Saturday, December 22, 2007

The past few days...


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, 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:

Mrs. L.,

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.

About Friday:

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.

Very humbling.


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


I am the only spouse in my state's Blue Star Mothers group. When I joined a year ago, there were approximately 10 members. We are now 80+ with three chartered chapters and two on the way. Not bad for a year's time. As an associate member, I can't hold office or anything like that but I can support. I rallied for a chapter closer to my house because I, and others, were driving 3 hours for a meeting. I found a mom who's pretty close to me and we made it happen. Our first meeting had the 5 we needed to have a chapter and since then we've grown another 10.

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.

Good night.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Anniversaries and Events that Change our Lives

Earlier this week I was listening to a radio show and each member of the show had to list five things that changed their lives, good or bad. Weddings and births of children didn't count. I've been running this through my mind since then thinking what would be the five I chose. Some of theirs went back to early childhood with parents divorcing, etc. but I'm lucky, I guess, I have nothing I can remember as life altering from that early on. Sometimes I think it's odd the things we remember as an anniversary. There are those that give us a feeling of warmth and then there are those that bring sadness.

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

Alive and scrambling

I would say kicking but that would require at least one foot on solid ground for balance and it ain't happening.

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

The Greatest Love of All

Went to a Gold Star ceremony today with my local Blue Star Mothers group honoring fallen heroes from the western part our state. It was my first and it was very humbling, to say the least. BG went with me since Sgt. had drill and did really well. Most of the BSMs in my state are nice. Some have personalities that are waaay less than desirable but we manage. One of the mothers honored lost her son in Vietnam. The most recent was killed in July. The Patriot Guard Riders were there as escorts for us and they are one of the the most incredible groups I have ever had the honor of working with. We swapped stories, business cards, hugs and tears. BG had to sit on my lap during the service and during one really emotional time for me, she told me what I tell her when she's upset, "Hold me tight and love me much. It will be okay." BG will be 3 in January and I swear she holds more wisdom than a lot of grown ups I know. Then she followed up with, "Here's a tissue. Wipe it up." She DOES listen. Woo hoo!

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 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

First Phone Call

Pre-alert order came today. It's the first of a slew of alerts to come but it is officially in motion.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It is us.


The next year will go by so quickly. I don't think the timetable will play out as they have it listed but, none the less, it's been announced.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is probably us.

Read about it here. We've known it's coming. Training has shifted gears for it. New tanks arrived months ago and Sgt. has a "new" job. We've heard the rumors of it for some time. Timeline had been laid out, as best it could be. Supply requisitions are getting approved left and right and it's not just because the budget is busting with funds; Supply Sgt. says it's never been this easy to get money for stuff. It's being rumored to throw in an extra drill or two a month because when they started their special training it threw their regular training off so now they'll be a year behind in that. We've ridden the roller coaster enough to know it can change in the blink of an eye. However, nothing ever eases the pit in the bottom of your stomach to hear orders to a war zone are on the way. Rumor or feels the same.

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

Brothers and Sisters need our prayers

*UPDATED 10-17-07*

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 have a platoon I've been sending things to here and there just to make sure they know they are thought of. This morning I had an email from the Major, who pops in from time to time in my email box. He sent me this picture of the 2 yr. old niece of one of their contacts. The first thing I saw were her big, gorgeous brown eyes and then as my eyes scanned the rest of the picture, I saw how dirty her little face is and how worn her clothes and her poor dolly are. We take so much for granted and BG has so many toys and clothes and I'm constantly looking for new things for her and not always because she needs them. I've found out they see their contact at least once a week and today I'm sending a box of goodies and some warm clothes for winter to this sweet, sweet girl.

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

Care Packages Galore

We are in full support mode with Soldiers' Angels and care packages are flying out of Chateau Sgt. L left and right. BG has become quite the little helper when it comes to putting the bags together. We did about 200 goody bags while the inlaws were here. BG packaged about 1/3 of the bags. She was a little rough on the NutriGrain bars but hey, they can lick 'em off the wrapper, right? By the way, her car is in the living room because she won't drive it outside. This day it was ready to go to "Tah-get" in case we needed more soldier stuff.

