Guest post by Megan at To Love a Soldier
I wake up to the shrill sound of that horribly annoying ring and I smile. It is 6 a.m. and he is calling. “Good afternoon! How is your day so far?” There is no noise on the other end.
“Please work, please work, please work,” I think to myself.
Then I hear it, a voice that has become all too familiar to me, “The call could not be completed. Please try again later.” I jump out of bed and begin to pull up the sheets, flatten out the comforter and smooth over the coverlet. I grab the throw pillows from the empty side of the bed when the phone rings again.
“Hello?” I say, truly asking. White noise. “Hello?” I ask again knowing there won’t be an answer.
I touch “end call” and place the remainder of the pillows in their places. I head into the bathroom, start the water and place the phone next to the shower, it rings one more time. “Hello?” I ask again.
Static. I put the phone on the hamper lid and step into the steam.
The way I see it, Military spouses have two choices when our loved one is deployed: pull up the covers over our head or smooth out the comforter. A year is a long time — and this is how long my husband will be gone from myself and our two boys. For them, for me and for him, I choose to get out of bed.
There is so much that goes into a day when you are the mother of a two-year-old and a nine-month-old and all of this becomes so much greater when your husband is in Kandahar. My focus is on these things: keeping this family strong and together and helping fellow military wives do the same.
There are many things we can do to make the time go by faster, to make the homecoming seem closer. I try to focus on what can be done and what must be done to thrive in this very special life. It can be overwhelming, it can be stressful, it can be heart-breaking; but it can be so incredibly rewarding and full of joy.
It is easy to get lost in the struggle, to become broken in the battle and to grow tired of the heart-break. But each day brings us closer and each day can make us stronger. Here is how I do it:
It is quite possibly the most important step of each day along this journey. And I don’t mean wake up at 8 a.m. and lie in bed waiting for him to call and then maybe go watch TV and eat a bowl of cereal. Seriously, wake up! My number one goal is to wake up before my children because if I wake up after them my entire day changes.
You should know that I am not a morning person. I am a triple-shot-venti-give-me-as-much-espresso-as-you got-if-you-want-me-to-speak-clearly kind of person! But I cannot tell you how much better I feel each day if I am up and showered before my kids start babbling or my son sits on the potty still wearing his pj’s (forgetting that all too important step, yet again!).
And if I get to wake up to the sound of my soldier’s voice, it is already a blessed day. But if I stay in bed and wait for that phone call, I could be waiting for a long time.
Send an Email
I know, I know. How technology-dependent have we become? Well, very. And at this point, I don’t answer emails, mainly because I probably only have a couple minutes (if that) before my kiddos are up and moving like they’ve had three shots of espresso and because I don’t want people to begin to think that I will be up and ready to answer their questions at 6 a.m. every morning.
I check my email for one reason: to see if he sent me a message. If he did, he is probably frustrated with the phone system and apologizing for the call not going through (as though it is his fault at all). If he didn’t I know that his plate is even fuller than usual so I email him a few encouraging words, an “I love you” and a “stay safe” and log out.
Enter the Craziness
Yup, there’s my two-year-old, sitting on the potty, pants on, smiling. Luckily, since I have been up and showered, I catch him in time. Pants down, diaper off, M&M looming before him and I hear the babbling in the other room. I open the door and there is my 9-month-old, standing in his crib laughing at me. I wish my husband could see that smile.
This is important for me because there are 18 soldiers (other than my own) who have their families depend on me to be their link to them during this deployment. Their parents, their spouses, their children, their fiancees, all have my information if they need me. I do not, for a moment, take that responsibility lightly.
I check to see if any questions have come up and I answer them quickly through an email if appropriate or a phone call depending on the time and taking into account the four different time zones there are family members in. This will bring me into perhaps one of the most important things for a Military Wife to remember…
Reach Out for Support
We cannot get through this alone. Okay fine, you can, if you want to be mediocre, if you want to just make it through and if you want to burn out somewhere down the line. But to be a strong support to my soldier, to be a good mother to our children, to take care of myself, I need to recognize that support is nothing but good.
I can only speak for the Army as far as personal experience, but there are so many incredible resources at our disposal during deployments. There are so many people who can help along the way — to do the simple things or to manage the hard things.
Every Army post has an MWR and ACS building/center that can be a major life-line for a military spouse. Use them! I cannot stress this enough. Any welcome center on a military installation can direct you to this building or center and when you enter you will find a plethora of information and people to help you to understand it. (Army OneSource is the online version).
