how pretty she is." He said, "Yes, but still not as pretty as you."
I told him I was going to miss him when he deploys. He reminds me he isn't gone yet but I always tell him no, but I need for you to know how much. We then began talking about the volunteer work I do with Blue Star Mothers, the letter writing team with Soldiers Angels and our adopted soldiers. I told him it's important to me to stay connected with those who need it the most. I know what it's like to be left out of the loop and not have any support. Granted, I was at home and not in the sand box but lonely is lonely. I don't want these folks to be lonely. He smiled at me and told me that is why he loves me; I share myself and don't think twice about it. It didn't matter, it wasn't about me.
I told him I'm scared of this next deployment. I'm scared because they are the ones searching out for and destroying I E Ds. I began to cry - not boo hoo just tears running down my face. He started to talk and I stopped him. This is what I told him. "I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for doing what you do. Your job works in an effort to keep others safe. I'm at peace with that." He looked at me and this is why I say that....
When they were on the Haditha Dam, several Marines lost their lives protecting Sgt. and the others who were there. I will forever be grateful for that. I can't imagine being a family member of any of our fallen heroes but I'm grateful for the sacrifices made for my husband and our family. One of the Marines was from Oklahoma, Sgt's home state, and his parents' neighbor was his instructor in ROTC. For some reason, that young man stood out to me. I wrote a letter and sent it to the funeral home. I don't know what it said other than thanked them. I remember thanking them for their son's service, their love for their son and how much his service meant to our family. I'll never know if they read it. I'll never know if they did, did they curse me for my husband living and their son dying? I'll never know any of it. But, as grim as it is, I have found peace within my heart and it is because someone else's job kept Sgt. safe. I want him to do the same. That's my glass half full perspective on it.
I love my husband dearly. We don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. Heck, we aren't even on the same plane with many of them. At the end of the day, despite our differences and my flighty nature (his words) and his borderline mute way of life (my words), we've got it together. I will miss him. I want him to do his job and do it well.
At the end of the conversation, he told me, "Nice talking to you." Thanks, babe.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
To this day I can still look in his eyes and know that something is going on. It's not all war related but there have been so many residual effects it's become more of our daily life than I ever imagined. I know it sounds naive but this was new territory for us, as it is for so many, and a learning process and we continue to learn from it.
As we hang in limbo for another deployment, I try to be proactive and more conscious of the way we approach things and how I handle them. I've learned to be more sensitive to some things and less to others. I often put on my "big girl" pants and roll with the punches. One thing we are doing differently is we talk through issues that arise completely and not just enough to put a band-aid on it. Those band-aids cause more problems in the end than they solve in the beginning. It's tough to do sometimes. He was builder his last tour but since he has changed to the National Guard, he is a combat engineer dealing with IEDs and the likes, which is what he did when he was a Marine.
His deployment did a lot of things for our relationship on many different levels. On somethings it brought us closer together others not so much. One thing it did bring to light was how important we are to each other. Absence made our hearts grow fonder but reintegrating strained it and I would be lying if I said it didn't. I wish I had words of wisdom for spouses who are getting ready to go through this for the first time, especially new wives. Not that it's all that different but being newly married brings with it so many things to deal with anyway. I hang on to the words of the spouses who are on their 2nd and 3rd deployments. Communication is key and, for us, pride needs to be checked at the door.
The Sgt. L family is a team. We laugh together. We cry together. We irritate each other. We love each other. We support each other. We talk to each other. I still stomp my feet and slam doors but when I open it up, Sgt. is there for me, waiting with the patience of Job. It has taken a year and a half to learn to deal with things and we're still learning and we'll forever be tweaking our relationship.
The milspouses, moms/dads and girlfriends/fiances are my rocks my strengths. I lurk more than I comment but I have found I'm able to take something from each of you to help me on my path. The bird's eye views from our soldiers and vets also help keep me in check. Your view is just as important and I learn just as much from you. I truly hope to be able to meet some of you in person next year. You are all amazing and I'm humbled to be part of such a tightly knit community.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
IF YOU GIVE A MOM A MUFFIN
If you give a Mom a muffin,
She'll want a strong cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll make herself some.