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy

"Me Help! Me Help!"

One blue, one green, one yellow...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's been going on....

It's been almost 45 days since my last post. Boy, have things at the Sgt. L household been crazy, crazy, crazy. I'm in benefits change-over season at work, getting employee folders in compliance, and just general work mayhem. BG has been sick - into our 3rd week now. We're on our second round of antibiotics and a new decongestant. She'll go from absolutely wonderful to spiking a 102* temp in the blink of an eye. When she's sick she wants to be held and the only person she wants is "mommmmeeeee." I've averaged about 3 hrs of sleep a night for almost 3 weeks and I feel like I've been beaten within an inch of my life. The inlaws are on their way into town and will be staying at Chateau Sgt. L. We live in a constant state of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). My living room is a staging area for Soldiers' Angels care packages. BG and I packaged 19 up a couple of weekends ago and I figure what better way for Sgt's mom and BG to bond...tape boxes and stuff with treats. Thru SA I got word of a chaplain who has 1,100 soldiers whose morale is down. I can't possibly write 1,100 letters by myself in a reasonable amount of time and I like to handwrite and not use a standard letter with a signature so I got the wheels a spinning. I have emailed every school principal in my state requesting letters from the students for the soldiers. I put a similar request out to a few family and friends in the spring and got 2,500! That was from 7 people with basically just their kids' classes participating. BG goes to a private school with about 300 students and they all participated for me. So, I figure with just a quick note to 7 of them and that great of a response, I could only imagine what an entire state can do. So far not as much of a response as I would have hoped but it's still early and I have about another 1000 emails to send. One thing I learned with my first 500 recipients....schools have kick azz spam filters and kicked about 2/3 of them back to me. Hard lesson learned. I've also emailed state superintendents of 2 other states hoping for participation. 47 states to go. Cross your fingers...I would love for this project to take off and I want enough letters so that given the opportunity I could send one to every soldier. Sgt. asked what was I going to do when these letters came in. My response: WE will sort them, fold them and send them to those who need them. His response: "Oh." I want to be overwhelmed with troop support. Will post an update to see how things go.

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 hell summer. With the July 4 holiday, summer travels and temps in the upper 90s and low 100s, I didn't make it back for another lesson until last Tuesday...I played in a tournament this past Saturday. My company was a major sponsor and I was put on the team. I spoke with the captain and was going to back out so I didn't embarrass myself in front of "everyone." He looked at me cockeyed and asked who everyone was. I told him the people who watched. He tried not to bust a gut laughing at me when he reminded me it was a local Police/K9 charity tournament, not the PGA. Hell, I didn't know...the only tournaments I have ever seen have been on television and there are always spectators - even for the little local ones. Well, not little as in the town this was in has 3 stoplights and half the townspeople share a last name. Since it was captain's choice and I'm a gal, my partners loved it because I don't "swing like a girl" and I consistently drive 150-175 yards and they wanted me for the par 5s. We didn't win - not even close but I didn't suck as bad as I thought I was going to and they didn't play as well as they had hoped so we balanced each other out.

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

Blubbering Mess

Tonight as I worked on some contract work in my office at home, I had the television on and it was time for Oprah. The show is about heroes so I stopped what I was doing and watched in awe as I listened to the heroic stories. The last story was about the Marines of the Second Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Alpha Company returning home. The moment Oprah started to announce them, the flood gates opened and the tears streamed down my face. I remember my version of that day. I remember it like it was yesterday only it was almost two years ago. I'll never forget the moment I was able to hold Sgt. in my arms again and seeing the faces of our friends as they met their husbands for the first time after months of waiting and worrying and crying and making it. I cried as I watched these Marines and their Navy Corpsman have tears run down their cheeks hugging and loving their families. I always talk about considering our military being our extended family. When the three injured Marines from this BN came out and welcomed their brothers home, it reminded me, again, the type of bond they have. It also reminded me of what we stand for and why.

