“We met in college. He was, and he still is, this very sweet and romantic guy. When he joined the Navy – I’ll be honest – we almost broke up. But in my heart I knew I really didn’t want to lose him, so I left college to follow him. He graduated but I still had two years left. Those two years turned into nine. It took me nine years to get my degree! My parents wondered what in the world I was doing, but I knew he was worth it. I transferred from school to school, state to state, and accumulated an enormous loan to pay off, but eventually I finished. The things we do!
“I taught school in Virginia for a bit, but then we moved again. I got Cross-Fit certified in 2009 and started coaching. When we moved to Guam, I tried so hard to bring Cross-Fit to the base, but they weren’t having it, so I started personal training. When we moved back to Virginia, I was looking at a lot of different options. My girls were young, and I wanted to be home with them. I also wanted them to see a strong mama. I didn’t know if I wanted to coach or train again, or what I was going to do. Completely not related to a job, I made a pumpkin wreath around Halloween for my front door. People started literally knocking on my door to ask me where I bought it. It was crazy! It happened so often that I started a wreath business in my dining room, creating all kinds of designs. I taught myself how to make them, so it really all fell into my lap. While my husband was deployed, I’d stay up so late making all these wreaths, and I even started selling them in a craft store. Although I never set out to be ‘the wreath lady,’ it gave me a great sense of pride.
“When we left Virginia for Spain, I didn’t have the supplies or resources to make wreaths. But we just moved to Hawaii, and I may pick it back up. People talk about how resilient military spouses are, and I really believe we are. We are always adapting. We are dropped into a new city or a new state, or even a new country, and we immediately find a house, new schools, and so often we have to do it while a spouse is deployed and we are on our own. Everywhere you go, you have to adapt. I’ve done, and learned, so many things now. Sure, there are long days, and there are hard days, and there are so many times when you don’t want to put on a brave face, but you do. You do it for your kids, and your spouse, and even sometimes for yourself. Because in the end, we are brave. We do adapt. I am proud of that. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.”