Her three year old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the box of Goodwill items.
Bumping into the Goodwill items will remind her she has to get these boxes in the car and out of her basement.
When she puts the boxes in the car, she'll find a bag of groceries and this will
remind her she has to cook dinner.
She will get out the chicken defrosting in the fridge.
She'll look for her cookbook (101 Things To Do With Chicken).
The cookbook will be sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the Netflix movie she's meant to mail and the preschool bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook will be in her purse that is being dumped out by her one year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the baby's diaper.
As she finishes up, she'll realize she brought the hand sanitizer down to the kitchen.
While she is throwing away the diaper and searching for the hand sanitizer, the
phone will ring.
Her three year old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend not for coffee but a very strong drink.
Thinking of drinking will remind her that she was going to have a cup of coffee in order to stay awake for the rest of the day.
And chances are...
If she finds her cup of coffee (which she has to reheat by now),
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Oh, the girly bits and the doctor who digs for them. I love him. I really do and I was not shy about telling him so. He's out of my network so I'll be paying double to see him but he is worth it. It was also 100 degrees in there but I kept my socks on and he just stared at me. I told him it was for his sake: I have not been for my first spring pedicure yet and you could use the feet to cut steak. Thank you very much. He peered at me from behind his black rimmed glasses and told me to scoot down. Several years back I managed a jewelry store and we were chatting it up over my "visit" and he told me he would come see me for a gift for his wife. I laughed and told him he wouldn't know my smile if I came up and bit him on the tushie and my company frowned on my showing the bits at the store. He chuckled and told me it would hurt a little. Little my ass.
Today I was greeted with "So glad you decided to come back after three years." It wasn't three years, technically. I was there in '04 on schedule. I missed '05 while Sgt. was in Iraq and '06 I was adjusting to being a mom to a toddler. I'm current. Two years. Thank you very much. Again: "scoot down." We talked about Iraq and National Guard and all that goes with it but it really is hard to discuss such topics with him poking around and me wondering if his hand is going to pop through the underside of my abdomen. Holy moly. Examination completed. My bits are intact and I had nice conversation. He shook my hand and thanked me for not gouging his eyes out with the claws I call feet. Smiled and told me he would see me the next time I felt the urge.
I know it sounds like he is a total ass but he is to die for. I started seeing him about 8 years ago after my regular totally hot doctor left the practice. The only other doctor I've like just as much was when I was in college. Dude wore small nap corduroy pants (all year long) with velcro tennis shoes. I loved him. I even drove 4 hours a couple of times to see him.
As a parting gift, he gave me bags full of all sorts samples - to help offset the extra 900% I'll pay for seeing him. Thanks doc.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
As Memorial Day approaches us, the Sgt. L. family will remember those who have helped to attain our country's honor and those who lost their lives defending it. As a spouse, I humbly thank all those who have served with our family over the years and those who continue to serve our Nation. As I've said before, our family extends past the four walls of our home and blood relatives. Our family includes our brothers and sisters in uniform as well as their families.
I ask that everyone take just a moment to step back from the potato salad and flag football games and before you head out in search of the best deals to remember what Memorial Day is about. Without the sacrifice of so many, our lives would not be what they are today.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Some days it doesn't seem like it's been that long other days it seems like it's been a bajillion times longer. It hasn't always been blue skies and picket fences but no matter what our issues have been, we have managed to work our way through them. We both have our faults and I, admittedly, probably have more than he does but I will say this about him... he is the most forgiving person I know. Me? I hold grudges. I know it's a bad trait to have but that and a lack of patience are two of my greatest weaknesses. I can make a banana pudding that will make your eyes roll and I'm quite the hostess when it comes to entertaining but patience and forgiveness are two things I have to strive hard to achieve. Despite that, he loves me. He loves me a lot.