This is also a great way to know what amazing free shows, deals and events are being offered for military families in your area. My children saw Disney on Ice: Toy Story 3 free because of information like this! You won’t know about it if you don’t reach out.
Set a Goal
Deadlines make everything go by so much faster and to have a deadline for something other than when your soldier will return home keeps your mind focused on other things. Many women run marathons, begin blogging, go back to school or volunteer.
To volunteer in the military community has been one of the most fulfilling things in my life. To support those in the same situation and to find support in them does nothing but strengthen the spirit.
Make Time Everyday for Daddy
My children have so many reminders of their Daddy. We aren’t able to Skype right now, so my husband has not seen our boys in about two months. But our boys have a Hallmark book that holds his voice, video recordings of him reading stories, a doll that is a likeness of him and each has a stuffed animal with his voice telling him goodnight.
Everyday we go through pictures, watch videos, talk about him and keep him present. This may be one of the most difficult things to juggle. We are like single parents when our soldiers are away — but at the same time we aren’t.
We are constantly trying to keep our soldiers part of their children’s lives and it can be so stressful. As a friend pointed out, it can make it difficult to enjoy the moments they are missing because we are constantly videoing, snapping pictures, taking notes and trying to keep them up-to-speed.
Let Him Know About Today
Each night I email my soldier with what went on that day and what amazing things are children did. I try to describe it as best as I can for him. This is a double-edged sword: I know he wants to know these things so very much but I also know how much it hurts him to know that he is missing these moments.
My son has crawled, sat up, pulled up and began to try to walk; when my soldier left he was rolling. When he returns, my son will be running.
I tell him about myself, too: what I did, what I hoped to do the next day. I also tell him how much I love him and how proud I am. I do this each day and I will continue to.
Make Time for You
I said how important and stressful it is to keep “daddy” present everyday. But it can be so very tiring, and it is so easy to get caught up in it. So everyday, when you put your children down to sleep, when the world has slowed for a moment, take that instant and breathe.
I write to my boys or I simply sit still. It is amazing the amount of emotions that run through the body if we sit still for a moment when they are gone. And I still say to take that moment and feel it. I do not think we should wallow in our heartache but I do think we should acknowledge it. To be present in it for a time is healthy, to overcome it is empowering. To hurt when they are gone does not make us weak, but to only hurt when they are gone will make us broken.
Read a book, find a blog of a military wife who lets you know that we all feel how you feel. We all hurt how you hurt. We all fear what you fear. Be empowered by the strength that exists within the band of sisters that surround you. Reboot. Recharge. Relax! You cannot be Mommy and Daddy everyday if you don’t.
I love this life. I miss my husband but I am so very proud of him. I want our children to be proud of him, too. If they see me sulk while their daddy is away, if they grow up with that image in their head, they will only remember that. They will not remember the pride, the love and the support.
I want them to understand the importance of his job as they age. I have to set the example by my actions as they grow. What our young children think of their fathers rests on our shoulders. There is so much we should do, everyday, to make sure that image is the same thing we see.
Stay strong. Stay committed. Persevere!
Megan is an Army Wife to a wonderful soldier currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan for a 12-month tour. She seeks to strengthen those around her, encourage those she’s never met and enlighten anyone who doesn’t understand this life. She supports the men and women in uniform with everything in her and looks forward to the next time she will see her husband marching in formation when they welcome him home next summer. Megan blogs at To Love a Soldier.
I really needed to read this right now! My husband is leaving for Afghanistan soon and I have been really struggling with this impending deployment for many reasons. This post helped put my mind at ease. Your words and tips have given me some things to consider and encouragement to push through the rough days. I’m really interested in reading your blog!
Like others have commented, although I am not a military wife, my husband travels a lot. I appreciated the reminder to keep my head up – for my own sake, and for my two-year-old and four-month old. I want them to know it’s a blessing to have a Daddy who loves them SO much and who is blessed with a job that provides so well for his family.
I have enjoyed sending care packages to soldiers in the past (both to a family member and using the anysoldier.com website). You have reminded me that I need to get doing that again! I love to support our breave men and women who sacrifice so much for others. Thanks for the reminder and the inspiration. You and your husband are in my thoughts and prayers.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU for doing that. I cannot tell you how good that is! There are so many young, single soldiers who don’t get the same support that married spouses do and that is a great way to help!
