I was a Staff Sergeant in the Army when I got wounded in 2008, got married in 2009, and now have three beautiful children. I was a single Mom during my second deployment. I can relate to single parents serving, dual military couples, wounded vets, college students, military wife going through deployments, etc. The list goes on & on. My blog is all about keeping it real. You may not agree with what I post, but it's who I am.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
The Christmas Season has some heartbreaking moments, as well as some wonderful moments for me. Starting off, Christmas was always wonderful as a child. I was blessed with parents who would stay up all night putting together my Barbie Dream House, or wrapping our presents after going to church for a candlelight service for Christmas Eve. They also made sure we knew that Christmas wasn't just about us, but about making those around us smile. It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas. Well, I joined the Army in 2003 and my first Christmas away from home was in Germany in 2004. I was 9 months pregnant, due on January 12th.
During that time I was married & what I had assumed to be marital problems that are normal between deployed couples ended up not being so normal. I married my ex-husband February '04, we deployed together that year & then I was sent back after it was discovered I was apparently pregnant the whole time! Yes, I actually got deployed pregnant. Pretty odd, huh? I spent quite a bit of money to make that Christmas wonderful for him. Because our son was going to be his first they allowed him to take his R&R so late in the deployment to where he could be home for his birth. They actually sent him home around the 27th or so of December because his mother was coming to visit. That day came & went, and I even got the morning off to meet the bus full of guys who came back. Every man on that bus was shifty eyed except for this one man that obviously had sympathy for me. He told me that my ex had gotten a flight to meet another woman that he had met online. For the next 1-2 weeks he would call & email claiming to still be stuck in Kuwait...even while his mother was visiting. He finally showed up, a week before my due date. Sad to say, he didn't hide his rendezvous well...I quickly found Ohio receipts all over our house, and within a day he left me & his Mom in Germany & flew back to Ohio to be with the "love of his life" (they didn't work out). The next week was pretty awkward with my mother-in-law...I did bring her to an appointment where she heard my son's heartbeat & was very emotional. (Once the divorce was finalized a year later she broke off all contact with us.) I drove her to the train station on my due date and then went into the hospital feeling drained. The midwife chose to induce me because my son's heartbeat was low. I had a healthy baby boy, he just needed out.
Baby's First Christmas
The following Christmas I was waiting on my divorce to be finalized, and was a single mother in Germany. Lucky for me I did have a good support structure, and so that Christmas was actually pretty fun. I even had two friends who were dads & who had their children for visitation use my house for their Christmas celebrations with their kids. It was wonderful to let them have that time. My son loved his first Christmas, and I loved his reactions! The next Christmas, in 2006, was bittersweet. I got to see my Dad's whole side of the family, but I was still a single mom. It was his second Christmas, right before his 2nd birthday. I knew the following February I was deploying & that Christmas would be spent without me. I cherished every moment with him.
Our Christmas in Iraq was almost numbing. It was wonderful the things they did to make us feel better about being so far away. The skits, costumes, trees, ornaments, cookies, decorations, etc were all wonderful. I was even more blessed that my parents were able to take pictures of everything and I was able to see how excited my son was. Again, I was blessed to know that he was with my family, and I couldn't have asked for a better family to help raise him for those 15 months. He loved all of that time with his Grammy & PopPop, and his cousin!
Hunter got SO excited for new PJs!
The next Christmas was hard for me. My husband & I had started dating & we ended up with an accidental pregnancy that ended up having us realize that we were truly meant to be together. That happiness about our newest baby was short-lived...I miscarried a week before Christmas, at 8 weeks pregnant. It was hard, but my husband & I were only dating & I knew God had a plan for us. I also knew I had my oldest with no issues, so I'm sure we could still have babies just fine. This one just wasn't meant for this earth. Due to the miscarriage I cancelled my plans to fly and see my family, I just wasn't feeling up to it. My friends took my son & myself in & we spent Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with them. It was wonderful. I was blessed to have them during that time. The day after Christmas I asked my husband if he minded me joining him & his family for Christmas, and he said to come on down to Texas. I packed up the car & we headed out. It was wonderful, I loved his family & they were so nice to me. I knew for sure he was the one.
During that following year we got married and found out we were pregnant with our 2 year old. I was stationed at Fort Huachuca, AZ waiting to be chaptered out of the Army. I was hoping we could stay dual military but the CDC on post had no openings & all of the centers off post opened too late. My unit was understanding, but my co-workers liked to judge that I was getting special treatment because I didn't have to do PT. I was pregnant...but yet they felt as though I was being treated special and I shouldn't be there anymore. It just got to be too much and I was relieved when I got out of the Army on January 4th 2010. That was a lonely Christmas, I didn't want to bother families that I got to know because they all had plans with their families, so my son & I got Denny's, went to a local church for Christmas Eve, and then had a nice, relaxing Christmas Day where my parents were able to Skype all morning with us & see him open every gift.
Visiting Santa in AZ!
Playing at the hotel
The wonderful thing about that church service is that we sat next to an older couple who saw I was pregnant with a 4 year old. They helped keep him entertained for me, so we could enjoy the service. In fact, everyone loved him. He went up for a children's sermon & the Pastor took him & had him sit right next to him. They gave all of the kids a snow globe that was a nativity scene. My wonderful Christian son has cherished this nativity scene since that day. He keeps it on a shelf in his room & brings it down to teach his sisters. It's so wonderful to see the love & care he has. That wasn't something I had planned for, but those people made me realize that we're never alone for the holidays. Whenever you feel alone if you just go to the right place people are willing to let you into their homes. I decided I needed to pay it forward, so I went on a last minute mini-vacation to Phoenix, AZ with my munchkin to visit a friend who was going through rehab. We went up there & stayed in a hotel, went to the zoo, and hiked a little. It was wonderful. Also awesome to see a face I hadn't seen in years.
Christmas Eve 2011
I know that many of us take it for granted the time we get to spend with family during the holidays but there are many, due to jobs, hospitalizations, etc, that are unable to be with their families during Christmas. There are many that don't believe in Jesus yet they celebrate Christmas. I hold onto that hope that if someone celebrates Christmas they do believe, in some way, shape or form, and they just need to be shown how wonderful a Christian life is. I do think there are many struggles in my life, but I know everything happens for a reason. Yes, over the last couple of months I've really thinned down my list of "friends" but I've also felt this huge weight lifted off of my chest because I didn't feel like I was being who I truly am. It's now that time to be that person.