Sunday, April 13, 2014

Military Spouses and Sacrifice

There is an anonymous article on Facebook (that was written for Military Spouse Magazine's online community) that discusses a woman's journey as a military spouse. She claims she is "that" military spouse. "That" military spouse means that she doesn't take an ounce of credit for her husband's career, and after 25 years she has never made a single sacrifice. She "doesn't understand" why spouses feel like they have served or sacrificed over the duration of a military career. After 25 years, in her opinion, she has done nothing more than if she had been married to anyone else with any other career.

When reading the article, it is important to see where this woman is coming from. She makes it clear very early in the article that she has always wanted a "traditional" family role. A role where she is the mother and homemaker and her husband is the breadwinner and provider. There is nothing wrong with that and she is absolutely entitled to be satisfied and fulfilled as a person. I'm happy she's happy.

Where she loses me is the tirade about her husband's career is his. She does not take credit for his accomplishments. Read: she doesn't wear rank, she doesn't feel like spouses make an ounce of difference in promotions, she just supports from the perimeter. The trouble? With that statement she essentially made the sweeping generalization that spouses who do feel like they have made sacrifices for their spouse's careers are essentially taking credit away from their military member.

Making a sacrifice and taking credit are not, by any stretch of the imagination, the same thing.

Military spouses make sacrifices. I have sacrificed two wonderful jobs in order to follow my husband's career path. I have done it gracefully, and it has never created drama, but I have definitely been extremely sad both days where I had to turn in my resignation paperwork. Most military spouses sacrifice over 50% of their lifetime career income in order to make the transient life work. She might not feel that sacrifice because her goals are much different than mine, but make not doubt about it, the research shows that the majority of military spouses either want or need to work.

My career sacrifice in no way, shape, or form means that I am taking credit when my husband is promoted. It doesn't mean I am bitter. And it absolutely doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the wonderful things, friends, places, and opportunities that this life provides.

The reason I feel like the distinction between sacrifice and credit is so important is that military family life is unique. It requires unique support systems that must be advocated for in order to receive. Blue Star Families does a survey every year to take the pulse of the military community, to see how families are doing and what needs to be done to sustain the system as a whole. Those results are used to lobby Congress and other organization for programming, funds, mental health care, and more. If I were "that" spouse, one that feels that because *I* am peachy keen and never felt an ounce of sacrifice that I couldn't possibly "understand" why another spouse would, how on earth would we be able to advocate for one another?

It is possible to feel one way while being empathic and understanding of a differing viewpoint. If she is happy as an at-home mother, and happy with moving and being "along for the ride", she should at least be able to extend an olive branch to a woman who sacrificed a important promotion or a special home or a close family unit in order to participate in this lifestyle. And have the open mindedness to realize that sacrifices and credit are completely different beasts.

I am proud to say that I have made sacrifices for my husband. I do so because I love him. I do so because I know how important serving his country is. It is a choice I make with purpose and without anger. Does it mean that I don't feel the pang of jealousy when I see a friend who I went to graduate school with get promoted or see a friend buy their dream "forever home"? Absolutely not. I am human and have absolutely felt jealousy before. But that sacrifice is worth it.



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Trading Nostalgia for Adventure

April is the month of the military child. There have been a few very well written and insightful pieces about what it's like to grow up as a military kid. Some have been uplifting, casting away some doubts about raising our kids in a crazy, unique lifestyle. Some have been more serious and reminded us of the hardships they face; a pause button so that we can hug them and have patience when they struggle to adapt.

My friend Betsy wrote a wonderful piece, a letter to her children, that explains the importance of military families. "Military family" does not mean just a mom, dad, and kids. It is the amazing network of people we meet over the years, and the incredibly strong bonds that connect us. Our military family teaches us that the world is smaller and warmer than we could ever imagine. I love how she reminds her children about how it is people that matter, not stuff. When the military comes and packs up all of our things and puts it onto a truck (or a huge ship to go around the world), we are okay! We have one another and we don't need that stuff to survive. That alone is a lesson many kids will never receive.

When we moved to California last December, I called a friend and panicked because I hadn't packed any towels and all of our household goods were still somewhere in Nevada. I hadn't seen my friend in about 8 years, but 10 minutes later she was at my door with a pile of towels and a smile. I cannot explain how those easy friendships, ones that are always there, ready and waiting to help, weave a strong basket of support in which we all operate our lives. It is unique and something I am so happy my kids get to witness. The act of being completely willing to drop everything for a friend; to cook a meal, to do a walk through of a house, to bring over a stack of bath towels at 9PM. Friends who you haven't seen in almost a decade due to the military's web of moves, but who are there. In almost every state, in dozens of countries, we have our military family.

