Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Love of Dirt

This past summer I have come to fall in love with the dirt. As a child growing up, every spring I watched my parents work in our yard, I don't remember much from our first 2 house, but the one they live in now, I can remember watching them go out there and working for hours. At the time I totally didn't get it, but then I just preferred not being outside in the sun.

Now, I get it! There is something satisfying about watching something you plant grow. Perhaps that comes with having a child and watching her grow, I'm not really sure. I can say that watching my sunflowers open a little bit more each day and eating zucchini that I grew is pretty amazing.

The best part is watching Toddler D out there playing in the dirt. She just can't get enough of it! I love that she has taken ownership of our plants and our fledgling garden. She points out the blooms and the new fruits and vegetables, and she absolutely loves harvesting sweet peas and blueberries. Her two favorite things we are growing this year. Next year I think we will plant twice as many sweet peas but we will stagger their planting so that they won't all be ready at the same time. Anything to get my kid eating her veggies!

Thanks mom and dad, for helping instill a love of dirt in me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Harsh Realities

Being a military family we often deal with some pretty harsh realities. Realities like deployments, the fact that people can get hurt, may not come back the same, or may not come back at all. One of the harshest realities is the one where our sacrifices and and sacrifices of our serving spouses just don't seem to mean very much to the country at large. There are parades and commercials for the Wounded Warrior Project, but the every day dealing with PTSD and coming back changed from war is largely dismissed.

This week 2 soldiers that my husband has served with took their own lives. In recent years the numbers for suicides in the military outnumbered the combat deaths. That should be shocking to people, especially to those people who feel that the military as a whole is over-compensated for what they do. (That is a whole other subject which I will address at a later date.)  Our soldiers and veterans feel as thought they have so little support, help, guidance, that they are taking their own lives. One of the soldiers said that "he just didn't feel like he mattered". How incredibly sad is that. He put is life on the line, defending our freedom and all that our country stands for and he felt his life didn't matter?  Of course it mattered, what bothers me is that this country isn't showing that to our troops and their families. Instead we hear constantly that we have too many benefits, that only lazy people who couldn't find a job or get into college serve in the military.  Aside from being degrading, it just simply isn't true.

I am sad for the 2 soldiers who took their lives, I am sad for their families, I am sad for the men and women those soldiers worked with, but mostly I am scared. I am scared because of the frightening trend that can be seen in the sheer multitude of soldiers and veterans who see suicide as their only escape. I want better for them, I want better for my own soldier. We owe them so much more than that!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Warning, stop reading now if you don't want to listen to my whining. It is your choice to read this, don't judge how I feel...

Sometimes I feel, as a military spouse, that when I married someone serving in the armed forces that I lost the right to whine. You see when my husband leaves, for no matter how long I almost feel like if I say that I'm sad he is gone, or I wish he was here, or it is so hard being a single parent, that I'm looked down upon. The crazy thing is that I feel like I'm looked down upon by civilians and military people alike.

The military side because I "signed up for this" and I should just suck it up. Well you know what, yes I did marry a soldier, but my daughter certainly had no say in his job and it is hard to watch her suffer any time he is away, even when it is only 24 hours for a duty shift. Having lived through 2 deployments in her very short life, she thinks any time he doesn't come home for dinner that he has gone to Afghanistan again, and that is just so hard to have to explain, over and over again. My big girl panties are on and I do deal with being a single parent to the very best of my abilities but just because I married someone in the army doesn't mean I have forfeited my right to whine about how hard it is at times.

From the civilian side I feel like people are thinking, well 28 days should be no big deal to you, you've done 2 tours without him. All I can think is "Seriously!?! You whine if you husband is gone for more than an 8 hour shift at work! God forbid you have to do every single thing by yourself, all the time, for months on end!" I'm sorry if I just lived through 9 months of him away and I don't want him to be gone again, and so soon, for any length of time.