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

Conversation 101

I'm a pretty good talker. Well, according to Sgt. I'm just about the best there is. I usually make at least one friend wherever I go and irritate the rest of the peeps until someone acknowledges me. Not necessarily true but it's what HE says.

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. 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

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the fantastic daddies out there.

The Sgt. L Family tried to have family pictures done yesterday but BG was having no part of it so we managed to get them done today...

Happy Father's Day Sgt. BG and I love you very, very much.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Check Out This Article

This is a wonderful article to read. This soldier claims he is no hero, only doing his job. Doing his job saved his comrades. Kudos!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I *Heart* Dennis Miller

Dennis Miller sums up Harry Reid. Check it out here.

Friday, June 8, 2007


This is something that has crept through my mind many times because it's something we still deal with a year and a half after Sgt's return home from Iraq. I've posted before about seeing a counselor before he came home in an effort to try to get myself together to be able to help him with whatever we may encounter. It worked, to a degree. But there are just some things I can't do to help him and the only thing I can do is stand by him in hopes he'll come to me. When the "honeymoon" period ended, it ended. It was rough but I'm very fortunate in that he never took his anger or aggressions out on me; he has never laid so much as a finger on me. New Year's '06 was the first time I saw the effects of being in a war zone. People on the street behind us were shooting off fireworks and he shouted "DOWN! NOW!" I was in the back bedroom and the tone and volume of his voice scared me and I went running. He was in the living room and had the most "empty" look on his face. But what was "empty" to me was him in combat/survival mode. It took about 45 seconds for him to get his wits about him and he apologized for scaring me. I told him no worries and retreated to the bedroom to finish what I was doing but instead I cried. Sgt. came home with no physical scars but the emotional ones were slowly showing and I felt helpless. Truly 1000% helpless. I knew there was more to him than what was showing on the outside. His mannerisms had changed. I often found him speaking to me the same way he gave orders to his men. I tried my best to not correct him but there was one day that his anger got the best of him and he yelled at me. Now, we fight and have arguments but this was pure yelling unlike anything I've ever heard from him before. For the first time, he actually heard himself and he wept. Not so much because of what he said but more because of how he made me feel. He finally saw that there was something else going on inside and felt out of control.

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 Mom a Muffin

This was sent to me by a good friend and you moms know just how true this is...


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

Talking about Girly Bits - Boys Be Warned

Today BG had an appointment with an ENT to evaluate her for spurting nose bleeds that pop up from no where. I've googled and I've read and blah, blah, blah and I understand it can be normal but one little nose It doesn't help a dear friend of mine has a close family member recently diagnosed with leukemia and the nose bleeds were her symptom. The first time BG had one, Sgt. was on AT and she woke up crying, the same as every other night, and I walked in her room and she was covered head to toe in blood. The first thing I did was pick her up and grab some wipes to clean her up to see what was going on. The next thing I did was call my mom. At 1:30 a.m. Thank goodness she's an insomniac or she never would have heard the phone. Our doctor office nurse line is staffed by rejected rocket scientist. Has to be. Their answer: Dry air. Umm. Not so much. BG has had nose bleeds related to a dry nose/dry air and this wasn't the same. Besides, we use a cool mist humidifier to keep the air nice and moist. So, after about 15 minutes, it stopped. I changed her sheets and we slept together. The next one was about 2 weeks after that while she was outside blowing bubbles. A kitchen towel was the only thing I could grab and it soaked it completely. Immediate appointment with her doctor. She didn't see any sores in her nose or anything and told me the next one she would send us to an ENT. We've been waiting for our referral and I swear if the referral chick went any slower she would be going backwards. So, today was our day. She tells me BG picks her nose. Yes, but what two year old doesn't but it's not bleeding when she gets her finger's days later. BUT I was "explained to in detail" about taking care of little noses and nose bleeds and to go back in three weeks. So, we walked out with our instructions for swabbing her nose with v aseline...we do anyway. Besides, the way this kid's nose runs, there is no way in hell it can be dry. Second big concern is that since BG is adopted, we have absolutely no family history on her. I tried to plead my case this way: You know when you hear a little noise in your car and your resident mechanic tells you there's nothing wrong. Well, I drive the car. I know it's normal knocks and ticks and this is different. Come to find out: I WAS RIGHT and my mechanic asks for ketchup with his crow. Same with my kiddo. No, I haven't been to medical school and the closest I've come to it is making our deductible every year at the doctor's office but I know my kid. I know her snotty nose and what ails her with each one. I know her cries. I know her whines and what they are calling for. I know what a dry air nose bleed is. I know my kid. I smiled, thanked them for seeing us and we went and gorged on french fries before I dropped her back off at school since I had my girly bits appointment today.