We are polar opposites as far as our likes. He's the quiet one, I'm the chatty one. He's the hands on change the tire guy, I'm all about dialing AAA. He likes outdoors, as long as there is a Holiday Inn I'll never sleep in the woods. EVAH. But we complement each other well. I speed him up and he slows me down.
So, to the love of my life: Happy Anniversary! Love you bunches.
Friday, May 11, 2007
I came across a group, Citizen Reign, when their link was emailed to me. They have done a song/tribute to our military. I liked their music so I ordered their CD; they've got a Nickelback/3 Doors Down kind of sound. The song is called "Fight for Me." She doesn't always comprehend everything (after all, she's only 2) so we come up with associations for things so she can remember and start trying to understand. So, I told her this song was about her daddy and soldiers. Now when she wants to hear it, she says, "Daddy song, mama. Daddy and soldier."
If you click the link above it will take you to their website where you can hear the song and watch the video.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I've posted before about how the UPS guy jokes with us when he delivers packages and you know they all read the labels and have to wonder about the reasons of our orders. He took a double take when I added the 2d yellow ribbon to our tree; the first is still there from when Sgt. left and I've added another one for a dear friend of mine whose son has been in Iraq for just a few short weeks. Everyone who comes in our drive comments on the American flag that hangs inside our living room window. It's hanging on the same hook my Blue Star Flag hung on. I like having it in my window. It reminds me of what my family stands for. My flag pole on my porch was not able to hold up it's duties so I'm on the quest for a new one and when it comes, there will be two flags flying. When people ask for directions to our house, the first thing I tell them is we are the only house on our street who has an American flag. Since that doesn't always seem to do it, I then tell them we are the only house who has a wooden fence. That seems to be what seals the directional deal for them. A fence. Not our flag.
I'm on this new path for a leaner me so I've joined the Y in the town I work in so I can go on my lunch hour instead of grazing on cookies and playing games. I've been once. But it's all good because today is only Thursday and I joined right before I came down with crud last week. So, I've only failed myself 3 days this week. Maybe tomorrow.
As I did my going-to-nowhere-walk on the treadmill and I watched the scrolls across the bottom of the screen on CNN, my mind twirled in circles and different thoughts fly...I should have gone to the grocery store but I really don't want to. It's okay to eat cereal for dinner for the 3d night in a row, right? If I don't do laundry, I'll be walking the treadmill naked with just my shoes tomorrow - not even socks. And then my mind shot back to Sunday, visiting the family whose son died in Iraq. They are the only people I have actually met in "real life" who have lost a loved one while serving there. Even though I know what my heart feels, I wonder if they do. I guess I'm a cynical person. I often question the sincerity of some of the things people say. One of the easiest phrases to throw around is, "we'll pray for you" and I think it's often thrown out too much. If I say it, I do it. But do they? Do we just trust all those who say they pray for us or keep us in their thoughts? I always thank them for their kindness and their well wishes, thoughts, prayers, etc. and move on. I think it's the one thing people say that they know will mean something. Maybe I just read too much into it. Maybe, like I said, I'm just to cynical. But I know I'm not the only one who is cynical...If I'm thinking it about people are people thinking it about me? I am one of the least self-absorbed people I know, seriously. I thrive on doing for others. I volunteer. BG and I make cards to send to our troops. I send care packages. I make phone calls. I try to make sure someone will always know they are thought of, even if it is a stranger.
I don't have a bird's eye perspective on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan like some do. My perspective is that of Sgt., our friends and my fellow bloggers but what it isn't is what the MSM spews. It's not all sunshine and posies. It's not even half of that. But there is sunshine and posies can break through.
