The Life We Choose

April 13, 2015

  I am the proud wife of a National Guard Soldier and mother of three beautiful children, ages 5, 8 and 11.  I’ve been given the distinct honor to be selected as a blogger for Our Military Kids and I couldn’t be more excited to share our adventure in hopes of helping others in some small way.  Our Military Kids is a wonderful organization that helped our family to navigate our first deployment and we actually used the grant award as an opportunity to share the news with our kids. When I met my husband nine years ago he wasn’t yet in the military, in fact, when he decided to enlist it was a decision we made together.  We made the decision that the National Guard was the best fit for our family because it allowed “balance.”  It would give my husband the opportunity to serve his country and allow him to be around more for our growing family.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  The reality is life as a National Guard family is not easy.  The reality is the life of any military family is not easy.  In nearly 7 years of service my husband has missed more birthdays, anniversaries and life milestones than we can collectively count.  There is a perception that the National Guard only serves “one weekend a month, two weeks a year.”  The reality is our experience has never been that. We are about to embark on our second deployment in three years.  When we learned another deployment was on the horizon, it shook us at our very core.  The first one was tough, very tough.  The weird thing is looking back the deployment itself wasn’t even the hard part.  It was the coming back together part that was hard.  My husband and I had become different people in the year we were apart.  We knew it wouldn’t be easy and we had promised we would never be “those people.”  No matter how much training we had attended, reading we had done or promises we had made each other, when it was time we struggled to figure out how to be a together again.  We struggled, bad.  The stark truth is there were times we almost didn’t make it.  It took work, love and forgiveness but we made it.  We CHOSE to make it. “Looks like I’m going to have to go on another adventure.” These were words I wasn’t ready for.  I didn’t see it coming and it literally kicked me in the face.  The first thoughts that crossed my mind were: No. It’s not fair. We almost didn’t make it last time, can we do this again? How am I going to tell Keira? I had my moment.  There were tears, lots of them.  Then there was the decision.  The decision to hike ’em up and drive on.  It’s what we do, because that is the choice we made seven years ago when we made the decision together that we would be a military family.  It’s the choice we make today and every day that lies ahead. Shortly after learning of the impending adventure we made the decision as a family to take the kids back to home so that we could have the support of our family and friends while their dad is away.  The journey settling back in to our home state and old friendships hasn’t been nearly as easy as we had hoped but it has been entirely worth it.   -Karen