A Letter To My Wife

Dear Missy,

I am no writer by any means. As a matter of fact, the only thing I remember about English class was the end, after I woke up from a nap. I will take the time though to say that out of all the women I could have ended up with, somehow I must of done something right to have Missy come into my life. I always wondered how most couples talk about ending up with their best friend and I always laughed about it saying, “I doubt it”, but I was happily proven wrong. Between the Army and normal life issues, we have been through a lot over the past seven years of marriage, but it has only made us stronger as a couple.

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I honestly thought you were crazy the first time we went out together! After seeing a movie and barely knowing each other you jumped into my car and drove away, going up and down the streets of Edenton NC. At the time I didn’t know whether to laugh or call 911. It’s crazy how far we have come since then. We went from being kids with no worries to parents. Without you, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, let alone with the two kids. I mean, let’s face it I don’t know their teachers’ names. I have no clue what doctors they need to go to or what size shoe they wear. You handle it all.  I know that the Army takes me away a lot but you are always there ready to pick up the slack.

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Nobody sees the selfless acts you commit, like bringing hot chocolate and donuts to the guards on holidays or slipping the maintenance guy $10 at the mall when young teenagers make a huge mess, but I do. You’re always the one who seems to sacrifice the mos,t not only for me but for our children as well. You go out of your way to make sure your children dress the best and have the nicest things. You always get me the latest technology gadget that comes out when I know you would rather buy a new lens.

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Because I’m gone a lot you have to adjust. You are definitely the rule maker of the house and it seems when I come home I end up being the rule breaker. Honestly, if it wasn’t for you, I would more than likely be sitting in an empty house wondering where in the heck all my stuff went, why the cars were towed, why we have no food, and why life is falling apart. I love the way you love life and your spirit can brighten a room. Everyone who gets to meet you is a lucky person.

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I just wanna say thank you for being the love and glue of my life. You truly make me a better person.

Love forever,

Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I See You, Mama

I see you, Mama.

I see you trying to balance two babies under 2 when you are on constant alert that something your child might eat could hurt her. I see you trying to comfort your sweet girl while also caring for a newborn. I see you research and learn so you can be her advocate. So you can be her voice.

I see you struggle between building a business and giving your time to your family. I know you want both and sometimes one of them has to give. You’re amazing at both.

I see you balancing gymnastics practice with school schedules, cleaning up messes at home and at work, trying to follow your dreams all while your husband is deployed. You are a rockstar- being a parent while not knowing if your husband is safe.

I see you being an incredible role model for your little ones by being a pillar in your community. You are helping people at their lowest point turn their lives around and you are setting an incredible example of second chances for your kids.

I see your heart yearning to add to your family through adoption. You are meeting with doctors who can help you learn more about how to care for this special child, preparing documents, dreaming of a pink bedroom where she will feel welcome and at home.

I see you learning and planning for the little blessing you have growing inside you. I know it’s hard hearing so much conflicting advice, but you’ll figure it all out. You’ll make the right decisions, even if it feels like you aren’t.

I see you struggling with sleepless nights, healing from the trauma of childbirth, learning how to feed your newborn, and struggling with the anxiety and fear that you’re doing it all wrong. You’re not. You are doing everything right. You are incredible!

I see you soaking in another couple of minutes while you rock your baby to sleep. He fell asleep a while ago but you can’t stop staring at his sweet face.

I see you take a deep breath when he knocks the spoon of food out of your hand and onto the floor.

I see how upset you are because you overcooked the dinner, your laundry pile isn’t getting any smaller, you’re tired from a cranky kid who can’t sleep, I know your emotions feel big.

I see your overwhelming joy fill your heart when your baby accomplishes a milestone. I know you’re holding back tears. It’s ok, let them flow.

I see your heart break when your child cries out for you when you drop them off or leave them with a sitter and how torn you are knowing it’s good for them and you to be apart but  just wanting to scoop them up to stop the fear.

I see you. I am you. Sometimes, as a mom, you just want to know that you are seen. That your feelings are universal and you’re not actually crazy. That the fear and joy and worry and happiness and loneliness and overwhelming love are not just your feelings, but feelings that every mom feels.

We are in this thing called motherhood together. Take the time to let another mom know that you see them and you think they’re amazing.

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A Scary Reminder

So a lot of you all may know, I had my appendix taken out last week. It was completely sudden and honestly, kind of scary. I’m going to tell you the one thing that happened that I wish I would have planned for.

I started having stomach pains on Sunday the 29th but they felt more like stress related cramps so I kind of ignored them. The next day, the pain continued to come and go and I started to question what was happening but was hoping that it would subside the next morning. I was still able to get up and move around and take pictures so it wasn’t unbearable. Well then Tuesday came and it was just flat out intense. It wasn’t the worst pain that I’ve ever felt but the kind of pain that you know isn’t normal. I started to google my symptoms and I was instantly convinced that it was appendicitis. I couldn’t even finish my Starbucks drink that day. That’s when I knew that I had to go to the hospital. Hashtag basic. However, my husband was training in Louisiana and here I was with two little girls and zero plan.