So what separates me from the others? In my mind it's my willingness and passion to do for others freely. What I wonder is this...if I'm cynical towards others and find myself questioning some of their "sincerity," what makes me any different to someone I'm working with? I hug tightly. I listen intently. I hear what they are saying to me. Do they know that? Doing good deeds is not meant to be rewarded by those we help, or anyone for that matter but my inner struggle is making sure they separate me from those who are passers by and those who float in and out as it becomes convenient. I suppose that most people are like me and they know in their heart of hearts when someone is sincere. As long as I'm able, I will always try to touch the hearts and lives of someone somewhere who may otherwise not have it. Maybe it's simply that that separates me.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
The family lives about two hours away from me so I threw the iPod in the car, opened the sunroof and hit the interstate. I met the other two BSMs there and was able to look through the book before we knocked on the family's door. This was the first time I had been done this and I had never seen a condolence book done by the Marine Moms group who put it together. It immediately brought tears to my eyes. I don't know how many pages it had in it but all letters, notes, poems, etc. that had been sent in for this fallen Marine had been scrapbooked and cataloged in a nice leather Marine scrapbook. I ran my fingers over the pages and I looked intently at his picture. I prayed God give us the strength to present this to the family and that our visit go well.
We lined up and knocked on the door and the father answered with his mother standing about three steps behind him. We introduced ourselves, shook hands and they invited us into their home. They are not originally from our state but their other son and his family live there so that is where they brought their some home to rest and decided to make a new home for themselves. P presented the book to his parents and his mom ran her hands over the emblem on the front and graciously said thank you. They flipped through some of the pages and put it back on the table and said they would read through it later. It was a bit awkward at first with everyone on the edges of their seats not sure whether to get comfortable or not. After about 15 minutes or so, their other son and family stopped by and everyone relaxed a bit. This family. Wow, what to say about them other than they are incredible and that isn't even the best word to describe them. They told us of their son's 19 year career with the Marine Corps and all the places he had traveled and tasks he had done. His dad said no matter where he was, if there was a conflict he felt led to be there. After he finished up an overseas assignment, he asked to be sent to Iraq and he was. The exact words of his father were, "If he said it once he said it one hundred times, 'This is where I belong and if something should happen to me, you know I died for what I believe in.'" That brought them comfort.
Our conversation was about him and his life, Sgt. and our family and the careers and tours of the two mothers' sons. We told them about our work with BSMs and my work with Soldiers' Angels. They were very appreciative of our visit and the work that went into the condolence book. Before we left, his dad gave me a hug and I hugged him tight. I hugged his mother tight. I told both of them early in our visit that their family was a part of our family and I was proud to have met them. I thanked them for allowing us into their home and his mother hugged me again and held my hand. She told me she would pray for Sgt. for his upcoming tour. I thanked her.
We were at their home for about an hour and a half. There were a few tears shed. They shared some pretty intimate details with us. We laughed. We hugged. We left.
I've not done a lot of things in my life I consider to be amazing but this visit I will call amazing. Their spirit. Their love. Their dedication. I am proud to have met them. I am proud they chose to invite us into their lives so openly. I am proud to have been able to be a small part of the healing of their souls. It renewed so many things within my soul and my heart. I didn't know what to expect on the drive up but I think I left a better person than I went in. I've always felt that if one person benefits from the things I do, even just a little, it makes all the time and effort worth it. These fine folks proved that to me today.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Last night we were standing in the kitchen talking about purging half of the contents of our house. I swear I don't know how we ended up with so much stuff. Anyway, he said, "you know I'm going, right?" I told him yes, I know. And we stood there. I told him there has been something weighing on my mind for a while and we needed to cover it. If I were to get "the visit" I would not want to be there by myself with BG. My parents live about an hour away and my bro and s.i.l. about 30 minutes. We don't live in a big neighborhood and aren't close with our neighbors, except one. So, Sgt. and I decided that if it were to happen, I would want T there with me to help me get through. I told Sgt. I would feel odd asking him but it really needed to be done. T mowed our yard every weekend while Sgt. was gone without being asked to do so and got overly offended when I offered to pay him. So when I cooked, I made extra and took it to him and made a little basket of treats to say thanks. He was appreciative.