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


Memorial Day is celebrated by different people in different ways and its meaning holds just as many differences. To some it's a day off from work. To some it's a chance for sales. To many of us it's a day of honor and rememberance; remembering those who died while defending our Nation and its values.

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.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Decade Ago

Sgt. and I got married. We were both skinny and he was smoking hot in his dress blues (Marine at the time). All of our groomsmen wore their uniforms but he nixed me on the swords. Now he wishes he hadn't.

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

Daddy Song, Mama. Daddy and Soldier.

BG is learning more and more music. Not the "Wheels on the Bus" kind of music but she listens to my eclectic music collection. While we like our kiddie songs, she loves to rock out to Bon Jovi, a little hip hop, and slows it down for "pretty songs." Her three favorites right now are "It's my Life" by Bon Jovi (the live version), "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder, and "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" by Mel McDaniel. "Again, mama. Again" is what I hear quite often from her. She knows to ask by name and calls them "Jovi Life," "Angels lips" and "Baby Jeans On."

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

What Separates Me?

I am finding that more and more of my blog posts are about soul searching than actual events taking place in our lives. That's not necessarily a bad thing because no new news and no new drama means the home front is at peace, at least for now.

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

I volunteer with my local chapter of Blue Star Mothers but as a spouse I'm considered an associate member. These mothers have embraced me with open arms and even though some of their children are my age, they treat me as one of them. About two weeks ago I got an email asking if I would be willing to travel with another mother to visit the family of a fallen hero and deliver a condolence book. Yes. Sgt. and I went to a local charity event last night so my parents had BG all weekend and today was the day we delivered the book; there were two other mothers and myself.

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

The Talk - One Of Many To Come

Sgt. has been home since Saturday evening and I've been sick since Thursday of last week so he was greeted with puffy eyes and a runny nose. He has been taking care of BG for me so I can rest in the evenings. We were concerned about how she would respond to him since he was gone for a month but she has been all about daddy since he got home, which I am thrilled beyond all words on.

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

It's What I Believe In

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


Sgt. is finally on his way home. It's been a long month. Now we begin the wait for his orders to Iraq. But, he's coming home!!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ahhh...Much Needed

My weekend was nothing short of amazing. This was the first time I had met S in person and we had a fantastic time. We've been e-pals and bloggy buddies for a while and she' s way more fabuloso in person. DC is fantastic. We saw so much stuff and she was a fantastic "cruise director." Her son just left for Iraq and we've added a yellow ribbon to the tattered one from Sgt's first tour in his honor.

