Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I remember when

**This is part of a 3 times a week memoir writing group.  You write for 8 minutes. You can find the prompt here. **

A little over 13 years ago, I was pregnant with our first kid.  We had bought a house.  My husbands job was not turning out like we had hoped.  We had no health insurance to cover the cost of bringing this baby into the world.  I was teaching piano lessons at the time, which was bringing in some money, but not enough.

One night, after we'd gone to bed, my husband said "what if I joined the military?"

The me of back then would never have cussed, but I though the equivalent of HELL NO.

I knew no one in the military, of any kind.  It was completely foreign to me.  The only person that I had known to have served was my grandpa, and he had been drafted in 1952, to fight in Korea.  I was so far removed from that whole world.

He said he had felt inspired to try it.  He has motion/sea sickness, so the Navy and Marines and Coast Guard were out.  That left the Army and the Air Force.  He went to the recruiters and talked to them.  We talked more.

I remember the night I called my parents to say "Matt is joining the Army".  My dad was not happy about it. He encouraged us NOT to do it.  Yet.  Matt felt so strongly that this was the right thing for our family.

He took the ASVAB.  He signed papers.  We went to the downtown Los Angeles location where they give you a list of job options.  He had enough college credits that we didn't start at rock bottom, but we were just a few steps above.  But at that point, any regular income was amazing to me.  He went to a hotel, where they waited to hop on a plane, and go to basic training.  At seven months pregnant, it was excruciating to be separated.  I moved in with my parents, we put our stuff into storage, and he was headed to Fort Benning.

The blessings have not stopped.  The most immediate was financial.  Like most young couples we had made our share of poor financial decisions.  But thanks to the Soldier Sailor Relief Act, we were able to cut down on our debt.  When we got orders for Germany, we were able to turn in a leased vehicle without any fees.  We got a regular income.  I ended up with an emergency c-section and was so grateful that we didn't have to pay out of pocket for that.

After a few years in the military, we discovered all the schools that you could apply for.  Matt applied for PA school with zero medical background and got in.  Passed everything the first time around.  And we have no school debt.  We have been able to give a good life (maybe not what they think is good but whatever) to our kids, and give them experiences I only dreamed about.

We've lived all over the United States, and beyond.  Our life is the Army.  We go where they tell us.  We make the best of where we are at, and I'm forever grateful that I trusted my husband to do this.

At the time, many people thought we were crazy.  Many thought he had joined without telling me first.  (which, with his track record, wouldn't be too unlikely, but thankfully, that wasn't the case here) We were both in agreement.

We've been in 13 years.  Two deployments, multiple total years apart.  Many video chats done on computer and phone.  Many frustrations.  Many moves to the unknown.


  1. Loved hearing your story! What a blessing indeed for your leap of faith and trust in your husband.

  2. Loved hearing your story! What a blessing indeed for your leap of faith and trust in your husband.