I teared up when we talked about it. I didn't cry - just teared up. So did Sgt. I try not to think about it but it's a cold, hard fact in our life. When Sgt. left the first time it was just us so there were minimal preparations. Now we have BG and all that comes with it. We've been slack about updating our wills and financials to include her so it needs to be done. There is a playroom that has been in the talks about being built for over a year now but we've teetered on whether to sell the house or not. We've talked about remodeling our kitchen but, again, comes back to selling the house or not. I would love to have a bigger house but I want to stay in mine. We've lived in it for 8 years and I want to stay in the house where the past 8 years of memories, hardships, arguments, good-byes, hellos, etc. have taken place. It's where I want to be. So, for my anniversary I'm getting new countertops (until I waver on spending the money).
We've started gathering new boots, moisture wicking socks, vests, goggles, etc. The UPS man jokes with us that I should make him dinner. Of course I grin when I tell him he should be glad we order online so he'll have packages to deliver or better yet, bring us pizza on one of his trips down T. Road. Then we'll invite him in.
One talk down.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
I absolutely loved D.C.(it’s the first time I’ve been there in about 2o years and then it was only a trip through the Smithsonian on our way to NYC. ) This time I had a wonderful tour guide; she showed me all the sights. I thanked many of our troops for their service; some were on their way home for mid deployment R&R others were visiting D.C., too. None the less, I shook their hand, gave out 3 hugs and said thank you to all. I stopped in at the USO at the airport to say hi to the volunteers who staff it. It’s what I do. It’s what I believe in. Response is usually always good but one soldier in particular stood out because of comments he made. He was in the airport and I was waiting for my flight to D.C. and we started chatting. After a few minutes, he asked me what Sgt. did and by this time we had quite the audience hanging on to our conversation. When I told him his job, the soldier looked me dead square in the eyes and asked, “you know what he does, right?” I answered yes with the strongest smile I had to try and not show concern in it. The next thing he said to me floored me. “All I can say is you need to pray and pray a lot. Both of you.” I was so taken aback by those words and apparently it showed through on my face because he then told me that he was glad there were soldiers such as Sgt. who performed these tasks because they were extremely important but extremely dangerous. I shook his hand again, told him good-bye and I left to go board my flight. I know he meant no harm and certainly didn’t mean to upset me and it didn’t to the point of tears but it did as it tugged on my heart strings and it set my mind rolling for what I would see in the days ahead as I walked the streets of our nation’s capital.
As we walked to the different landmarks and memorials, my heart was touched. It was touched because of what they stand for. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial gave me goosebumps. As I ran my hands over the names touching them and reading notes that were left at the base of the wall, it brought tears to my eyes. There were notes of thanks, drawings by children and a poem written in 1999 by a high school senior who later joined the military and lost his life in Iraq in 2005. It was very quiet and nothing more than whispers. Arlington National Cemetery also humbled my soul. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. We watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Every time his heels clicked as he turned, my heart skipped a beat and it ached.
I took quite a few pictures and I flipped through them several times reading the over and over the words on the monuments. As I wound down at night, I remembered how important of a role we all play in the making of our country’s history. How our choices and our attitudes affect the outcome of so many things; the good and the bad.
I saw so much hate towards Bush, whole stores dedicated to it, and was even invited to a picnic to impeach him. My response: Sorry, he’s my husband’s boss. It is not up to me to judge his decisions. It’s not up to me to question policy. It’s my job to support those who work so hard and tirelessly for the things we all are supposed to believe in. And I do. I do it with pride ignoring those who say I’m wasting my time. A brother or sister in need is never a waste of time, not in my eyes anyway.
As soon as I landed I called Sgt. and the first thing I told him was how proud I am of him and I’m proud he fights for what he believes in and I, in turn, will fight for him and those who are like him. They are his brothers and sisters; our extended family, so to speak. As long as I’m able, no one who needs comfort will go unnoticed. That goes for on the home-front and abroad. Why? It’s what I believe in.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Update on trip later...
Friday, April 20, 2007
I went home last night and finished packing for a girl's weekend to D.C. and gave myself a nice little facial cleansing with extra moisturizing thinking it was just the effects of my day. No. I still look old this morning. Hopefully my girl's weekend will give me some renewed vim and vigor.