Update on trip later...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Looking Old

This past week has been a rough one. Work has been absolute hell and, coupled with PMS, I'm just about to get to my breaking point. I'm one of those people who believes in faithful use of sunscreen to keep my skin looking as healthy as possible. Yesterday I checked my face before I got out of the car and in the rear-view mirror all I saw were my eyes. I'm 33 and I look old this week. I look old and just worn out. It really ruined my day. Normally my face is pretty vibrant - it does show my lack of sleep from time to time - but I have never thought I looked old. But I do. It's the same look Sgt. had on his face when he was finishing up his tour in Iraq and it saddened me because I remember how he told me he felt and it reflected in his face. Now my days of stress, anxiety, working 65 hours a week, being a mom, being a wife, being it all is catching up with me.

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

Hodge Podge

Monday night BG and I went to pick up some candy to make goody bags for Sgt. and his soldiers since they are all so far away from home for their month of training. I originally planned for maybe 100 bags, which would be plenty with a few extras. Sgt. called and I had not told him about my surprise but then he drops on me that all 3500 from their brigade are there. YIKES. So, I nonchalantly ask him if he will actually see all these people and he tells me yes. Crap. So as I'm struggling with keeping this affordable and wondering what I've gotten myself into, he calls again and I re-ask him again and his answer changes back to only having close contact with about 150 or so. While I couldn't tell him why I was being so nosy, I'm secretly planning an empty bag with his name on it. Grrrr....3500 vs. 200....HUGE difference. So, BG and I have been stuffing candy bags and I know not a one of them will appreciate the fact I've hand curled the 6 strands of ribbon that ties each one of them closed. But I know it and it makes it just a tad bit special. While we were at Costco loading up on candy, Sgt. called and I put the phone on speaker and gave it to BG to talk to him and this is how their conversation went:

Sgt. "Hey BG. What are you doing?
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"
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.

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


Sgt. left this morning for a month long guard training. Friday he left super early so they could load their equipment on rail cars returning Saturday afternoon. BG stayed with my parents and I had a slumber party. It was me, Ernest&Julio Gallo, Ben&Jerry and the Monsters of Rock (I love 80s hair bands). Oh, glorious. As soon as I got home I slipped into my pajamas, ordered pizza and enjoyed a lot of wine. I got up Saturday morning to meet a girlfriend for breakfast before heading off to shop for a dress for a charity event we are going to when Sgt. gets home. Found the perfect dress - on sale, which makes it even better.

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

"Bottom of the barrel"

I read a lot of different milblogs and one I've followed for a while is American Soldier. I checked in today and read this post. I went to the CBS website to comment on Andy Rooney's story but comments were closed.

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.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Crappy Weeks

It's been a pair of weeks from hell. Last Monday it started off with me walking out of the house with BG and her cup pulling the door closed behind me. The problem? My keys were on the other side of the door. Sgt. was working 2 hours away and we don't trust our neighborhood to leave a key as these are the neighbors who stole food from our freezer on the back porch. (I swear it's not as ghetto as it sounds) I started sleuthing around and found one window the lock wasn't 100% locked and started working to get it open so I could climb in. As I tried to raise the window, the window came out of the track. Sweet craftsmanship we have on our home. (Our builder didn't even build his own house and is now doing landscaping). Got to work late and my assistant was out sick for 2 days. I started a software conversion the week before and spent every day on the phone with tech support trying to get it to work. Still won't work like it's supposed to and next week will be spent setting up a new server in my office to run this beastly software. Valentine's day came and went along with a manic episode of PMS and tears to flood the state. This week Sgt. has been sick, I've been sick and anything that has and can go wrong has. This morning a guy pulled up next to me at a stop light and told me, "Ma'am. Ma'am. You're dragging a purse on the other side of your car." Sh*t. I pull into a parking lot and sure enough, my purse had apparently fallen out of the car, I closed the handles in the door and it has a severe case of road rash. I must have passed 100 cars from the time I left the house this morning until this guy got the highlight of his day and was gracious enough to tell me. Nothing fell out. Nothing gone. One more purse for the handbag graveyard. I got to work this morning and found out I forgot to order some components on Wednesday and the plant will run out today. We just happen to have our vendor rep coming for a visit and he is bringing some. I must admit when I heard over the radio system a truck that had been loaded this morning pulled off the dock without his load locked and pulled out of our yard with the doors open, I secretly hoped his load would shift so somebody else could have a bad day.