A tremendously well-written article. You spoke so candidly to heart issues that military wives face. Can’t tell you how moved I was as I read. My husband just retired as a military chaplain. Wish chaplain offices everywhere had a copy of this to hand out. You are a gifted writer.
I cannot imagine how much your husband carried as a chaplain! Thank him for his service for me.
And thank you for your kind words.
Thanks for your story! It was just what I needed to read tonight to remind me I am not alone in this. My husband is deployed for the 3rd time to Iraq and we are only into our 2nd month of the year long tour. We have one child and he is a teenager now so he is where he can help out but I have spent many a day feeling like I was both the Mom and Dad and didn’t have the strength to even make one more decision even when it was just what I was going to make for dinner. My friends and family around me are what get me thru everyday. Good Luck to your family and thank you for your story!
Prayers for your husband. You are not alone!
This entry is very encouraging to me in so many ways. I am not the wife of a soldier but I am currently seperated from my husband and for the first time I am a single mom. It has been hard and more difficult than I ever could have imagined. In a lot of ways my situation is the same. While I am not worried about the safety of my husband in the war – I face every day unsure of the dreaded D word. Life must go on though and my daughter needs to see her mom as a strong and capable woman who isnt paralyzed by heartbreak.
On the other hand, I am a proud sister and daughter to soldiers who have been deployed so I know the concerns all of you have. May God bless all of your soldiers and bring them all home safely.
Thanks for an encouraging post!
Thank you, Tara. I will be praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Stay strong for you daughter but please stay strong for you too!
Hey ladies, from a military brat that then married a military man. My family and I have done five years of deployment and schools in the past 8. And as I read all of these post I feel compelled to share a part of my story. I did many of the things shared in this post to keep our life running while he was gone. It takes a strong woman to run a family alone, but when your man comes home make sure you make him know he is needed. I just continued to run my household when he came home and it made him feel like we didn’t need him. We have relearned to work together and have a happy normal family now. Just never dreamed I had made him feel that. Maybe this will help at least one family not have that same problem.
I have met many families that have had this same problem – the transition back is different for everyone but almost always a little difficult. This will be our first transition back with children. Thanks for your story and what you said is so very true and so very important to realized. I have watched others struggle with this and have thought about it a lot. God bless you and your military man!
Julie P says
As I read I had tears in my eyes. All you write about I have felt and pretty much experienced. Last year I went through a pregnancy alone and had to deliver my baby girl without my husband by my side while he served in Afghanistan. Less than a year later he was gone again and has missed her birthday, the holidays (which really arent as important as baby milestones), her walking, first words, etc. I worry that she wont remember him because she has changed and grown so much. Thanks for your words. Sometimes we forget to encourage ourselves and is best when we hear it from others.
You should read the “littlest steps” and “on his mind” on my blog. I am RIGHT there with you. But something I have seen from my children is how incredibly resilient they are. I have talked to so many friends who have been there and gotten through it and they said how amazing and unbelievable the way kids react is. They just take up from where they left off. I know that most likely my youngest won’t recognize his daddy when he comes home … but he will not long after!
I enjoyed reading your article and the comments. Thanks to everyone serving. My husband has been in the USMC for 21 years now and still going. Just wanted to add that our churches have always been a great place for support as well. There were always people willing to fix things around the house, babysit, just talk, etc.
I have found great support in my church community as well! Thank your marine for his long service!
Your story was what I needed to hear today. My husband is leaving mid February and I will be at home with our 1 & 8 year old daughters and I’m going to miss him so much. You had so many great ideas, an uplifting and realistic approach to the day and I am so glad your story was posted!
I am too, Heather! ; )
Prayers to you and your husband.
WOW! I needed to read this post. I just found out a little over a week ago that my husband will be sent to Afghanistan for 6 months. He’s prior military, but deploying as a contractor. I’m due with my 6th baby not long after he leaves, my other kids being 7 and younger. There are moments I’m not sure I can do this and then there are moments I know I have to and I will because I just have to…::sigh:: Anyway, thanks, I’ll be visiting your blog frequently…
Thank you, Lisa, and thank your husband. Stay strong … one day at a time. Congrats on the baby on the way!
Thank you for your wonderful attitude! Thank you for supporting your husband and others here at home. My dad was in the Navy and gone on sea tours. Thank you for sacrificing for us!
Thank you so very much, Danielle!
