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Yesterday and today I'm taking a time out to simply thank our veterans. I'm lucky enough to even have one in my home and my family is quite military strong! My Dad, my grand-father, my father in law, my brother, my brother in law, my uncle, my husbands uncle… they have all served!!!
I'm so incredibly thankful to all the service men and women that have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and safety. The sacrifice is not just on the front line either. The sacrifices are much deeper. As a military wife I can tell you the sacrifices are MUCH deeper. The months or years away from loved ones is just one of many. This is the one that goes deep with me. The time away from family is so hard. Don't get me wrong, as a family we are SO proud of our soldier! We stand tall when we speak of him and the sacrifices he makes but even I couldn't understand the scope of that sacrifice until he came home. Especially in today's military and especially where they are fighting. Years ago when my Prince deployed he was based on a ship flying jets off the carrier. I never thought he was in harms way. My only worry was his safety when flying an OLD jet. Our children were young and couldn't understand the deployment. Time was not an issue because they couldn't understand it. 6 months = 1 week to them. Of course this was very different for Russ. He knew all the things he was missing with his children. These men are the best at compartmentalization. Basically, put it away and revisit it when the deployment is complete. They have a mission. Fast forward to this last Iraq deployment and boy oh boy are the sacrifices deeper. Our children are older and understand so much more. Time is understood. War is understood. These things make a big difference in how they deal with it.
My Prince has now been home almost a year from Iraq. The first two weeks he was home it's like a honeymoon all over again. We are happy he is home, safe and in our arms again. We all know the honeymoon doesn't last forever. Eventually the sacrifices start to surface. The time lost is apparent. We need to integrate the family back together. The kids and I had become independent while he was away. The things we had always relied on Russ to do we found a way to get it done ourselves. The man of the house was a 10 year old. He watched over his mama with everything he had. He wanted to make his dad proud and keep mama safe. This is fine until DAD comes home and he still wants to be the man of the house. Our the bitterness a child has for "feeling" abandon by his dad. These are real situations that occur and they are sacrifices both the soldier and his family make. My Prince had many adjustments to make as well. Sudden loud noises made him jump (fear of a rocket launch). Even something as silly as not wearing a gun on his side daily was an adjustment. It took time for him to feel "needed" again in our home. When a problem arises I felt compelled to take care of it, forgetting he could do the same. I didn't give him that chance.
The last 11 months we've had a lot of "family" meetings. I like to call these our "come to Jesus meetings!" After all this time we are finally feeling like our family is moving forward. When Brandon feels a problem, he now runs to his dad for the advice. Brandon can cry on HIS shoulder when he has a heart ache. Alexis doesn't cry at the drop of a pin. I feel relieved to give up the independence and let him take care of US now. This is BIG progress. I didn't think this day would come. My Prince and I have always had a rock solid marriage. Communication has never lacked—> until this last deployment. I would be lying if I told you it was peachy keen. What I have learned from our own situation is patience. It's not one of the characteristics the good Lord gave me. I've learned over the last 11 months to have patience and learn from the situation. I've learned to help others in the same situation. I've also learned gratitude. We are grateful he is home and safe. I'm grateful that our family can recover from this situation. So many families DO NOT. We wonder why the divorce rate is so high? I've learned to look at every veteran around me and always say a huge thank you to them. They have a story. They have made the ultimate sacrifice. I am truly grateful for their service.
Lastly, I love my Prince more today than yesterday. I'm a very proud wife and our children are proud too. Thank YOU for supporting and uplifting my family for so many years. Your support and prayers are always felt.
On the lighter side… If you ask Brandon today which branch of service his dad is in he can now tell you "NAVY!" He has told people for years he's in the Air Force. LOL. I guess "flying" means Air Force.
Happy Veterans Day to all the Men and Women who have served this great country!
XOXOXO- Proud Navy Wife!