It Takes a Village…

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Village PeopleWe’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”  It’s true!

Most military families are separated from their families.  Most of us are uprooted from our hometowns and transplanted to new ones.  Sometimes, for a while, sometimes not.  We rely on our communities to get us through tough times.  Most of our kids don’t live near their grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins.  Sometimes, they are even away from a parent.

Our family has had it rough the past while.  My husband served two years unaccompanied in Japan, came home for three months, and was deployed again for nine months.  If it wasn’t for my village people, I’m not sure where we’d be.  Well, I know where we’d be, maybe how we’d be is a better term.

We have Indians (Seminole fans), law enforcement officers, construction workers, Sailors (active & retired), bikers, and rednecks (about as close to cowboys as we can get).  We also have pastors, teachers, coaches, secretaries, students, accountants, lawyers, grandparents, and even snake handlers.  We have extraordinary people, with ordinary daily lives that invest themselves into our life.

This past weekend, my oldest son had two baseball games.  I missed all of one and most of the other because I was at church. (Note: I was right where I should’ve been!)  My son wasn’t concerned that I wasn’t there, he thought he had a better chance of winning if I wasn’t there. (I have been declared the bad luck charm.)  While at church, I mentioned that my son was playing and was asked “who is with him?”  My reply… “no one… well, his team.”  A friend chimed in ”God!”  YES!  God is always with us!

Back to main point… my son had the game of his life.  His team faced a team that wins a lot of tournaments… my son’s team was just trying to actually win a game!  It was a Facing the Giants moment!  He was the starting pitcher… he hit a bomb to the outfield with bases loaded, scoring three to tie the game… then scored on the next hit to score the winning run.  Yep… I missed that.  It stings a little.

But, you know what?  When I finally arrived at the field, I had countless number of people give me the run down of what happened.  People from both teams!  Everyone was so proud of my son and couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.  I don’t know what’s better, watching it happen or watching the excitement of lots of people reliving it for you.

It hit me, that while I wasn’t there myself, he has a village.  Both my boys have people who watch out for them, that love them, that support them, that pray for them.  We may not have our blood family, but we have a ginormous village filled with wonderful people who God has sent to surround us.

If you are a military family, I encourage you to find your village.  Find a church (you are welcome at mine Shindler Drive Baptist Church), get involved in sports, or a support group.  Be a part of your community!

If you are a civilian, invest in the life of a military family!  Get to know the kids.  It would help to form a relationship before a deployment so that you have a bond when tough times arrive.  But, anytime is still good!  Most military spouses don’t need you to do a lot.  We’ve traveled the deployment road and are pretty independent.  But, having people to have fun with and keep our mind off the separation is awesome.  Be the village!

“Train a child in the way he should go.  When he is old, he will not turn away from it.” Proverbs 22:6

 

Gone Again…

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FamilyI haven’t written lately, mostly because I haven’t had time.  My husband was home all of three months and is gone again.  We knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier.

While we did know that he was going to deploy, we didn’t have a date.  He got a call on a Friday night two weeks ago that he would be leaving the next morning.  This threw a wrench in my plans, of course.  I keep reminding myself that God is in control and His plans are always better than mine.

Our last night together as a family was a whirlwind of baseball practice, basketball game, dinner with friends, and the dreaded packing of the sea bags.  I usually end up with the packing because… well, I’m just better at it. Ha!

I’m not sure about other military families, but the packing process is very stressful for us.  This time, it was worse because we weren’t expecting it.  We just had to squeeze in packing amidst all of our other activities that evening.

My husband puts everything he wants to pack on the bed and I have to make it all fit into two sea bags.  He puts more out than the bags will hold, I have to minimize the load, conflict ensues.  It happens every time.  We both know the process and just accept that we will argue about how many socks he’s packing or just how many bottles of shampoo one almost hairless man really needs.  While it’s happening, it’s pretty tense, but over the years it’s gotten easier.

That night we were both stressed out because of practice and a game, not enough time to do everything, and the fact that in the morning, he’d be leaving.  I don’t know if it was better to not have a lot of warning or better to have lots of time to know he was leaving.  I guess neither, both scenarios take him away… therefore, both suck.

This time he will only be gone for nine months.  All of my friends and family keep reminding me that this is much better than two years.  I keep hearing that, but it doesn’t make it easier to watch your child cry for an hour… or going to bed by yourself when you’ve gotten used to someone lying beside you… or having someone to help taxi boys… or not having a hand to hold… or not having him there to aggravate the crap out of you just because he knows how.  It’s never easy no matter how long or short.

We will get through it, because that’s what we do.  One foot in front of the other… another day done… after a while, he’ll be home.  God is with us always and He will get us through.

“I will make you strong and help you.  My powerful right hand will take good care of you.” Isaiah 41:10b