Lorena Popelka says
My goodness, this article could have been written by myself. My husband is deployed, a soldier in the Ohio Army National Guard, for a year to Afghanistan. We have two children, a 3 year old boy and an 8 month old baby girl. My husband left when she was just 6 wks. The video on Skype hardly ever works, and as such he has not seen his children in almost 3 months, save for the DVD I send him monthly filled with pictures and videos of them. When he left, our daughter was a banana slug, when he returns, she’ll be walking and talking. It really puts things into perspective.
Getting out of bed is imperative. My alarm goes off every day at 6:34 am, there are no holidays, no days off, and if it weren’t for my son’s preschool and soccer activities, my weekdays and weekends would blur into an unending Groundhog’s Day.
Support is huge. Being National Guard, we are not located close to a base or even his unit, so we depend heavily on neighbors, good friends, and the random kindness of strangers. I will freely admit it was very hard to ask for help for a long time.
Looking so forward to 5 months from now when my husband–my hero–will be home once again. I know my kids cannot wait either. I just wanted to say thank you for such a touching article.
Thank you so very much and thank you husband for me! My uncle is active guard and it is different. That is one thing we are blessed to have on my side of things – our resources are much easier to get to but are useless if people don’t ask. I am so glad you have good people around you to support you! Thank you again!
Megan- I cannot imagine what your life must be like. Know that your husband is in our prayers and you & your family are in our prayers as well. We are thankful not only for the sacrifice your huband is making, but also the sacrifice you are making.
Thank you, Julie!
Mara ~ Kosher on a Budget says
Bless your heart, you really made me cry. You are so strong, which I’m sure must get annoying to hear all the time. Thank you so much for YOUR service to our country.
I lived in Israel for 12 years with my husband. All the men there do reserve duty, so DH would be gone for 4 weeks a year. Those were long and painful weeks for me, so I can only imagine how difficult a year or more must be.
Thank you, Mara! And it does not annoying … it makes me want to strive for it, be reminded of it, and to share the strength.
My hubby is currently on a 365 tour as well…although we are on the downward side. Only about two months to go (hopefully). Megan I can’t agree with you more about getting out of bed before the kids and using the support systems that are in place for the families. This year has been hard for our little family and especially on my husband who has missed another first year of life for one of our kids. But, without friends and our faith it would be so much harder. I just keep taking it one day at a time and cherish every phone call or email. Stay strong!
Thank you, Erin!
Thanks for this.
I’m a wife to a National Guard soldier and my younger sister is in the Air National Guard. Iowa currently has the most soldiers deployed since WW2!
I had just found out that we were expecting our first and a month later, the order came up for an 18 month Iraq tour. They left in April 06 and came home Sept 07. I was about 6 months pregnant when they left and our son was 14 months old when they returned. They were still here in the US when our boy was born and was able to be home with us for a week.
I LIVED for telephone calls, carried my cell EVERYWHERE, camped out by the computer for an email…wrote letters, mailed packages every week. It helped me to get through.
The worst part was the communication blackouts. Being in an aviation unit, every time I would hear of an aircraft being shot down/crashing/etc, my heart would stop. An aircraft from Iowa was shot down 3 years ago (anniversary a few days ago) and there was nothing being said/told/etc. Until that familiar number came up on my caller id, I was between prayer and tears. God brought us through.
Hubby’s unit is currently in Kosovo, but due to medical issues, my husband is gone. They’ll be home in just 2 1/2 months and I know he still feels the conflict of not being there with them. Godspeed 2/147 AVN!
I will be praying for his unit. God be with them.
I am so inspired by the strength and grace that pours out of your heart and into your writing. There aren’t words enough to express my gratitude for all of the sacrifices made by your family for our country. Thank YOU!!!
Jamie, I can tell you to a military spouse or to a service member, there are no better words that those two. Thank you!
Military Wives are part of a family. When my husband deployed to Afghanistan I thought I was alone, but then realized the other wives/girlfriends are going through the same exact roller coaster of emotions I was at the exact same time.
I’m a marine’s wife and blogged about ways to save money during a deployment – http://growingyoursavings.com/2010/06/04/tips-to-save-money-during-a-deployment/
Lisa, you are so very right! We are all connected like no other community I have ever experienced.
Thank you, Megan, and all the military wives out there, who selflessly serve us and our country! We pray for you and are standing with you–blessings on you!
Thank you, KD.
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
My husband spent the past 4 years in a state-side deployment and while we did get to see him most nights, there were times when he was gone up to 4 weeks at a time and we never knew what his schedule would be from one day to the next… just living was key for me to get through the trials and hardships – and it made it easier for my boys.
