Posts Tagged ‘soldier’

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!!


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

Tramatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

With the untimely death of actress Natasha Richardson, I thought it was a good time to let you know that March is Tramatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. 

Tramatic Brain Injury (TBI) has been a new term that has been associated with head injuries of military members.  Well, at least, that is when I started hearing about it.  Many people didn’t know the term until Bob Woodruff, ABC New Reporter, suffered TBI in Taji, Iraq while embedded with the US Army 4th Infantry Division.  Because of Mr Woodruff’s unfortunate injuries, he was able to educate the general public on TBI and know, first hand, what soldiers face during their deployments.  In February 2007, Mr Woodruff was reporting again for ABC with the documentary “To Iraq and Back”.  (You can read about the documentary here.)  Mr Woodruff has also become a great supporter of the troops with the Bob Woodruff Foundation

While I am saddened at the death of Ms Richardson and Mr Woodruff’s injuries, their tragedies have brought the attention to injuries that our troops suffering repeatedly.  They say that every cloud has a silver lining, maybe this silver lining will bring better research and medical advancements that will help our soldiers and others that suffer from TBI.

For more information on TBI, you can check out this link at

Military Family in a Civilian Town

Most of the time, our family, lives in a military town. And while my husband is in the Army, we have lived on a Naval base and our next duty station will be near an Air Force base. It is not uncommon for my husband’s military job to take him to unit’s that work in a joint military fashion. But this is the first time, since our marriage, that I’ve been living outside of a military community.

One thing that I have noticed is that, even though no one talks against the military itself, the war seems farther away here. In military towns you have the constant reminder that someone’s loved one is deployed. The local news has daily segments on the military “heroes” among us (Personally, my husband hates being called a hero. He says, he’s just doing his job.) and there are signs welcoming home a soldier almost on every block.   Another thing that I’ve observed is that more flags seem to be flown in military communities then those communities that are farther removed from our way of life.  It makes me wonder why the flag is not flown by more of us just to say, “Yes I’m an American and darn proud to be”! 

I also get, what I call, is the “pity look” when I tell someone that my husband is in the Army.  It’s like, “Oh, you poor thing”.  Then I am always asked, “Has he ‘had’ to go to Iraq?”  The look and the question always make me chuckle inside.  I don’t pity myself.  I am very proud of my husband and his chosen career.  And if he did go to Iraq (most soldiers have) it was because it’s his job.  I guess I’m just amazed how differently people view me and my husband in the civilian world. 

There are also the observations of my oldest daughter.  She’s seven and in a new school for the first time since starting elementary school.  I was very excited about her attending this school, because she is attending my elementary school.  The school that I LOVED!!!!  The school that molded me in my early education years.  The school that still has teachers that I had there and where we know the secretaries because the are neighbors.  I expected her to love this school as much as I did, but she doesn’t.  As a matter of fact, I hear almost daily how she wants to go back to her old school.  When I ask why, she’s told me that the school has lots of mean and bullying kids.  That they have no fun in class, it’s all work (she’s in the first grade, there should be some fun).  My daughter is a very social gal and they are not letting her in.  This is frustrating to her and heartbreaking to me!  I think most of this stems from this area not being as transient as military towns.  For some reason, they don’t know how to let a stranger in.  When I went to school there, I remember two ‘new’ kids in the five years I was at that school.  I believe it’s just a learning curve that will not be met with the lack of moving around in the area. 

Overall, we are trying to take all of these changes as learning experiences.  I try to have educated conversations with the folks that I meet that my husband’s job isn’t as bad as they imagine and that I do fine when my husband is gone, just as they would be/are fine when their spouse goes on a business trip.  As for my kids, it’s a good lesson that not everyone is kind and that sometimes, it’s harder to make friends then we thought.  Hopefully this will lead to them being better people and be more accepting of others in whatever situation they meet.