When I grow up 

Dear Delilah,  

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Had you asked me when I was 7, I would’ve said a zookeeper. 

At 12, an ASPCA case worker 

At 15, a veterinarian 

At 17, a vet technician

At 18, an elementary school teacher

At 19, I played around with the idea of working in speech pathology & audiology.  Maybe helping children with special needs to communicate. Or maybe Psychology; something about it gave me purpose.  

My plans were to graduate with an Associates of the Arts degree in theatre then transfer the credits over to the neighboring university where they would take the credits to continue a Bachelors in Education or Speech Pathology. 

Then I ran into your dad & something inside of me changed.  

I was no longer preoccupied by dreams of my own but dreams of a family. I dreamt of being a wife.  I dreamt of being a mother. 

Staying in Southeast Texas for the sole purpose of continuing school seemed so silly compared to my dreams of being a homemaker,  a nurturer, a mother, & a wife. Your father & I got married, I graduated,  & it was off to New York for me. 

New York was a beautiful experience. I made friends & found a job that I loved. I worked with one of my best friends running the toddler classroom at a child development center & I couldn’t have been happier. It wasn’t long before I bonded with the children & several of the parents. I loved the kids like my own & leaving them was harder than I ever could’ve imagined but at 7 months pregnant it was time to move back to good ole Texas. 

Now we’ve been stationed here about 6 months & I’ve had a job for 2 but it just hasn’t been the same. An Associates degree in Theatre is hardly a career & child care centers don’t pay much. Finding a minimum skill job that pays enough to make daycare worth it is nearly impossible. Staying home doesn’t help financially at all. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how insignificant money is. Our lights stay on & we have food on the table.  Our gas tanks are full & we have hot water to bathe. Isn’t everything else just an added luxury? New books, Starbucks, eating out. Those things aren’t needed. I’m stressing over insignificant things. A job is simply that. A job. 

So ask me at 22 what I want to be when I grow up. 

I want to be happy.  I want to be available for my husband & child. I want to be loved. I want to take lots of pictures. I want to cherish the little things that make life so beautiful. I want to make memories that will last a lifetime. I want to hold my family close. I want to be kind to others. I want to take chances. I want to go on adventures. I want to grow & watch you grow. I want to run my fingers through your father’s grey hair when we’re old & look into those beautiful eyes like I’m 19 again. We were young & no, I didn’t have a career, a savings, or even a plan but he waltzed into my heart & I had never been so sure of anything in my entire life.  

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Coping without you

I’m angry.  I’m in no way angry at you.  I’m angered by your absence. My anger isn’t an isolated emotion.  Accompanied by sadness,  lonliness, & helplessness,  I’m drowning in emotions that are foreign to me.  When you’re here,  my emotions are at rest. The usual ones remain;  love,  happiness,  relief.  When you’re here I am half of a whole.  I am a player on our team.  In your absense I am incomplete.  I’m expected to be whole & take on the roles of the whole team.  I’m supposed to keep a smile on my face because I’m a military wife. My husband is a hero so how can I be angry with my situation?  “You chose this life”, “you knew what you were signing up for”. Excuse me,  are you trying to comfort me?  After two years of marriage, I’m sleeping alone.  My daughter has the best dad in the world and he can’t even see her. Yes,  I’m angry.  Anger is an emotion I don’t know well. I can cope with being sad.  I can cope with being alone.  How do you justify being angry at a situation instead of a person?  I’ve heard parents of cancer patients break down and say they are just so full of anger.  Not at their child of course,  their child is the victim. Friends & family are just collateral damage.  That’s where I fall,  I’m collateral damage.  My husband is going through life without his wife,  his daughter,  his dogs,  his home.  I’m sure when sick children see their parents angry they often feel like they are at fault. Anger is rarely talked about,  it is rarely explained & perhaps that’s where the problem lies.  Anger is an emotion that is easier to avoid.  But what if we started discussing our anger?  Would there be less children blaming themselves for failed marriages?  Less sick people feeling like burdens? Less soldiers feeling like their wives are upset with them?  I’m not angry with you.  I’m angry without you. Forgive me when my anger comes across wrong. Forgive me when my anger takes the form of a snide comment about you leaving.  I promise I never mean to hurt you. I know you take my words to heart but it’s just bottled up pain, bottled up anger that slowly comes out. I guess now that I think about it, my anger has always taken the form of words.  My heart and soul express themselves through words. What a blessing and a curse.  Your ears are blessed with I love you,  I miss you,  and I could never live without you.  I guess it doesn’t help when the kind words you recieve are followed by “you left” and “I’m alone”. I never say things to be malicious. I don’t forge my words into daggars to wound you.  But it seems that way.. I promise I’ll try to be aware of what I am saying. I promise I will try my best to talk about my anger while reminding you that my anger is in no way directed at you.  I am so proud of the man you have become.  I am mesmerized watching you with Delilah.  I am so thankful for your patience and attentiveness as both a husband and father.  I am extremely proud of your success in your career,  that at 21 years old you are not only excelling but financially supporting a family of 3, plus 2 fur babies.  We’ve purchased our first home & 2 vehicles. Not to mention the discipline and respect the military has instilled in you. Oh man do I have so much love and respect for you.  You are so much more than I ever could have imagined for myself. My heart is bursting with appreciation for you. Without you my heart is angry, but I promise I’ll learn to cope in a way that doesn’t hurt you. I love you Cody Montana. 

Come Home

When you’re gone it doesn’t feel like living. I fall into a routine. Mindlessly go day to day feeling little. 

I miss your spontaneity. Ice cream runs & late night scrabble. Disney movie nights, midnight coffee. 

I miss your touch. Holding my hand, washing my back. Forehead kisses.  