Thank you husband for his service from me, please!
A huge thank you to all the military and their families. We could never know or understand the full sacrifice that is made!
Thank you for the sacrifice that you and your family make. We appreciate all the services your husband provides for our nations. We are proud and extremely grateful for his services to our nation that comes at a huge price and sacrifice. May God watch over you all and bring our guys home safe.
THANK YOU for your prayers and kind words.
Thanks for sharing! We’re a Navy family gearing up for a sea tour. Last time he did a 6 month cruise, we had 1 child (born 1 month into the deployment, so he didn’t even get to meet our baby boy until he was 5 months old!). We have 4 kids now, so its going to be a whole ‘nother ball game. Trying to get back into the mindset of daddy being gone, but I definitely am looking forward to the comradarie and support that happens when the ship is out. There’s nothing like it! + God bless you all. +
The camaraderie IS like no other!
Awww, I absolutely LOVED this post! I too am an Army Brat, and I know just how hard it was on my mother. And just how hard it is on the kids….it was horrible! But my mom didnt handle things the way you do, so great job!! Your children and husband are very blessed! Praying for his safe return!
Thank you so very much.
Martha Artyomenko says
I am not a wife of a deployed man, but this post applies to me in so many ways too! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you soldiers, wives and families for your service to our great country.
Thank you for sharing! My hubby is in the Army and we have been through 3 year-long deployments. His 4th is looming ever so closely within the next couple months. I am trying to mentally prepare myself for what is to come. I have done it before and I can do it again. I am determined to THRIVE and make my marriage and children thrive as well. Deployments can be absolutely crippling(been there done that) but you are right… we need to acknowledge the pain and sadness, allow ourselves to be sad and cry when we need to, but then wipe the tears off, stand up and soldier on. For our soldier, for our children and for ourselves. I love this life, every difficult and wonderful moment of it.
THRIVE is my favorite word! ; )
I enjoyed reading this and am farwarding to all my fellow military wifes. It helps to know that other people are going through the same thing.
We are all in this together!
What a well written post. Although I’m not a military wife, I was (I guess still am) and Army “brat”. I often look back at how my mom managed everything in our dad’s absences and I’m amazed. Many people don’t realize the toll that can take. Prayers for your husband’s safe return, and for strength for you in managing all that comes your way.
Thank you, Tara!
Wendi S says
THNAK YOU for this! My husband is a full-time cop (works nights) and part-time youth minister so I often feel like a single parent. I know my role right now is not truly as hard as a single parent or a military parent, but I still learned much from your article. The main thing I needed to hear was that I can view this as a time to support my husband and his work, or I can just be impatient about when he’s going to switch to days, etc. The best line for me was “What our young children think of their fathers rests on our shoulders.”
I am so very happy it helped!
This was great, I sent the link to a dear friend who is a Marine Wife. They’ve actually only seen each other for about 2 months total since being engaged and getting married last March, her husband is scheduled to come back just after their 1 year anniversary and I can see through her what a challenge and reward it can be. I know she will love your site, thanks for sharing with us!
Thank you for sharing it with her!
I think the area in which I struggle the most is staying vulnerable when my husband is gone instead of going into survival mode or ‘single mom’ mode- so that when he re-enters into our home he still feels like he is a part of it and is needed.
The transition back is always hard … but there are so many resources to prep you for that too! Check them out. I rolled my eyes at first, but seriously, check out military onesource!
Thanks for reminding me to appreciate my husband who is home everyday. Thank you!
ITA I teared up at the tell him you love him and are proud of him part every chance you get. Everyone needs to hear that.
My DH works a whole mile from home and nearly always walks in the door at 5:12 p.m. like clockwork. Sometimes he doesn’t like work much, but nobody there is trying to kill him!
Thanks for all you family does.
Thank you, both!
I just want to say that is the best blog post I have ever read. I have tried often to put what you have said into words and I know I have never done it so well. In fact, I am sending this to military wives I know that still have active duty husbands. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and clear-minded thoughts!
Thank you so much, Christy!
Julie Johnston@Flitterbugs says
I am not a soldier’s wife…..but this is one of my most favorite guest posts of yours….ever!
I am so glad, Julie!!
Blaire Ruch says
I wholeheartedly agree! Thanks for helping me to get a little glimpse into a military wife’s day. I will be praying for you, your families, and your soldiers!
