Thank God that year of deployment passed quickly and shortly after his return we were married. Our little family was complete. Getting married was the easy part. The hard part was getting acclimated to my new role as an Army Wife and mom. We were stationed at Ft. Stewart in Hinesville, GA home of the 3rd Infantry Division. We did not live on post so subsequently I didn’t know many other wives. That first year I was pretty much oblivious to the military life although I was a part of it.
We bought our first house, moved in, and I got to try my hand at decorating. It was an exciting time. Soon we were celebrating our one year anniversary and the very next day he went back to Iraq. Driving away from the post was heartbreaking. I remember calling my mom and sobbing “He just left.” She talked to me for a few minutes and calmed me down and I slowly drove home.
The girl child was 18 months old when he deployed for the 3rd time and every bit of a daddy’s girl. Initially I was able to answer her question of where’s daddy with daddy’s working, but soon even her young mind began to grasp that daddy had a very different job.
I kept myself busy by participating in activities with my Sorors and attending meetings in Statesboro once a month. Luckily my mom and in-laws were only two hours away so if things got too hectic they were only a short drive and we could go home as often as we liked. My mom and mother-in-law definitely helped get us through that 15 month separation.
Life went on while the Hubs was gone. I started a new job and graduate school. I tried my best to keep the girl child and myself busy. Unfortunately, while he was gone I lost my grandmother. We tried to request emergency leave for him through the Red Cross, but since she was my grandmother and not considered a close relation he was not allowed to come home to attend the funeral with me. My maternal grandmother passed away when I was 15 so losing my dad’s mother hit me hard. I wasn’t able to grieve long because I had a daughter to look after and a household to manage so like always life went on.
The hardest part of this deployment for me was people telling me how grateful they were for my husband’s service and how brave they thought I was! Me and brave in the same sentence. That was certainly not something I was used to be called. I didn’t feel brave either. More often than not I felt very afraid and helpless, but if I haven’t learned anything else from my husband I learned how to suck it up and move forward.
The hubs came home for 18 days of R&R and it was pure bliss. The girl and I were so happy to have those few weeks with him, but again it was torture seeing him go. The rest of his deployment passed quickly. We frequently called and chatted via the computer so it wasn’t as difficult this time around. Before I knew it he was coming home! At the end of May 2008 he returned.
Just when we thought that the Hubs coming home was the best thing happening to us we found out (36 days after his return) that we were expecting! Talk about a pleasant surprise! True to form though, things were anything but normal. While deployed he was promoted to E6 which meant he was now an NCO which brought forth more responsibilities and sometimes longer hours. If that wasn’t enough we were on orders to PCS in December so there was much to be done in a short amount of time!
Luckily we were only moving to Columbia, SC so it wasn’t terribly far but trying to coordinate a move while pregnant was definitely interesting to say the least!