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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

5k for the 9k

In honor of those killed on 9-11-01 and those who have died since fighting this war on terror, my husband, daughter, and I ran a 5k this past Sunday. I have never run a race before but couldn't think of a better reason to do so. So we woke up extra early, had breakfast, and headed out on our new adventure.

The run was on a part dirt part rock trail and over 1,000 people had signed up! Before the race started we sang the National Anthem and had a moment of silence in honor of those incredible men and women. Then off we went! As I ran and listened to nothing but feet pounding the dirt, I almost started crying. I thought about all of the men and women who are overseas defending our great nation. I thought about how my husband will soon be one of them.

The trail was a difficult one and the sun was beating down on my face. I was hot and thirsty, and ready for some lunch. Part of me wanted to stop and walk, especially towards the end. But I repeated these words over and over in my head: "You will not walk. Those precious men and women didn't get to walk away on 9-11, so you're not walking either. You will run this race until the very end." And so I did. And when I crossed that finish line, I felt so proud of myself! For pushing my body further than it wanted to go. For utilizing discipline and drive.

My husband stayed back to walk with our daughter because his knee and foot were sore from some training he's been doing. So I waited for them at the finish line. Lots of people came in after I did, but I only had eyes for a handsome man and a beautiful little girl. Then I saw them: my husband, running through his pain with our laughing daughter on his shoulders. At this moment, my eyes filled with tears again. This is what it's all about. This is why our men and women are fighting terror with such vigor: so we can have the freedoms to do things like run a 5k with our family. So we can be surrounded with friends and strangers, all with one common thread: freedom. So we can enjoy life. So we can be patriotic and proud!

This will not be my last race. The feeling you get during and after is indescribable, an almost spiritual experience. A high, an addiction. Well, at least that's how it happened for me. Some of you may think I'm crazy. I can't wait to sign up for my next one!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

military marriage

I've been thinking about the differences between military marriages and civilian ones, and there are many. One is no better than the other--they're just so different! In most civilian marriages the husband works five days a week from 9-5, and is home every single weekend and holiday. You're blessed enough to see your spouse every single day. You have help with the kids, you have time with your husband. He never has to miss an anniversary or birthday.

In a military marriage, or at least in the profession we are entering into, none of this is true. The husband is gone for weeks or months at a time training--always training. Then, when he is ready, he gets deployed for months and months at a time. Military husbands miss out on so many of life's precious moments: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, sometimes even the birth of his child. His job comes first, always. And that's ok, that's something we wives must just accept. The wife is left to be a single parent while her husband is away. We get no breaks until our husband comes home. Our patience and energy are depleted. Kids miss their fathers and ask for them, sometimes in tears.

Because of these vastly different marriage types, military wives have issues that civilians can never understand. Due to the nature of our husband's career choice, most of them are gone often. This leaves us military wives feeling crazy possessive of our husbands and super protective of the time we get with them. When my husband is home, I find myself dropping everything to be with him. Just to be near him makes me so happy! It's not uncommon at all for a military wife to disappear when her husband is home. Many civilian friends would think it silly to forget friends and commitments for a man, some will even get offended. But I know that my military sisters all understand how I feel. It's just assumed that when a friend's husband is home, weekends and evenings are usually reserved for family time. Because for us family time is a luxury.

Now, being so possessive of my husband is something I cannot help, although I have gotten better about it over the last year. He is just gone so much, when he's home I want his undivided attention--no phone calls, no visitors, no distractions. I want him all to myself. Sometimes when his phone rings I cringe inside. I want to shut the whole world out and just sit with my husband, while I have the chance to.