Thank you, Blaire!
Emma K says
Great article! I am completely with you on the Kandahar area.
It is very easy when our husbands are deployed to overextend ourselves. I think it is important to have time to pamper yourself and know all the great resources that are available. I have trustworthy friends who I can swap childcare with when I need a break, childcare on post is full, or have a meeting in the evening.
It’s important to be involved with FRG and your chapel/church but to realize that it’s also okay to say no, to not overextend yourself.
To not overextend is VITAL! Sometimes you have to say no. You have to take care of yourself and your family first so that you can take care of anyone else.
I am an Army wife as well. My hubby is leaving to go back to Afghanistan in 2 days to finish his final 7 months there. It is hard, the days are long, but each day done is a day closer to him finally come home for good. I tell our 5 kids this every night. Thank you all.
That is what I also think at the end of every day. One day closer. One day at a time.
Thank you and God bless you and keep your husband safe until you are reunited! What a witness and blessing you are to many women in similar shoes. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Melissa. I cannot wait until that day.
kathy d says
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all our military and their families!! I can’t imagine the sacrifices made on both ends. God bless you and keep you all!!
There is nothing better to say than that!
Thanks for this. My husband served 4 years in the Navy and did 2 deployments. The first one we had no kids, but the second one oldest was 6 months old when we left. I know how hard it is and you have to keep things going for you and your kids. I think being the spouse is one of the hardest jobs there is out there. It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me what I went through. I want to thank you husband for serving . One of the reasons my husband got out was he could not take being away from our daughter. I am glad God gave us the experience it has made us so much stronger. God bless you and I will be praying for you and your family.
Thank you so very much. Thank your sailor for his service.
The support system is so important. I’ve been a navy wife for 10.5 years and been through several deployments with more ahead. The first with kids I didn’t ask for help and by the time he got home and I had been by myself with 3 young girls for so long I thought I was about to go insane, but this last time was so much better. I knew I would be having a baby early on in the deployment and set about finding people to help me and have found great people I trust to help me. It made such a difference. Even though I was by myself with 4 kids I was not exhausted and frazzled when he got home. I didn’t ask for help all the time, but knowing I had people I could call and who did step in when needed. And now to our surprise we will have baby # 5 shortly before the next deployment so we’ll see how this next one goes!
You must be one strong lady! My sister has 5 little ones and I cannot imagine being in your shoes. I am so glad you reach out for the support around you! Stay strong and thank you for your husband’s service and your sacrifice.
Thank you, Megan, for this post! We have survived deployment-life three times now – 1 to Afghanistan, and 2 to Iraq (both of which occurred in the “1st year” of our two youngest children’s lives). I truly, truly can appreciate your post, as well as identify with the heart that goes behind it! God bless you and your soldier!
God bless you and yours!! Thank you for your kind, kind words.
Beautifully written…..brought me to tears. I am not a military wife, and I can’t even pretend to imagine what that life would be like. I do have 2 young children, and my husband travels for work every once in a while. I know how much we all miss him for those very brief few days. I can’t imagine him being gone for a whole year at a time. Your post has given me a glimpse into just how hard it is for military families. Thank you!
It is most definitely hard … but an experience and a life like no other. Thank you!
One gigantic ((hug)) from one Army wife to another.
What a beautiful account of your life for those of us who aren’t familiar with it. My God bless you and your family, and thank you for your sacrifice.
Thank you so very much, Amy.
Me plus 3 says
That is an excellent post. It was very much the description of what a day in the life of a military wife entails. It is not an easy life at all. And Megan sounds like she is very successful at keeping it all together at home!
My husband was killed in action in March of 2003 in Iraq. I was 7.5 months pregnant with our third. Three weeks after his funeral I had a newborn, a 2 year old, and a seven year old as they all were born in April/May. I found myself to be in a very unique position being a younger widow with very small children. But I was able to find support online through a website and then later, in my community as a support group was formed.
Cristina, it sounds like you may need some support that is similiar to “active duty” support the wife of a soldier/Marine/etc usually finds. Perhaps there is a way to connect with the other wives of contracters? Perhaps your husband could help from that end by talking to his co-workers. You are probably not alone……I thought I would never find a forum where the average age for a widow is like 25, but I did! Or start the group yourself! It is easy in this age of technology to get information out there!!!
You brought tears to my eyes. Honor to your soldier, prayers for you and your three little ones.
Me plus 3 says
Thank you Megan. I appreciate that.