I often daydream about the childhood my kids are experiencing. Is it happy? Do they feel secure? What damage or improvements have been made by all of the change they have experienced in their short lives? Connor, my three year old, has lived in four states (MD, VA, KS, and CA). Kate, my 4 and a half year old, has attended three different preschools. John and I grew up in one town, attended the same set of schools with the same set of friends, and didn't branch out geographically until college. We both had happy childhoods. When I go home and look at where I spent summers at the pool or where I went horseback riding or played with my friends at the park, my stomach tightens. Those are my spaces. My husband's parents live in the same house that they raised their kids in. John gets to experience those smells and creaky floors and old wallpaper that surrounded him in comfort his entire youth. My kids won't get that one pool, or that one set of creaky stairs, or that one childhood friend to shape them. Is that okay?

When I was in graduate school for counseling, one thing that always amazed me was how resilient kids are. And since becoming a military spouse and mother, I have read countless articles that calm our nerves because, kids are resilient. They bounce back. They are malleable and forgiving and loving and will not be weathered by some of the things that give adults a lot of heartache and anxiety.

That's great.

But I don't want to raise my kids in an environment where I am depending on their resilience to not screw them up. My wish for them, more than anything else, is to become good people. To learn to be loving, service-oriented, smart, and loyal. To know that John and I love them and will be there for them no matter what; not as friends, but as their stalwart supporters in life. So at the end of the day, can the military lifestyle (and all that it entails) create an environment for that to happen?

After almost 11 years of this, I can honestly say, yes.

We don't frame our moves as leaving an old, familiar place. We frame them as new adventures. When our kids talk about Kansas, they actually say "mom, do you remember the preschool from our Kansas adventure?" And when we moved to California, we told them we were going on a new journey to a new place to have new adventures. We expose them to new food, new parks, and new cities. They have played on beaches in California, Virginia, Florida, and Michigan; they know intimately that Kansas has no beaches (the horror!). They make friends with ease and are quick to pull a shy kid under their wing. We lead by example in teaching them that our hearts should be open to friendship and to seeing the good in people. Kate and Connor actively compare their preschools; not in a wistful way, but in a smart and critical way. We talk about their likes and dislikes, and as preschoolers they have a very refined palate. 


They are learning about service. They know to stop playing and stand with their hand on their heart during Taps. They are good travelers and love to go on airplane rides and car rides to see new parks and places. They have driven through the flatlands of Kansas, the mountains of Colorado, through downtown Manhattan, and tornado ridden Oklahoma. While they don't have grandparents or aunts and uncles in the neighborhood, they understand that distance does not damper love. They know that they are very much loved and missed by their family, and enthusiastically wait for visits.

They are challenged. Challenged by missing their dad for months on end. Challenged by new bedrooms and houses. By saying "see you later" to so many people. But as parents we appreciate those hardships and do or best to frame them in ways that are teaching them good lessons for their lives. They might not get to experience the nostalgia of a one-town childhood, but they won't ever be lacking in adventure.

My motto: Understand - appreciate - comfort - then teach. Military families have so many unique opportunities to raise great kids, but we need to purposefully do so. It doesn't just happen, just like a flower won't grow without attention and pruning. So in the month of the military child, give your kid a big hug. They have overcome great things and lead very big and multifaceted lives. You are their biggest teacher, and the example you set over the course of their lives will mold them into who they will be for life.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Racing Facebook: A New Challenge for the Military Community



The morning of September 22, 2013 was a typical one for Theresa Jones. She was 8 and a half months into a deployment that had been extended due to the Syrian crisis. Her husband Landon, a helicopter pilot, was attached to a squadron stationed on the USS Nimitz.  Her newborn son Hunter, born while her husband was deployed, was hungry and needed to be fed.


As usual, I started nursing Hunter and then grabbed my phone from my bedside table to check my email and Facebook while he ate. I always checked my emails to see if I had received any from Landon. I was always excited to see a notification of an email from him throughout deployment and this morning was no different.

Landon had written Theresa, but it was a short "one liner". Something us military spouses both love and loathe equally. A signal that they are well, but that they are busy. After reading her email and writing him back, she switched over to peruse Facebook while she finished feeding Hunter. That is when the day went from typical to a nightmare.