I normally don't like Fridays because they are two days closer to Monday so Wednesdays are my days of choice as they are two days from the weekend. However, over the past few weeks, I've been longing for them. It's not pessimistic, it's my coping mechanism.


Sgt. needed a prescription picked up so BG and I went through the drive thru at the pharmacy and BG pipes in from the back seat, "Fries, peease!" When I told her we don't get fries from this place she said, "Okay, ashbowns" (which is her word for hashbrowns) Aye.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Best of Both Worlds

Sometimes I think I have the best of both worlds being a prior active duty/current reserve wife and a civilian wife. Sometimes I think it gives me a well-rounded perspective as I've been on both sides of the fence. Other times I wonder.

Sgt. and I married while he was active duty Marine Corps, but he only had 6 months left and all floats, over seas duty stations, etc. were done with so there was nothing except base life to experience and even that was limited as I was in college and had an apartment so he moved to where I lived, which was about an hour away from base. Even during the time we dated, he never went anywhere other than a few nights in the field. We rarely went to base for anything but our circle of friends was great. A lot of his buddies dated my friends so we were a close knit family. Slowly everyone started to get out, with the exception of a few who chose to go career, and started moving away. No one stayed in our state except for us. It was hard to say good bye but, our circle grew again in our civilian life. While we still hear from some of his buddies that we haven't seen since 1997, I often miss that bond. It's like no other.

In October 2002 Sgt. joined the Navy reserves (with his MOS he would be able to drill closer to home vs. three hours away with the Marine Corps). Everyone thought he was crazy but I didn't. I was proud he wanted to serve again. We had talked about it several times during his IRR period but he finally did it. I tend to have high hopes and grand expectations; I guess, in a sense, I want to see the best in everything. Now, I'm not a Pollyanna who believes in blue skies and picket fences all the time but I do like to give the benefit of the doubt. One of the things I truly try to live by is to go into situations with an open mind and good spirit and I believe I'll come out for the better. Usually I'm right. I had the notion that the reserve wives would be the same as the active duty wives. Let me back up a bit...we live in the town where I graduated high school and the friends we have here are friends from my past that we reincorporated with so he never really had any of "his own" friends here. That being said, I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to meet some guys who shared the same interests, etc. and I would befriend the wives, just like the old days. While we made friends, none were like I was expecting or, I guess I should say, hoping for. Most everyone was prior service and it was all about "my dog is bigger than your dog" they were Navy. We were Marines. I can't tell you the number of times I heard the joke that Marine stand for My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment. It was enough to make it real old, real fast.