A reporter with USA Today asked me once how hard it was to raise children alone…..I pointed out that there were thousands of very strong military wives doing it every single day.
I admire your day and your obvious love and devotion to your family! <3
Emma K says
Bless you and your family…
I have attended many ceremonies this last year for families of fallen soldiers, it is heartbreaking to see the young children or those who will not know their father in person. But it is great that their father’s memory can live on through family members and you are forever part of the military family. I hope that you are getting lots of support, love and hugs.
Tovah C. says
I know how you feel….my husband did a 15 month deployment to Iraq. Thanks for sharing the look inside a military family’s life! =)
Thank you, Tovah! My husband also served in Iraq.
Just wanted to say thanks. I have no military experience or connections and totally take those who serve and the services they perform for granted. What a wonderful, beautiful reminder of the sacrifice made – not only by those who serve, but by their families – to keep us safe. Thank you.
Thank you, Randi!
Thanks for a great and encouraging story. As a wife of an Army National Guard Soldier with a heart to serve I often fear what deployment would bring to my heart. It was wonderful to read how well Megan keeps everything together and encourages others. Thanks for the great post today!!! I will be checking out her website for more tips and encouragement.
Thank you, Nicole! I am glad you will be checking it out!
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the those serving in the military and their families. This post also strikes home with those of us who have a spouse that is often away from home due to jobs in far away places. It is a difficult position to be in but with the right support we can make it until they are home again. Thanks for a wonderful post.
Thank you for your “thank you” to those who serve. They can never hear it enough.
Kate @ The Shopping Mama says
Thanks so much for sharing this post, Crystal, and Megan for writing it. My husband is currently deployed for a year – 4 months down! – and it’s been a challenge, to say the least. He didn’t deploy with a unit, though, so I really don’t have the military community support. In fact, I moved my kids and I across the country to live near family for the year in an attempt to have more support. It’s been okay, but every day brings new challenges. Some days I feel like super mom and think we’ll be fine. And then there are days like today when I’m counting the days until my husband comes home…
My husband deployed with a small special team that lives and works with Afghans. We also are not with a large unit (pretty much) and I TOO moved home for this deployment. Support is a necessity and this was the best place for me to get it this time around.
Emma K says
Have you checked out the resources on operationwearehere.com It is a great resource for military families or those who are wanting to support the military. I have found resources to send to my husband for him to pass out to his troops. They have links to coloring pages for different holidays/seasons for you to print for you kids to mail to their dad (or mom). It is such a great website!
I have never seen this!! Thank you for sharing it!
Emma K says
They post links to new resources on their facebook page as well.
This post reminded me of when my husband was deployed to Iraq. Couldn’t get through it without crying.
My husband was deployed last year and I completely agree!
How is it you post article when I really need them???
From a Marine wife currently surviving our 3rd deployment, reaching out for help and support is one of the best things you can do to keep your sanity.
Crystal and Megan I thank you.
Semper Fi to all!
Thank your Marine for me.
I will when I email him tonight. 🙂 Thank your Solider for me. And thank you for your continued support of your Solider.
As competitive as our men our, because of the different branches; there are 2 things that breaks that, serving together and when a fellow American troop is killed in action. Respect is shown on the both the family and the service member’s part.
This is a truly amazing lifestyle, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Haha! My grandfather was a marine. I have heard it all.
And you are so very right about a fallen service member. The overwhelming support and respect shown is always overpowering. A few months back, I attended the memorial of a fallen soldier with a marine’s fiancee. There is no division as far as I am concerned.
The sacrifice is the same.
Thank you so much for your writing. My husband isn’t deployed, but is in AIT, he just finished Basic. It helped so much to know that even though I am alone with 3 kids every day, others feel the same. It really helps to know we are not alone. I have marked your blog as a favorite and will read it daily. Thank you for your blessing 🙂
I saw your email (at least I think it is you!)
This was an awesome post and so true of what we go through. My boys were one and two when our soldier had to leave the first time. We talked about daddy everyday and why he was gone. I am proud to at now that my eight and nine year olds are some of the most patriotic kids in our community and it makes me proud to see them ao proud of their daddy and their country.
My two-year-old recognizes our flag and always points it out. Makes me so proud to hear him say it each time!