Our bed feels too spacious.  My voice seems to echo off the walls in our home. 

You breathe life into my world. I’m suffocating without you. Come home.  

Pros & Cons of the military life. 

Dear Delilah,

You’re an army brat. 

I know this doesn’t mean much to you yet but it will. There are pros & cons to every life style. Here are a few of the pros & cons to ours. 

Pro: The military made a man out of your father. It taught him discipline & respect. In a world full of chaos, the army gave him structure. Because of this, he is able to provide structure to our home. His leadership skills allow him to be the leader in our family.

Con: The military owns him. When the army says jump, he’s required to say how high; no matter the cost. 

Pro: We get to see beautiful places. Both of us are Texas natives so the mountains & north country of New York was a beautiful place to call home for a brief period. 

Con: We may never be somewhere long enough for you to put down roots, leave your handprint in the porch cement or build a clubhouse in the yard. You won’t graduate with your pre-k friends or date the same boy all through grade school. 

Pro: We were able to cut ties with our pasts. Growing up in a small town where everybody knows everybody seems like a fairy tale. However, when everyone remembers who you were, how are you supposed to become who you’re meant to be? It seems like everyone is stuck in a rut & because of the military we were able to get out of ours. 

Con: Change is a necessity. You’ll learn quickly that I hate change. We’ll change cities, houses, schools, churches, etc. We’ll have to find new jobs & make new friends. As soon as you’re comfortable, your whole world will be turned upside down. 

Pro: Our bills are paid. We will never go without food or have our electricity cut off. We have running water & gas in our vehicles. Also, we will never have to worry that you will get sick or hurt & we won’t be able to afford it. 

Con: Distance is inevitable. The army doesn’t care about your 6th birthday party, your awards ceremony, or your talent show. Daddy won’t make it to all your soccer games or choir concerts. There will be Christmases we open presents without him & Father’s day cards we send him in the mail. 

Pro: Every minute together is precious. Arguments rarely happen because we cherish each moment. We know that each second fighting is a second wasted. We love fiercely. We laugh & have game nights & cuddle on the couch. We make coffee late at night so we can stay up & watch movies. We enjoy life together. Your dad does such a wonderful job making every minute count when he is home. There are definitely highs & lows but boy are the highs high. Everyday we are together is like a dream & just like I have, you’ll learn to hold onto that feeling until he comes home. ❤ 

Finding your father

Dear Delilah,

Every story of love is different, but here’s ours. 

Your dad & I went to school together but I was a good kid & he was.. not. lol Sometimes I wish I had known sooner that he was the one. The truth is, I don’t think it would’ve changed anything. We were too different & we weren’t yet the people that God intended us to be when we crossed paths. 

After my first real relationship in high school, I’d kind of given up on finding anything beautiful. The truth is I had never witnessed a healthy relationship so I had no idea what I was looking for. After graduation I started compiling a list of character traits I would demand in a significant other. This kept me from settling for every cute guy I saw. 

He needed to:

  • Love God
  • Love people
  • Communicate
  • Make me laugh
  • Respect his mama
  • Be intelligent

There were more but there’s a few. 

New Years 2015 I ran into your dad at a party that we both kind of got roped into going to. I know you’re probably thinking “Y’all were each others New Years kiss & spent the night together under the stars.” Not at all. Your dad cheesily asked me to “stay & cuddle” after having a different NYE kiss. lol It sounds terrible I know, but he had no way of knowing he was talking to his future wife. 

Although I obviously denied his cuddling proposal, I felt the strangest sense of connection to him. It was the weirdest thing but I knew I couldn’t let that be the end of it, whatever “it” was. 

In the most humble way, guys always made the first move with me so I had no idea what to do so I thought “Facebook.. Duh”. Well we were already Facebook friends. I absolutely could not message him. What in the world would I say? So I deleted him off Facebook & sent him a friend request. Silly, I know. BUT guess who woke up to a message from your father? Got him, hook, line, & sinker. 

By this time he was already heading back to New York where the Army had him stationed so we talked all day & all night while he drove. We talked about our dreams, our fears, our families, our pasts, & our futures. We talked about things we had never told anyone & somehow we knew that we could trust each other. We did this for days. 

What you’ve got to understand Delilah is that through pain you learn to build up walls & I had so many walls up. It terrified me how easily your dad got in. He didn’t slowly break down the walls, he walked straight through them. 

Growing up with a lot of best friends, I always told them everything. But how do you admit to anyone that you think you’re falling in love with someone after a week? It sounds absolutely absurd. 

On day 12 your dad tried to push me away. That took me by surprise because if you knew me as a teenager you would know that I’m the queen of pushing people away. After making it clear that I wasn’t going anywhere your dad broke down & told me that he loved me & he was terrified that these emotions were consuming him. 

Love is scary Delilah. It’s the strongest force we know as human beings & it’s hard to fight it.

So we gave in. Two broken, heart breakers, who feared love & commitment. & it was the best decision we ever made. 

We started officially dating on Feb. 8. We were apart for the first 5 months before finally seeing each other. I can’t explain the way it felt to watch his eyes light up when he talked about things he was passionate about or see his smile. I could finally reach out & touch him, hold his hand, or play with his hair. 

The next time I saw your dad after that, we got engaged & then married the next day. July 17, 2015. I know, we broke all the rules. No big ceremony, no pampering, or bachelorette party. Married after only 6 months of dating but we knew. I can’t explain it but our marriage is the happiest & healthiest marriage I’ve ever seen. We’re partners in all aspects of life. We encourage, comfort, & love each other. We communicate & make one another strive to be the best version of ourselves every single day. I love him Delilah, & I know you will too. 

I’ll write a separate blog to talk about a few of our adventures. Stay tuned.