On December 16, 2004, Sgt. got the call he was being recalled for active duty service. We initially thought it was a voluntary recall and had "the talk" and he said he needed to go. I said I supported him, call back. He did and 2 months later he left for Iraq. Everyone at his reserve center shook his hand, gave atta-boys and said "Tell the Wife to call us if she needs anything. Anything at all." Normally I wouldn't call anyone for anything, it's just the kind of person I am. The first thing I had to do was get an active duty I.D. card. I called for the appointment, which was set for ONE MONTH OUT. She only does ID cards one day a month from 8:00 - 8:50 a.m. No joke. Once all that was done, Sgt's pay was messed up. Surprise. So, I called the only point of contact I had, his reserve center. After getting nowhere fast, I went up there to talk face to face and was told that I needed to contact the Ombudsman but they couldn't tell me who it was and told me it was up to me to figure it out. (Sgt. was deployed with a unit from a different state.) After crying, I called the base they were training at and just dialed a random number because I didn't know what the right number would be and got someone in the maintenance department who didn't blow me off. He put me on hold and found out who I needed to talk to, gave me name, number, extension and a backup person in case the main contact wasn't available. WOW. So much different than at our reserve center. I would say it's the difference in active duty vs. reserve, and I guess it is to a point. After all, the bitchy PO1 was active duty but was used to dealing with reserve issues from their center and since Sgt. wasn't there anymore, he wasn't her problem, nor was I. I know, it's dragging on. So, we'll fast forward. I stumbled across a wife whose husband just happened to be in the unit Sgt. was assigned to. While she and I were becoming friends, so were they. Amazing. They live 5-1/2 hours from us and the husbands were half a world away. "W" was great. We emailed. We talked. I even went to meet her for my birthday that year so I wouldn't have to be alone. I finally had a wife who was like me. A wife whose husband was proud to serve and who was proud of him. A wife like the friends we had before. But she was so far away. His atta-boy friends magically disappeared shortly after he left. No one called anymore or emailed just to say hi. I did get a sympathy invite to one kid's birthday party and how do I know it was a sympathy invite? The mom told me so. It was sad. The people we ate dinners with on weekends, celebrated holidays with all turned away during what was the most trying times of my life, and Sgt's. So, for the 214 days he was in country, I lived my life as my own with the one wife whose husband was serving with Sgt. and another wife who lived in the northeast, her husband was also Navy but assigned to a terror boat team. Both were women that I needed and longed for in my life. My civilian friends are great but they just don't understand the dynamic of the military and it's not their fault. They just simply haven't experienced it. Sometimes you just gotta have someone on your side who can walk in your shoes, or carry you when you can't walk anymore.

When Sgt. returned home, I set up a dinner for him and sent out invites to his whole reserve center. About 15 came along with a guy who lived a few hours away he worked with in Iraq. Those were the people who gave him a handshake and told him, "job well done." Those who didn't even send an email or call to say hello? Many of them left in January for various deployments. I hope they will understand what their wives will need and I hope they are able to find it. I doubt they will ever think back to me and tell themselves they should have reacted differently. It brought to light those who knew us and those who knew us best...both sides of us. The military side and the civilian side.

I'm the wife who hugs soldiers in the airports when I'm traveling and tell them thank you. I'm the wife who gives the wife at the gym with the bumper sticker that reads, "the other half of my heart is in ____" a smile and lets her know I understand. I'm the wife who boxed up enough care packages and sent off that I should have been on the post office payroll. I'm the wife who rallies for our troops. I'm the wife who sends notes to friends deployed. I'm the wife who still checks in on the hand full of other wives I met during our deployment, who all live at least 5 hours away with the exception of one. I'm the wife I wanted to meet. I'm the wife I wanted to be friends with. I'm the wife I needed for support while Sgt. was gone. I'm also the wife who craves for someone in my life to be like me.

Now Sgt. is with a new unit since the end of last summer. I went to the unit Christmas party and only a handful of people even made eye contact. One is a guy I've blogged about before, the single dad whose wife is a crackhead with custody of his three kids. One was a new grandfather who wanted his 6 week old grandson to smile at BG. One was the Captain. Many of the wives have been through a deployment with them to Iraq and then turned around and then reactivated for a domestic job. None of them spoke. None of them looked at me. None of them acted like they cared a bit.

I care. Maybe I care too much. Support is something I try hard to give because I know what it's like not to get it. I went to a meeting last month and met with a bunch of moms whose kids are deployed. I learned that there is no stronger group of women who supports their kids more than military moms. I'm the only wife in this group but Sgt's mom volunteers for a chapter in her state and there are wives in hers and they have pride and aren't afraid to show it. I guess it's the downside of living in a non-military town (Sgt's mom lives in a military town).

I miss a lot about military life. I miss the bonds, the kinship and the "just knowing" that develops. I like living the civilian life because there are no moves, no major pay issues and I only have to make sure uniforms are clean for one weekend a month and three weeks a year.

Is it really the best of both worlds? Does my experience really give me a well-rounded perspective? I think it does on one level but it also leaves an empty spot in my heart that only milspouses can fill.