Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

He’s Deployed… Again…

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been busy.  When hubby is home, I tend to want to do more with him.  With him leaving, I need to have an emotional and creative outlet.  So here I am again, facing our third deployment.

And wow, have things changed from our other deployments.  During the first, I had one toddler.  The second I had two toddlers and a kindergartener.  Now, I have 3 in school (5th, 2nd, 1st) and a preschooler!!  While I don’t think any deployment is easy (being separated from your loved one never is), with each stage of our lives, it gets more challenging.

Drop off was this morning.  My husband has yet to deploy with a unit.  That means that our deployments consist of us driving him to the airport and saying good-bye there.  No rallies or grand send-offs with our Army family – just us.  My oldest K (11 1/2), she started crying first.  She remembers the last time and what it’s like to miss him.  She’s also old enough that she understands world events and even goes to school with children whose parents didn’t return from deployments.  She has sadness and fear in her eyes.

R (8 1/2) is my only son.  He has been insisting for months that Daddy can’t go to war because he’ll get killed.  How to do calm his nerves, but in the same breath have to understand that there is a chance that his father could get killed?  We kept telling him that while it is dangerous, Daddy was going to do his best to stay safe and that we just keep praying to God that he does remain safe.

Then the last two A (almost 7) and T (almost 4) are sad to see Daddy go, but just don’t have the grasp of exactly what is going on.  This is also the first time that T has ever seen her father leave for more than a weekend. She didn’t want to let him go at the airport.  I haven’t seen her hug him that long and hard since she broke her arm!!

I’ve also changed.  I’m older and a bit more cynical.  I put on a brave face and try to keep my tears to myself.  My faith has gotten me through this twice and I know it will do it again.  It will take me a few weeks to get used to sleeping alone; without his arms around me as a drift off to sleep.  And then, before long, we will get into a routine that doesn’t include him.  But in the end, we look forward to having him back to learn our new routine!!


Deployments and Being Lonely

Lately I’ve been reading military spouse blogs about how lonely they are without their husbands.  Now don’t get me wrong — I do get lonely without my husband, but it’s not a constant feeling.  And I don’t dwell on it.  I get out and keep myself from being lonely.  Everyone has the right to their feelings, but to say in general statements that all Army Wives are lonely is a big mistake.

To start, let’s look at the word lonely as “Webster” sees it.

Lonely — \ˈlōn-lē\

  1. being without company, cut off from others
  2. not frequented by human beings
  3. sad from being alone
  4. producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation

During a deployment, I am never without company — I have children that are there and I make sure to surround myself with friends that do understand what I am going through.  One of the pluses of living in a military community is having those types of people around.  That covers the human beings part and not being alone.  I, personally, never understand those people who “move home” when there husbands are deployed.  I think that this causes more problems for the one left behind. 
Living in a community that has a military installation makes life easier.  All the resources you need are there.  Support groups, commissary, childcare, clinics, etc.  I don’t feel that enough people take advantage of the opportunities that are given on the military bases.  FRG’s (if run correctly), AFTB, and Family Support Centers can help everyone — and it turn, getting involved can give you an opportunity to give back by volunteering at those some places.  You can pass your knowledge onto other spouses that may be currently going through something that you were able to deal with earlier in your life. 
Besides all the benefits living near a military installation, I don’t move because that is my home.  I don’t want to up-root my family any more than I have too.  We’ve been married for almost 10 years and we’ve lived in 6 different places.  I hate moving on a good day, so why move anymore then I have too! 
Do I miss my husband?  Yes.  It is not easy to have him half way around the world, but I can not stop living because we are apart.  I lived on my own before I was married and I can do so now.  It just means that I need to be my own person. 
There is a time that I do get lonely — is late at night, when I should be asleep, but the bed is cold without him.

Ground Zero Mosque — I’m Conflicted

Here’s the basics about me — Christian, American, Mom, Army Wife, New Yorker….  And I am conflicted about the building of a mosque at Ground Zero. 

For some people this is very black and white.  But as an American, I believe in freedom of religion.  Something that others do not have in other countries.  Even in Iraq, Christians have a hard time worshiping the way they choose.  My husband served with an Iraqi soldier that was Catholic.  He kept his family in a far away location and told my husband that because their church had been burnt down, they had to worship when and where they could.  Being Catholic myself, I sent this soldier a set of rosary beads that I made for him and my husband, with my blessing, gave him the patron saint medals that I asked hubby to carry with him while deployed.  My heart ached for this man and his family.  They were not as fortunate as Americans.

The Quakers and the Puritans came to America in order to  escape religious persecution.  I won’t tell you that all was rosy for them once they got here, but it was easier than if they had stayed in England.  But they had a choice. 

As a New Yorker and an Army wife, the September 11 attacks changed my life in many ways.  I had been married for less than a year and was expecting our first child.  We never thought that he would be deployed during war-time.  War didn’t seem like something to consider.  And the attack was in my backyard.  I have friends that watch the towers come down from where they lived and worked.  I was angry for a long, long time!  I still get angry, but my anger changed over time.  First it was the loss of life and destruction, but now, the time my husband leaves his family, leaves me. 

So how can these people who decided to build this mosque think that it was a good thing.  I know that it was not them that did it and we should not blame the religion.  Any type of radical religion is dangerous and, as I see it, corrupt.  But unfortunately, this religion is where these radical terrorists came from. 

While on one hand, I believe in freedom of religion, I also think that the organizers are being insensitive.

Any thoughts?  Let me know.

I’m so Blessed to have Two Families!

