“I always joked and said I was going to marry a doctor and sail away into the sunset. When we first met, he was charming and handsome but it was too much, too soon, and we went our separate ways. Years later, we reconnected and got married. I said I would support him no matter what he wanted to do, as long as he was passionate about it. He wanted to be a physical therapist with the Navy. And that is what he did.
“When I was pregnant with our first son, we were faced with deployment. It really strengthened our marriage. He deployed at the beginning of July and I was due at the end of August. The week after he left, I went into pre-term labor and was put on bedrest. It’s one of the realities of being a military family; you’re not always close to relatives. I was thankful that I had moved back to Orlando with our three and a half year old daughter to be near family.
“The doctor was very gracious and let us Skype the birth. We always said we were one and done, and so having another baby was so joyous, but I was just so sad for my husband. I knew I could do it, but you can’t get that moment back. It’s one of life’s biggest moments – and he was missing it. Thankfully, my mom and mother-in-law were there to celebrate with me.
“The day before the induction, we were finally offered a house on base. I called the housing office in labor. I didn’t want to lose our house!
“Five weeks later we were moving back to Virginia. My husband was still deployed. I had a brand new baby and a toddler. I will admit it – it was rough. But as my mom and I were unpacking, my husband walked in with a box and said, ‘Where can I put this?’ He surprised me in our new house, and it was the first time he’d met our son. I was completely caught off guard. He left four days later for another three months. It was a tough goodbye, but it gave us the gusto to get through.
“I have learned so much as a military wife. I have learned my strength comes from my faith. We have to ride the waves, and God is going to bring us to shore. We have to be confident in our marriage, and in our decisions, and in ourselves. We are strong.”