 


My heart stopped. I couldn't click that link fast enough. Panic immediately set in. The link took me to the 5th Fleet's webpage. It said that a helicopter had crashed in the central Red Sea. I looked at those words and my brain went into overload. HSC-6? My heart was racing and I could not catch my breath. I immediately fired off an email to Landon pleading for him to respond and let me know he was okay.

Often when there is an incident, the protocol is to shut down all outbound communications so to avoid any information getting to the families before they are notified by official means. Theresa knew this, but we all hope that our husbands can somehow get word to us that they are alive and well. Ironically, it didn't seem as though the persons in charge of the Nimitz's Facebook page were following such protocol. And so began a day for the HSC-6 squadron where nervous phone calls, texts, and chatter would flutter about between the spouses and families.


I texted everyone from my best friend to the CO's wife to the Ombudsman wondering what was going on. Many of them had no clue that anything had happened at that point. They were still just waking up for the day. I immediately started googling what time it was in the Red Sea, and comparing that time to the time of the Facebook post and the time of my husband's last email to me.  If you've ever thought you've lost your child in a store, or came close to having an accident on a highway - that is how I felt. Times a thousand.
 
Theresa panicked. Just like we all would under the circumstances. Her in-laws happened to be in town when this happened and she shared the information she had (at this point, still only the Facebook link from Nimitz). Her mother-in-law wondered if they would have called if it had been Landon but Theresa and her father-in-law knew that someone would come to the door.

Four hours went by.


I had started to breath normally again. I had begun to successfully convince myself it wasn't him. He was a great pilot. . . he was stationed on a different ship*, there was no way this could happen to us.  At that point I wasn't sure how the Casualty Assistance Calls process worked, but if the news was already online, surely the spouse had already been notified. Then my doorbell rang. I looked through the peephole and saw three men in their Service Dress Blues. I immediately collapsed to the floor, sobbing and screaming.
 

The CACO (Casualty Assistance Calls Officer) team came into Theresa's house and explained that Landon had been involved in a mishap. This was approximately 6 hours after Nimitz had posted about the accident on their Facebook account.


I told them I already knew [that there had been a mishap with HSC-6] and that I saw the news on Facebook. I had known for hours. They looked at me in disbelief. As my husband was still considered missing, they assured me that whether the search for my husband was successful or unsuccessful, that I would hear it from them first. As day turned into night I prayed for good news. The following morning, as I sat in my house full of people still praying, I scrolled through Facebook again. My eyes immediately stopped at one post. A friend had posted a link. . .



I couldn't believe it. I looked at my friend and said, "he's dead". I showed her the post and she couldn't believe it either. I responded "I didn't know that yet" [to the Facebook post]. I picked up my iPad and went upstairs to the guest room where my in laws were praying for their son. I looked at them and told them I was sorry, but that the search had been called off. They looked at me and asked, "how do you know? They said they would come back and tell us!". I showed them the article and we all immediately started sobbing. It was my mother in law's birthday.


It was 45 minutes later that CACO rang Theresa's doorbell a second time. She had them wait while she finished nursing Hunter. She already knew the bad news, so she wanted those last peaceful moments with her newborn. They again apologized for the fact that social media had again outpaced the official notification process.

It has now been five months since Landon died and Theresa is trying to make a difference for other widows in the military. The culture of "instant gratification" has implications that reach far beyond what our culture tends to think about. Theresa's friend posted the article about the search because she was hoping to garner support for the Jones family. It was not malicious, but she inadvertently became the person who informed Theresa she was a widow.


In the naval aviation community, we often share posts about plane crashes or other mishaps because we want everyone wrapping their arms around the people involved. Never do we think that we actually might be the people who cause a woman to pace her house for an entire day, nervously glancing at the front door. Social media has become so fast and so instant that it is outpacing the real human interaction that has been a mainstay of humane military death and accident notification. I am totally guilty of it, Theresa admits that she was also guilty of it in the past, but she is motivated to make a change within the military and within the families, spouses' groups, and FRGs.


If there is any sort of advice I could offer now, I would say please wait and think before hitting the "share" button. Say a silent prayer. Give the family and friends time to find out through official channels. Let's allow these families time to find out first, and privately, instead of with the masses.

When dealing with military accidents and deaths, be gentle in your quest to get information out. If names haven't been produced by the military, it is likely because the notification process is still ongoing. Wait until those names are released. At that point, you can be sure that sharing links to articles, family fundraisers, and other outreaches is safe.