Now don't get me wrong, not everyone, or really very many people in my life have ever made me feel this way (they certainly haven't said these words to my face) but I can't stop feeling like I'm not allowed to whine about SSG D being gone. So here I am whining. In my personal space. I hate that my husband is gone, I hate that tomorrow I am going to have to explain to Preschooler D that daddy will be back soon and he isn't in Afghanistan and that he wishes more than anything in the word that he could be home, but sadly he can't.  One day I hope and pray she understands the choices we made for our family but for right now I just need to make sure we are helping her to understand the current day and that she feels as though she is surrounded by love.

Whine done!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


You would think by now that we would be really good at goodbyes, but truth be told, we aren't. I hate saying goodbye, even when I know he won't be gone for too long, but what I hate most is how much goodbyes bother Preschooler D. She gets so confused and doesn't really understand. It really doesn't help that at 3.5 years old her concept of time is practically non-existent beyond right now, 5 minutes ago and 5 minutes from now.

SSG D leaves on Sunday for a month, not even a whole month, but close enough. She knows he is leaving, we have been talking about it and trying to get her ready for it, but I'm just not sure if we are helping or hurting her. This morning SSG D had gone to work as usual and Preschooler D came up to me asking if I could read one of her army books, it is called "Over There" and it is to help small children cope when their parent is deployed.  Then she told me that she was really sad that her daddy was gone. I told her that he was at work for the day but would be home in time for dinner tonight. I'm not looking forward to Sunday when she wakes up and he is gone for 28 days.

We will be video chatting while he is gone and hopefully with the time difference we will be able to have dinner with him every night, just pray that they have good wifi at the hotel he will be in. I will also be trying to keep Preschooler D nice and occupied while he is away.  The busier we are the less time she will have to miss him (at least that is my plan, we shall see how it works).

So, yes, goodbyes suck. In case you were wondering.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I suddenly feel as though I am running out of time. Time with the people I love, time to do what I need to do during the day, time to just sit and be.

I need to do this though. I need to find time to write this.

Dear Dad,

So much has never been spoken between us. I don't think that I have ever truly conveyed to you how much your love, friendship and guidance have meant to me over the years. Even though I don't talk to you every single day, I think of you constantly. I know that if I ever need you for anything you are but a phone call, text message or email away. You have done so much for our family, not just mom, brother and me, but for my family, SSG D and Preschooler D. 

You have provided endless support in our decision to buy a house, you have helped us with our cars, you have helped us build our fence. Every time we have ever needed you, you and mom have been there for us. I honestly don't know what we would do without you.

I was just telling mom today that I haven't had enough time with you as an adult. I want more time to spend with you and get to know you and enjoy your company. Please know how much you are loved and needed.

Mrs. D

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Hardest Job...

Throughout our lives we have lots and lots of different jobs, even if we never applied for them.

When we are first born, our job is to eat, sleep, grow and learn. Oh yeah, and we poop a lot too.  I used to think that this was such an easy job, I mean seriously, your every need, wish and desire are fulfilled by someone else.  Then, after watching my own daughter, I realized just how hard the job truly is, I mean, a baby is completely helpless and dependent on everyone around him/her.  I personally hate feeling helpless and dependent on others, and what's worse is if you are not blessed with people in your life who are truly on top of things, you could end up going hungry and spending a lot of time in wet poopy diapers. Definitely NOT easy!

Our next job is to be a toddler/preschooler, still learning and growing but now with a mind of our own. We are starting to come into our own. We can talk, run, play, sing, go potty on our own, but we still lack a huge amount of control and that is exactly what we want. We get choices, but they are seldom choices that we actually like or want. I mean seriously, I offer my daughter choices all the time, and she seldom EVER wants to do what I actually offer her. I think this job might be one of the hardest. As I watch Toddler D, I can see just how smart and intelligent she is and also how FRUSTRATED she gets because she can't express herself and she is constantly being told no. I hate having to tell her no, but let's face it, kids need boundaries and most times I say no for safety reasons.  It is one of those jobs where she is just able to do enough and knows just enough to be truly dangerous to herself (and to the cat!). 