Lesson #1 to ANY military wife, MAKE FRIENDS. Madison had soccer that night and so my best friend came and sat with Savanna during Madison’s soccer practice so that I could go to the hospital. The plan was that I would pick them up afterwards but I brought overnight bags for them just as a precaution. Turns out, I was right about appendicitis and as soon as they told me that I’d have to have surgery, my best friend confirmed that they could stay the night. Buttttt she had to be at work at 5:30 in the morning so that was stress factor number one. What was I going to do? Madison had to be at school at 8:40 and Savanna had to be at school at 12:45. That’s when good friend number two stepped in. She was going to pick the girls up from friend number one’s work and take them back to her house. She took Madison to school (mission number one complete) but then she had to be on her way to work by 12:30 so how was that going to work? Stress factor number two. But then another good friend (we will call her “good friend number three”) messaged me and offered to take Savanna to school AND was available to pick them both up until I was released. Y’all. God came to me in a crisis! I couldn’t focus on resting and cried with all of the nurses because I was so stressed thinking about my girls. All of my family was so far away and I was all alone because all of my friends were taking turns with my kids, haha. My day got better when I realized that our FRG leader contacted the command in Louisiana and got my husband on the next flight home and he was able to take me home from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon! But seriously y’all, I just got lucky. I have the most amazing friendships and they help so much in a crisis! It also had me thinking, what would I have done if this had happened in Washington? I’m so nervous about going without knowing many people there. Where would my kids go if something like this happened? So I decided to really get involved and make strong friendships there for times like these.

So maybe you are moving to a new place like I am and you don’t really know where to begin looking for friends. If you are a spouse of a service member, join the FRG! Some have a bad rep, but most of the time, they are a very close group of spouses that do activities to better their spouse’s unit. A lot of the people you meet, turn into family. Their spouses will have all of the numbers that you need to get in touch with your husband/wife if you can’t reach them in a time of need. If you are up to it, find a job! I met my best friend’s at the job that I have now. They have ways of communicating with your boss if you aren’t able to and are willing to cover shifts if your kid’s school gets cancelled for the day! Maybe join a club, or become a frequent customer somewhere where there are a ton of friendly people! Texas Roadhouse and Starbucks literally say “Hey Melissa!” every time I go in. There are so many ways to make friends, you just have to get out there. And I will totally be rereading this blog when I move as well, to give myself the kick in the butt to get going!

(On the left: Good friend numbers 1&3 at Savanna’s birthday dinner. On the right: Good friend #2)

Anyways, Savanna’s birthday was two days later on that Friday and let me tell you…I was not going to cancel her birthday on my behalf. We had planned to have a dinner that night and 25 people showed up! She loved it! But that night is the night that I realized that I did need to rest a little longer so we postponed Build-A-Bear until I’m walking like a champ. And every day since my surgery, my girls have checked on my stomach. It’s so funny watching them be so careful around me. AND CAN YOU BELIEVE MY YOUNGEST IS FIVE?!!??!?!?!?!?!!? Now excuse me, I’ll be crying into my pillow!

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5 Ways to Maintain Your Sanity in This Political Climate

I’m exhausted, y’all. Getting on Facebook is like going on an emotional roller coaster- you know you can get off when the ride is over, but you keep riding because you want to stay informed, you want to make a difference, you want to be able to defend what you believe in. But if you’re anything like me, confrontation and arguing makes you incredibly uncomfortable and there is so much information that isn’t trustworthy, you don’t know who or what is accurate. I’ve come up with a list of ways to maintain your sanity through this rocky political climate we find ourselves in, no matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on.

  1. Be Informed.
    You would think this would go without saying, but seriously, KNOW what you’re talking about! There’s nothing worse than seeing someone post something that is simply an opinion shared as a fact. I’m talking to you, Meme Sharers.
  2. Fact Check. 
    This kind of goes with the first one, but try not to believe everything you read just because it happens to agree with your point of view. Check the source. There are, as you know, many sources out there that aren’t trustworthy. This graphic is a good outline of trustworthy news organizations versus news that tends to favor one side.
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  3. Take a Time Out.
    Take a social media time out when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s ok to back out for a minute and catch your breath. It’s ok to give it up all together if that’s where your heart and head are. For me, as much as I get overwhelmed looking through my newsfeed, I still enjoy keeping up with everyone and what’s going on in their lives, as well as sharing what’s going on in mine. I’m not at the point where I want to sign off for a long period of time, but I do try to stay off for a majority of the day to get a time out.
  4. Try to attack the issue, not the person.
    I know this one is especially hard right now, but as Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high”. Choose to go high, even if someone is attacking you and your character. It’s ok to be passionate. It’s ok to disagree. It’s not ok to attack. It’s not ok to be mean. Kill someone with kindness and facts, not anger, though you may be filled to the brim with it. Which leads me to my next, and last step:
  5. Remember to PAUSE.
    When in doubt, choose not to engage. Recently someone commented on something I posted and I chose not to respond. I knew there was no point. I know this person is someone who tends to be combative behind a keyboard so I knew that engaging wouldn’t be a healthy conversation. It would be a fight. I chose not to engage and ignored the comment. Everyone feels more powerful on their phone or their computer. If you want to engage in a healthy debate, ask that friend or family member out for coffee or have them over for dinner. When you see someone has posted something that is getting you fired up, remember to PAUSE. Take a breath, reflect, and then respond if you choose to. Taking that pause can remind you to attack the issue, not the person. It can help you gather your facts and come up with a response that reflects your beliefs and is fact checked. It’s all 5 steps in one.Take that pause. If anything, it certainly doesn’t hurt anything.

We have so many friends that we disagree with on a myriad of issues, but we choose their friendship over their political beliefs. You can OF COURSE choose to end relationships because of the issues that are important to you. I have unfriended or unfollowed people on my social media that I just disagreed with in such a strong way that I knew I didn’t want to see what they were posting because I felt like it was offensive or went against what I believe in. There are certain issues that are deal breakers for me. Find what is important to you and defend it with your last breath.

If the last week is any reflection, we are in for a LONG 4 years guys. Get some rest, pour some wine, and get your personal emoji ready. Mine personally is this, followed by an internal prayer to please Jesus help me breathe.

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