We so often talk about OPSEC (Operational Security) and PERSEC (Personal Security) when discussing the internet and it's relation to our lives. All Navy wives know the mantra "loose lips sink ships" and not to post your personal address on the open internet. Theresa's quest is more of a nuanced one, a gray area where people are sharing articles that are already "out there" in the media, so not a violation of the traditional rules. She is trying to get her message out to spouses and families. On a personal level, I think "big Navy" (and "big military", for that matter) should also take note.

There are families reading Facebook and Twitter. When the person in charge of Nimitz's Facebook page posted that a helicopter was down, were they thinking of the new mother nursing her baby in the wee hours of the morning? Probably not. And we need to keep those people in mind when trying to be the first to break or share a news story.

If you are part of an OSC or FRG, please consider this story. In Theresa's honor, have a discussion with the men and women in your group about the proper channels for sharing information related to mishaps within the community. We aren't all going to agree, and civil discussion is always a wonderful thing, but in the world of Facebook and Twitter we cannot forget about the real people behind the screen. We've got to protect and take care of one another.



__________
* Landon was attached to HSC-6, which is located on the Nimitz. He was also the OIC of a small detachment on the USNS Ranier, a small supply ship in the battle group.
 
Saturday, February 1, 2014

9 Tips for New Military Spouses

Last year my girlfriend Sarah asked her military friends to write a letter to her beloved babysitter who was marrying an Air Force officer.  Because I love to write and am naturally long winded, I wrote a list of things I believe make me a happier wife to someone in the Navy.  It turned into a bit of a love letter to all of the wonderful people and places we have been. Mostly people.

I debated posting it here.  I obviously didn't want to post it before the wedding because Amy needed the opportunity to be surprised by the sweet gift from Sarah.  But then I wondered if my words sounded to sappy or silly or just too "gung ho" and quite honestly worried people would think I am some bubble gum wife in an apron with the "Navy Wife" license plate.  I'm not.  I'm a slightly grumpy, average cook who is currently trying really hard to be a decent wife (because I can be pretty prickly these days) during my husband's current TDY.

However, as I have adjusted to this new coast solo, I am being re-introduced to my love of "the people".  It is surreal that in an area where I can barely find the grocery store, still don't have a dry cleaner, and would literally drive off a cliff without my GPS, that I see people I know almost everywhere I go.  People I have lived in Virginia with, people I have lived in Maryland with, people who I know because we have 46 mutual friends on Facebook and are finally getting to meet face to face.  It is a huge comfort.  And surreal.  In what other kind of life do you move to a completely new area and run into several familiar faces every time you leave your house?

So anyway, I'm putting myself out there.  My letter to Amy:


Dear Amy,

We don’t know one another but in the small world of military spouse-dom you might as well be my new sister.  Or at least a fun sister-in-law.  And the fact that Sarah speaks so highly of you means that you are probably a pretty cool chick.  When she asked fellow military spouses to write to you about the life you are about to partake in, I was honored.
I’ve thought about what I would tell myself 10 years ago if I had the chance.  Like you, I married my husband fresh out of the Naval Academy.  We were 22, giddy in love, and totally and completely clueless about the adventure ahead of us.  Like you, I had grown up in one area.  My preschool friends were my high school friends.  I had never been exposed to the military lifestyle.  The acronyms like PCS, CONUS, BDU, CVW, XO, etc were completely foreign and I had no idea how they would become part of my fluent vocabulary so quickly.

As much as I promised myself that “the Navy is just my husband’s job, it is not who I am”, it is not exactly how things have turned out.  Yes, I have my own identity (own degree and Master’s degree, own career, own interests and hobbies, own friends) but I also have come to embrace the fact that the military is a lifestyle and it will become your family if you let it.  The people I know who have had the best experiences in this life have been the ones who don’t fight it too much, who let it wash over them and live in the moment with their experiences being their guide.  So without further ado, a few tips for you – the new military spouse:
1.  Go out of your way to meet people.  You will hear rumors of spouse's groups being "snobby" or you will meet people who "don't hang out with military wives".  Find out for yourself.  I can't tell you how priceless the relationships I have formed over the years have been.  Military wives make friends with ease and are always looking for more.  Your "friends list" should never be full.  There will be bad apples - that's life - but don't let those bad examples define your experience. 
2.  Continue to pursue your goals. The military will see to it that you have lots of red tape and challenges thrown in your path. PCS moves, deployments, and other random obstacles will come your way. Do not despair; growing is always a little painful and the military just adds about 50 pounds to your pack.
3.  Enjoy where you are.  There is no base out there that is "horrible". None. There are always new parks, new restaurants, a beautiful road or park, or a new person. Don't feel sorry for yourself and spend several years holed up in your house wishing you were somewhere other than Alaska or Idaho. Life is short, you have a very unique opportunity to explore the world - do it! The beauty of the military is that if you don't enjoy it, your time there is temporary.  In other words - YOLO.  (I wrote this when we were stationed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas...  not exactly prime Navy territory!  I embraced the BBQ and sunflowers!!!)
4.  Don't take yourself too seriously. Being an officer's wife does not make you special. Be kind to everyone, help who you can, advocate for others.  Some of your best friends might be enlisted spouses, or they might be the spouse of the highest ranking officer in the area.  Just be open to friendship and be kind.  Never expect special treatment because your husband wears strips and someone else's wears chevrons.