I can only speak from my own experience for the next sets of jobs here, but there are the school-age years and the pre-teen years. These jobs aren't nearly as difficult as the first two, in my opinion, but I am about 20 years removed from that time of my life. I know my main focus was on school and learning. More choices, beginning to explore true autonomy from parents and beginning to form a personality separate from your family.

The teenage years, now this job is as hard or easy as one makes it. For me it was a pretty easy job, but I was a pretty easy going teenager. I had my first paid job as a teenager and that was an interesting lesson in responsibility.

Next comes college and then the real world, it gets tricky here. There are lots of paths to be taken, but, in theory, if you did well at the first few jobs you held in your life, you should be able to manage at this job. 

Soon comes marriage and the job of being someone's partner. Depending on how long you waited to get married this can actually present quite a challenge. For me, I was used to be autonomous and not having to rely on anyone else. Learning to rely on someone else and share your life is not easy, but once you learn it is so wonderful to have someone else to lean on. 

Next comes parenthood. Holy buckets, this one ranks right up there with being a newborn and a toddler/preschooler. Except this time around you are the responsible one. Who knew that a toddler's temper tantrum could make a grown adult want to throw one in return. Who knew that hearing "mama" 5,762 times in one day could actually make you want to legally change your name to Billy Bob?  But you know what? While this has been one of the hardest jobs I have ever had, it has also been one of the most rewarding. Every day I get to watch my little girl grow and change into the incredible person she is becoming. I get hugs, and kisses and some days she even takes my blood pressure (right now she wants to be a doctor). Best of all a few hours after she has gone to sleep at night I get to sneak into her room at night and re-cover her with a blanket and watch her while she sleeps. Best feeling ever!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Ok, I'm admitting it, out loud, for the whole world...ok, for all four followers of my blog to read, I AM STRUGGLING. This deployment just sucks.  I mean every deployment sucks, but this one seems to suck that much more than the last one, although I am sure I would have said the exact same thing during the last deployment too. This is just not easy.  I hear all the time about how strong and amazing I am, it isn't that I'm strong or amazing, it is just that all most people get to see is the glossy shiny exterior that I show the world. They don't get to see the inside of me that is falling apart and screaming at the top of my lungs to bring my husband home.

It is so hard when people say to me, "well it is only 8 more weeks" or "you are near the finish line". I means seriously?!? Most people freak out if their spouse is gone for more than a day or 2 and mine has been gone for 7 very very long months. I'm not asking for a parade or sympathy or even understanding, since you can't really understand someone's situation until you have lived it, but I wouldn't mind a little common sense and sensitivity. I mean would you ever want to hear, "it's only 8 more weeks?"

I realize that when people make those comments they are not trying to hurt my feelings, they are actually trying to be sympathetic but they are forgetting to put themselves in my shoes first. 8 weeks, or 6 weeks or even 1 day worrying about someone you love in a war zone is like 16 years! I am not sure I can really communicate to anyone just how draining all of this is, especially when you have to put on a happy face every day and pretend that everything is really ok for your little one.

I think the other reason I am struggling is because we have missed so many important dates to us, not that they are necessarily important to anyone else, but they are important to us, and now we are approaching Christmas. I have to say that until Sunday I didn't even want to put up a Christmas tree, I still don't really want to but I remembered that Toddler D's stocking and her Night Before Christmas book are with the tree so we kind of have to get all that stuff down.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas without my hubby here. I am trying to bring the magic for Toddler D, but all of it is gone for me. I don't even want to put up my nutcrackers, and if you are familiar with my HUGE collection, you should realize just what a big deal that is...

Ok, enough of this. Toddler D will be awake from her nap soon and I need to snap out of it so that she and I can have a nice afternoon together. Thanks for letting me voice how I really feel about things, I don't often take the opportunity to do so, for some reason I don't think that anyone wants to hear these kinds of things. The reality of the matter is that deployments suck and no matter how strong you think someone is they are most likely struggling with that very harsh reality.