If S pops in here, I'm ready sista!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Sgt. "Hey BG. What are you doing?Sweet. The days of keeping secrets are over. She then wowed the cashier when she answered the question of cash, check or credit.... with the prompt answer of "CREDIT, pease." In the midst of training her to be a teenager, we are still doing typical 2-year old things like alphabet, numbers, animal sounds and, of course, cash or credit. Sheesh.
BG "Shopping daddy."
Sgt. "Shopping? Did you buy any prezzies?"
BG "Daddy prezzie."
Sgt. "You did, what did you get daddy?"
BG "Candy. Daddy and friends candy. Yum"
I picked up an iTunes card while I was there and while waiting for the people to get it out of lock up, I struck up conversation a gentleman who was duly impressed with BG's ability to choose credit, properly answer the phone and give out mommy's secrets. After talking with him for a few minutes, I explained to him what my buggy full of candy was for and that my little Benedict Arnold had put the word out. He told me his step-son was preparing to go back to Iraq and I told him Sgt. had been once and we were gearing up for another go of it. He asked me how I felt about it. I gave him this answer, "Sgt. believes in what he does and I believe in him. It's not up to us to make policy, only to do the job that is asked of us." He questioned the "us" part and I explained to him that it wasn't just Sgt. doing his job, it was our family's job. Part of being a family is picking up where someone else can't. For some reason this doesn't apply to putting the trash bag back in the can or changing toilet paper rolls, but we manage to make it work. It's as simple as that. He told me I had a great attitude about it and wished us well. We shook hands, BG threw out her best, "SEE YA" and we left.
Casual check out line conversations are some of the best and I usually like them. You get the occasional azzhole who wants to bitch and moan but for the most part, you can get a tiny glimpse of someone in that 2 minutes. You leave with one of two opinions...azzhole or hmmm, okay. I like leaving with the hmmm, okay and like for people to see the same about me. Not that I'm trying to make an impression on anyone, but being gracious to someone takes no energy. People's attitudes sometimes rub off on me and maybe I'll rub off on someone one day.
Monday, April 2, 2007
We got home about the same time Saturday afternoon and enjoyed some "us" time since BG was still with my parents. I got to eat a total of 5 meals with both hands without it getting cold, which is soooo nice (as I know all moms with toddlers understand completely). It was a good weekend.
Yesterday while he went to pick up BG, I made brownies for him and the guys in the advanced party who are convoying down today. I offered to cut them into bunny shapes for Easter but he declined.
News on the deployment front has been updated: Their anticipated deployment is one year out. Their unit readiness is only about 75% and their equipment will slowly be coming in over the next year. ACES are here. M4s are here. Tanks not here yet. Takes a huge weight off our shoulders but we also know that it could change in a moments notice. Until then, I'm glad we have a little better idea of what and when to expect.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
It's apalling to me the number of people who are carriers of the jackass gene. After reading comments on both sites, I chose to post this comment on American Soldier's blog. While my words are not nearly as poignant as some of the other commenters, the message is the same.
I’m going to take my turn on the soapbox.
My husband is prior active duty and currently serves in the National Guard. He served one tour in Iraq in ‘05 and we are anticipating, and preparing for, a second tour to begin sometime this summer.
He has a GED. I have two degrees. By no means does this make me better; quite the contrary. We are both successful in our jobs and are great complements to one another as well as those we interact with on a daily basis. In our day to day lives we are pretty much surrounded by people who are just like us. When he puts on his uniform and gathers with his fellow soldiers, they are a brotherhood united by a passion, their country. Their education levels vary from middle grades through PhD but they believe in themselves, each other and stand strong to unite and do as they are called upon to do. It’s their job.
I get chills every time I hear our national anthem and my heart swells with pride. I grieve with families who have lost their loved ones and I pray for those injured to heal and continue the great journey they have begun to follow. I have sent cards and care packages and prayed prayer upon prayer that God will continue to touch and enrich the lives of our soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and Guardsmen.