5.  Work hard, party hard. There is a unique atmosphere to the military community that will keep you young.  Have fun!  Don't skip a ball or party because someone rolled their eyes about the latest function.  Always go and see for yourself. (that link isn't the best example because my husband was deployed, HOWEVER, I think my going to a function solo illustrates how fun some of those parties can be!)

6.  Volunteer! Get involved with your community. Working can sometimes be a tough thing to do on short tours, but you can always put your talents toward good deeds.  It is good for the soul and a great way to meet fun, sweet, generous people in new areas.

7.  It's okay to have bad days.  There will come a day where you will hate the Air Force with every fiber of your being.  It will be soul-crushing frustration and you will take it out on your husband (or your child, friend, dog, voodoo doll).  This is completely NORMAL and you have every right to feel sorry for yourself sometimes.  If possible, do not take it out on your husband. He doesn't have control over most things and projecting your feelings of hostility toward him can damage your marriage.  Communicate, of course.  But don't steamroll him with profanity when you find out the AF is sending you to Montana (and see #3).

8.  Don't blink! Everything goes by incredibly fast - even deployments! I feel like I just walked under the sword arch and was welcomed into the Navy family.  But here I sit, 10 and a half years later, two kids, 3 deployments, and 6 duty stations later and I can't believe how fast it has gone.  I have become a cliché!

9.
Homecoming almost makes deployment worth it.  Almost.  You have a choice with separations - to make the worst of them or to embrace some of the upsides.  You will have the unique opportunity to miss your husband. After several years of marriage, this can actually be refreshing. Of course, after about two or three weeks you'll be like, "okay, I miss you, come home now".  But alas, deployment isn't two or three weeks, but you will make it those 6 or 9 or 12 months.  When he returns, and you are standing on the tarmac or at the airport waiting for your husband it will be absolutely magical.

Love,
Jill






Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why Navy is Better than Army (in one picture)

If a picture is worth a thousand words...


This beach is on base at Naval Air Station Point Mugu.  My father, who is a commercial real estate developer, always said that the US Navy owns the best, and most expensive property in the nation.  From Pearl Harbor to Annapolis to Coronado.  Point Mugu is certainly no exception as we have learned first hand the past few weeks.

Malibu is just to the south, but Point Mugu is much less crowded because of the restricted access.

Go Navy! 
Saturday, December 28, 2013

We Aren't in Kansas Anymore, Toto

The real line from the movie, in an effort to avoid the movie nerd correction emails, is "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore".  And I've a feeling that is correct for us, though we were brought to SoCal by way of Honda minivan and not tornado. 

In the two weeks we have lived in California I have been the receiving end of that joke, oh, 20 times.  But that's okay because I'm sure I would probably say the same to an alien life form moving to the Los Angeles area from the heartland.  It is only slightly awkward because we're not "from" Kansas.  And so goes my military spouse identity crisis where I sit in bed at night and ponder how to answer the "where are you from?" question without making people think "dang, lady, I was just being polite.  Didn't need the life story".  

In case you wondered whether we embraced the Kansas life, here is a picture from this past Halloween:


John was understandably hesitant about going as the scarecrow, but quickly agreed when I told him my mother (who was visiting for the weekend) would be the wicked witch.  Every man wants to call his mother-in-law a wicked witch at least once without being knocked out cold.  Our Kansas neighbors have a dog that looks just like Toto and they were happy to let us tote him around for the evening.  It was fate and I am forever the owner of ruby slippers if anyone wants to raid my closet.