Thank you for this post! We’ve been deployment free for 3 years on Valentine’s Day…..our daughter turns 3 this week though. Yep, I was preggo with our first during his last deployment. Talk about hard. She was less than 3 weeks old when he made it home. We’re a dual military family (or were, at least) and have been through many many times apart in the last 3 years and it’s not always easier even if they’re not deployed. You still have to wake up and make time for keeping your family together no matter where everyone is! Whether it’s Mommy or Daddy gone, it’s just something that everyone has to get through!
I have an unexplainable respect for the dual military family. Thank you both.
Mandy B says
My husband is currently also on Kandahar. Actually, right now he is on a fob somewhere, and at $5 a minute on a SAT phone, we arent’ able to speak much. He is a contractor, supporting our troops, he isn’t able to serve in the military any more, but is a proud veteren of the USMC. He is responsible for the electronics in the trucks that seek out roadside bombs. We have 3 children, 12/9/20mos. There are days when getting out of bed are the last thing I want to do. But I do agree, if my girls beat me out of bed, my day is off. I keep detailed schedules, and notes, email is a lifeline, as is Skype when available or when working. It is a delicate balance, of not letting him know you are stressed, not falling into trying to handle it all yourself, because then he feels like he’s not truly apart of it all. Then dealing with the disconnection that does occur with the kids, and his feeling of complete disconnection too. There is a fear they don’t share, the reality they see, the fear they do share, and then you get to decipher it all and as a wife and psychologist calm thier fears, reassure there homecoming, censor what little news we do get for the girls, but not completely sugar coat it too. There is also the uneasy feeling you get when you are on the phone and they sirens go off. There is the holding it together when the day(s) go by w/ no email, or call, and you have to try to sugar coat your own thoughts, so that you don’t wind up back in bed drowning in worry. because, there is still soccer, bball, gymnastics, and cheerleading, homework and band practice and three little girls whose whole life depends on you, and someone else’s family (along with you) is depending on him.
Thank him for his past and CONTINUING service to this country. Deciphering their fear that they so often try to cover up is most certainly a challenge. Everything you wrote is something I have felt, feel, or will feel. Thank you!
My husband is in Iraq. As a contractor now. It is just as hard as if he was active duty, and the hardest thing is the judgment I get that he’s not “really” serving. I just get up every day and ignore those people. But there is no support for people like me.
Lynette @ Cleverly Simple says
Thank you for your sacrifice and service! I’m sorry that you feel ignored. I, for one, think that anyone giving up time with their family to serve our country is a true hero!
I am so very sorry that this is what it is like for you! Thank you husband for me. My husband has three contractors that work with him and all of their families are in contact with me. I am truly thankful for the support they give my husband and his men. They sacrifice their time and safety too. I hope he comes home to you soon.
God bless all of our military and their families. I pray for you all every night.
Thank you so very much for the prayers. That is one of the best things you can offer.
Lynette @ Cleverly Simple says
THANK YOU so much for your sacrifice and service for our country. My brother is set to deploy this summer. I know what a call he has on his heart and it makes me so grateful to live in a country with husbands, brothers, sisters and friends who serve this great nation and the people of this world. God Bless.
Prayers for your brother and your family. I am too filled with that same gratitude for this country.
I just wanted to offer my support to you as a fellow Army wife. My husband just got back from Kandahar in February, so I know the feeling well. I didn’t have children at the time, but am pregnant now so will have them for the next go round! I also wanted to let other spouses know that another resource the Army offers during deployments is 16 hours of free childcare at the on-post CDC while your spouse is gone (and for a certain number of months after reintegration-I think it is 2 or 3 months). It is completely free, you just have to be registered. Thanks for the article and for letting people know a little bit about what it is like as a military family!
Thank you for the support, Lauren. Our first deployment we did not have children. WOW is it different when you do! GREAT reminder of the childcare! That is so very helpful for deployed families. Helps to give Mommy some of that “relax” time she needs!
God Bless you, your soldier, and your soon-to-be Army Brat!
I found out the hard way that you can only utilize this childcare if you get all recommended vaccines. If you choose to delay or forego any, you cannot register your children with CYS. Unfortunately, that meant all childcare for us was out-of-pocket. It’s a nice benefit, though, if you have no health concerns that cause you to delay or skip certain vaccines.
Cathy, I don’t know WHERE you are but there may be one way around it. Some posts are beginning to offer OFF-POST childcare at approved sitters for discounted rates at least. It isn’t free but it is something. I do not remember what the new program is called (it just started in the last few years) but if you are at a large post the ACS should know whether or not they offer it. I do not believe they have to be registered with CYS for it but I could be wrong.