I am very close to my family.  My sister is one of my best friends.  I talk to her and my mother almost daily — even living overseas.  So I am very thankful for the inexpensive “call around the world” phone plans!!  And then there are those family members that I don’t get along with as well.  I love and respect them, but we dont’ always see eye-to-eye.  Just like my Army family. 

And just like my biological family, I try my best to support and help them any way I can.  I have friends that are like my sisters and some like my mother.  Soldiers that remind me of uncles, brothers and fathers (although, the older I get, the less parental figures I find and the more parental I get).  We try to support each other emotionally.  We pray for each other, give hugs when needed and remember important events. 

We also help each other when things are needed.  Our unit has a meals committee that has a group of ladies that makes meals when a new baby is born, household good arrive, and when someone is in the hospital or sick.  Recently, we had a situation when a soldier was suddenly awarded custody of his two tween children.  He had been living in the barracks.  So to make their new quarters more cozy (he had gotten some items from the loan closet) we got together and found things that we could do without and they needed.  Since we just got a new grill, I cleaned up my old one (which was still in fine condition, just too small for my growing family) and bought him bbq tools, charcoal and matches.  I also included a meal of hamburgers and hot dogs — can’t have a grill with nothing to cook on it!  I also made care packages for his kids.  Not knowing them, I put a journal and pens along with toiletries and snacks.

The best part was that it wasn’t much, but they were so grateful.  They didn’t care that the grill was used or that I bought them soap.  They graciously thanked me.  Above all, it made me feel good to help out my “family”.  If it were my biological sister moving into a new home, I would send her something, so why not help my Army family.

 Another thing that never crossed my mind (until someone questioned me about it) was the soldiers rank.  Some people would think that it wasn’t right for me to do what I did because of the rank structure.  But all I saw was a family in need — and they were part of my Army family.

So when I am without my biological family, I am very thankful for the Army family that was brought to me by chance!

On this day in 1993… Vietnam Women’s Memorial

Today in 1993, the ground was broken to start the building of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.  It was a tribute that took way to long.  For so long, women in the military had been forgotten.  The memorial was official dedicated on November 11, 1993.  Please check out their site – Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation — and go and visit! 

I have respect for all of our military service members, but I think my respect and admiration is greater for the women who choose to serve.  Maybe even more for during draft-era military women — because they VOLUNTEERED!  I thank them all for doing something that I would not choose to do myself. 

Thank you ladies!  You are an inspiration to so many!  And I use you as role-models for my daughters!!

Army Family Team Building — Why I recommend everyone take these classes!!!

I big supporter of education!  So, when I heard that the Army actually gave classes that would help me understand things in the Army, I was ready to sign up!  I took my first Army Family Team Building (AFTB) class when I had been married for about 2 years.  My husband was deployed and it was me and my little 15 month old girl.  And at that time, they were not offered on-line, so you needed to attend the classes in person.  And I am glad I did!  I made friends and my daughter had free child care.  She was able to play with other children.  It gave us both something new. 

I also learned a lot!  I will admit that AFTB Level I has some areas that I thought were way basic.  And it could be possibly because I read many books and asked my husband and other wives LOTS of questions.  After taking all three levels, I ended up with a large binder of wonderful information.  I then went on to take the FRG leader training which was extremely helpful when I became a FRG leader and still comes in handy in my role as a mentor to other FRG leaders.  I had also planned on attending the training for AFTB teachers.  unfortunately, it was cancelled by an ice storm and having baby #2 and then moving and deployments and more babies stopped me.  But, if I am lucky, I will be attending the training this fall.  Then I will be able to teach these valuable classes and use my experiences as an Army wife to help others. 

So if you an opportunity to take these classes in person, do so!!  It is a great opportunity.  And if they are not available in your area or you would prefer to take them online, do that!  A little education goes a long way. 

For more information — check out it our here —> Army Family Team Building

Just a Little Rant About Women!!!

I have always believed that if women would be better mentors to each other, we could take over the world!  I run into too many women that would rather stab you in the back and think that they are better than you!!!  I’m not that kind of women.  It gets me hurt sometimes, but I feel that my friendships are stronger for being the way that I am.

I bring this up because of a blog that I ran across recently.  I’m not even going to share the link because it’s not worth it.  This blogger happens to be both a soldier and an Army wife.  And instead of understanding how difficult it can be for Army wives, she bashed us.  She felt that we were all a bunch of whiney women that sat around “drinking iced tea and catering to our red, white and blue families”.  Nice, huh?  Overall, I found that she was bitter and angry because she choose a path that did not make her happy.  She complained about how some Army wives said that the were “on their second deployment”.  Stating that we (Army wives) weren’t on a deployment”  Sorry lady, but we (Army families) go through deployments together, even if, we ourselves are not “deployed”. 

Now don’t get me wrong, are there some Army wives that are chronic complainers.  “Oh woe is me, my husband is gone and all I am is lonely and unable to live normally.”  We all know those types of wives, but I’m not willing to disregard their feelings to make myself feel better or look like I am a better person.  And we all have those moments, but some of us choose to remain positive and live the best we can with or without our husbands.  One piece of advice I was given before I married my husband was, “You have to learn to live with him and learn to live without him”.  This is so true!  (Check out my post about that statement here.)  So when I meet the “chronic complainer”, instead of criticizing her, I try to help her see the bright side and help you make it easier for her. 

To me, this soldier/wife blogger is no different then the women that fight over who has it harder, the working mom or the stay-at-home-mom.  Everyone has their difficulties and everyone has it easier in different ways.  So let’s stop bashing each other, try to be more sympathetic and empathetic.  It would make the world a better place.