On December 13th, John graduated from Army school (Command and General Staff College) and we were so anxious to get out of the icy cold and into the warm sunshine that we drove all the way to Denver that very afternoon.  Kansas is not a very dynamic state to look at.



By Monday the 15th we had arrived at our new home in Camarillo, California and I did a happy dance at the sight of palm trees, and mountains, and Trader Joes!  We went to the beach the next morning and it was like we had never left the coast at all. 


We camped on air mattresses until Thursday the 19th when our stuff arrived.  John cracked the whip, and we were pretty much 100% unpacked in time to host my brother in law and his fiancé for Christmas.  Thankfully, we didn't even have to tell them to find their own sheets, pillows, and towels amongst the boxes of crap.

There is a lot I could write about our new area, but simply put:  I'm spoiled.  This area might ruin me for future moves.  It is warm.

Obligatory smug weather screen capture

I have palm trees in my yard (that the HOA cares for). The shopping is amazing.  There are more bars and restaurants than I can even fathom.  We are very close to a large city that we get to explore and access to a huge international airport when we want to escape.  The ocean, the fruit trees, the lack of mosquitos and humidity. It's glorious. The jury is still out of my east coast personality can hang with west coast cool, but so far everyone I meet seems very nice and personable. And they love wine.

I think we'll be quite happy here.
Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Breathings of my Heart

The poet William Wordsworth once wrote, "fill the paper with the breathings of your heart".  Writers need to write.  It is stress relief, it is cathartic, it is important.  Some need to run, some need to draw, some need to yell and scream.  Writing has always made me feel better; like getting a thousand pounds off my chest.  It is freeing.

This blog takes on many different functions for me.  I wrestle with it sometimes.  Do I want to be as outspoken as I am sometimes?  Do I want it to be a diary?  If my kids read it in 15 years would I be proud? Do I want to be so public with my emotions and feelings and opinions?

I honestly don't have good answer for what I want it to be.  It just is.  I guess if I were to say something to Kate and Connor who might read this in 15 years - this blog is a good reflection of me.  Imperfect. Changing. Rough around the edges. An example of how in life it is okay to be happy and sad.  It is okay to be an open person.

We are entering our last week at Fort Leavenworth.  Moving again in the deep freeze of December and heading west to Southern California.  I'm excited about California.  I love the warmth and the ocean and I have always had a strange affinity for palm trees.  John even looked all over Pensacola for an apartment with some palm trees when he started flight school over a decade ago.  He knew the palm trees would put a smile on my face as we embarked on this crazy life together.  Our new house has palm trees in the driveway.  I can't tell you how excited that makes me.

But sadly, I'm not all sunshine this week.  It has actually been a remarkably sad few time for me.  Moving is hard.  The holidays are stressful. And as I approach the due date of our most recent loss I find myself in a trifecta of hurt.  When I watched the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center I burst into tears.  When I got pregnant last spring, I imagined us preparing for a new baby around a Christmas tree.  Instead, I see boxes and moving tape and no tree at all.  And no baby.  And it sucks.

This surge of emotion has taught me an important lesson about grieving. If you don't do it when the bad stuff happens it will eventually find it's way to you again.  I moved on from my most recent miscarriage with much more poise and grace than my first two.  But as I approach my due date I find myself sadder than I ever was at this point.  A good lesson in letting myself grieve.  It isn't weak to mourn your losses; it is healthy and necessary.

Moving around the holidays is never ideal.  My kids are at a magical age where I want to admire them looking up at a tree in their Christmas jammies. Instead I am explaining why they are leaving their familiar bedroom, schools, and friends.  It is too fast.  We just did this last year.  348 days ago we moved in and we are already packing up.

Packers come tomorrow, the moving truck comes Wednesday, John graduates on Friday and we are headed west to Denver that afternoon.  I am praying for peace; to be okay with this holiday season surrounded by boxes and without my extended family.  To get through our baby's due date gracefully and without too much pain.  I know I have many blessings and I know everything will be okay.  This is a season and things will look up soon.

This is what is on my heart right now.  Thanks for listening.   





Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
I am the mother of two beautiful children and the wife of a Naval Aviator. I love searching for good wine, photography, writing, travel, playing on the floor with my kids, running, long dinners with friends, and so much more. This blog was created to document my husband's 2011 deployment with honesty and humor. Since then, it has been a place to document my life and feelings about issues close to my heart.

My Family

My Family
Connor (3), me, Kate (4), Johnny

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