Before my husband served his tour in Iraq and I began following stories of service members and their families, I thought I had a valid opinion on the war. After listening to him and others, seeing pictures and meeting these fine people face to face, I realized that the only thing I had was my view from the cheap seats and, friends, you can’t see anything from there.
There is so much more than politics involved and I wish those who spew forth their ill informed opinions would actually take the time to look past what is being presented in newspapers and on television. I can show you the pictures of good. I can tell you stories that will make your heart melt. I can do it. I can do it because I have seen it first hand and lived it and I can do it because I believe in my husband and those who are united and volunteer with him. We were once a great nation and now we are a nation greatly divided. We, as Americans, are supposed to be proud of the land we call home and for the stones laid before us to get here. We are now mocked by others because of our inability to stand behind our leaders and it does not help the morale of our troops one iota. While I understand our innate craving for details and to be in the know, please understand it puts our troops who are working hard on their mission in danger. You don’t put a note on your front door as to where you hide your spare key and where your valuables are so don’t ask for details as to the placement of our troops.
Practicing freedom of speech is fine. Mudsling if you will. The old addage about the squeaky wheel gets the grease may be true but it sure irritates the hell out of the rest of us who trying to make a true difference in the lives of so many who have made a difference in ours. Step back and be respectful of those who volunteer. If you think you can do a better job, I’ve got the names and numbers of recruiters all over the country who would be glad to assist you in getting fitted for some desert boots. If say you support the troops but not the war, take this approach: Ben said it best when he wrote, “Soldiering is an honest calling. So is plumbing, farming, and bus driving, America needs them all and I have nothing against anyone who opts for one and not the other.” It’s so very true and it’s so many of these folks who are also serving our country at war. If your support is that great, contact a base or local reserve office and find out whose farm needs tending, whose company needs the phone answered and whose wife could use a hand with the yard. Use your energies for the good of others.
By the article’s definition, my husband is part of the “bottom of the barrel.” By the article’s definition I should hold myself higher than him. I’m proud to be a Guardsman’s wife. I’m proud to raise my child to be proud of the country we live in. My husband is my equal in our civilian life but when he dons his uniform, he is far more superior than I and I promise you, that of the two of us, he is the one you want in the field.
Thank you to everyone who has sent a package, letter, note, well wish and said a prayer. Thank you to everyone who has served and is serving. It is because of you we live as we do.
Sgt. L’s Wife
It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who like to critize, point fingers and lay blame but NEVER seem to follow through with a realistic solution or idea. No one will ever understand a soldier's view until you've walked in his or her boots. No one will never know the angst that comes with being a military spouse/family. Every group has their followers and supporters but I say this with all my heart and soul: There is no group is more supportive, loving and caring for one another than military families, immediate and extended. We are a band of brothers and sisters who are far and near. We share the same joys and tears for the person half way around the world as we do for those who live next door. We're all neighbors and we're all family. Of all the crap in the news about protestors using a fallen service member's funeral as a location to spread their "word," not once (and if I have missed it, I apologize) have I ever seen a military family waiting to pounce on the hearts and grave of one who opposes the war. We're not all perfect by any stretch of the imagination but what I have, as do my brothers and sisters, is tact, grace and the ability to love and honor those who have given me the chances I have and, coincidentally, it's the same chance you have. Funny how that works, isn't it?
I fly my flag proud. I laugh out loud. I hug hard. I listen intently. I pray with every fiber of my being. My Blue Star flag was retired when Sgt. came home but it is waiting to hang in our window again. There is simply so much hate in our society and if only a teensy tinsy portion of the energy was put into something good rather than trying to be the loudest and most obnoxious, so many things would be so different. If my husband, BG's daddy, in-law's son is what is considered the bottom of the barrel, then I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams truly by the Grace of God. Apparently the bottom of the barrel means I have the love of a man whose heart has room in it for me and my short comings. A man who isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in. A man who has signed his 2nd re-enlistment since 9/11, one of which was this past August. A man who works hard to make sure all around him are taken care of. I love him and I'm proud of him.
Now, I offically step off my soapbox.