Friday, March 09, 2007

A homefront story sent to Bombshells-

A little background on me. My family has been and will always be pro-military. In fact, I was considering enlisting in the Air Force at the time I met Shawn, but he promptly shot that down, stating, "No girlfriend of his was joining the military," he knew what the guys were like. In the years since we were married he had regretted his words, trying to convince me to join, but when I became pregnant with our fourth child I asked him to drop the subject because there were more important matters to look after, our four kids. And now my writing career is starting to take off.

Our kids, three boys and one girl. Twin eight year olds, 4 year old daughter, who is the light of her father's eyes, and Daddy's Mini-Me, he is 3. They have made this deployment easier to cope with and the toughest job on the earth because of it. They're young enough not to realize what kind of place their father is in, to blissfully continue on with their lives, but old enough to feel his absence. While most of the families in our unit count down the days by marking holidays, I have chosen a less emotional method, we take it one day at a time, one week, and one month. We focus on the here and now, and let God worry about tomorrow. We adhere to the verse, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Luke 12:25)

Most of the families in our unit have close family ties where they live. My family is one of the few that does not. We live in Illinois; our families live four hours away in Iowa. It's a blessing and a curse. But since moving here, I have made close friends who are like my family. When problems arise, and they always do during a deployment, my friends are there to help in any way they can. But there are things that they just can't replace, like having my husband here.

His mobilization didn't come as a surprise to us. For three years we were expecting it, but three years ago, we, like many families in 2003, were without a good paying job and place of our own. Shawn's desire to return to school to be a teacher led him to a Federal Technician job on an Illinois National Guard base where he could use the state's tuition program to pay for his schooling. The unit he transferred out of was deployed shortly thereafter; we had dodged that bullet. He had transferred into a new unit—the government requires they be in existence for two years. The moment they celebrated their second birthday they were handed their orders. And our eight months of preparation began.

We were criticized for telling the kids too early about Dad leaving, but those who had would never understand, our kids needed that time to prepare just as much as the adults did. Our kids are sharp, they would have realized quickly something was going on and they needed to know from us.

Friends learned of the morbid discussions we had, death and all that remains from it are never easy, but the fact of war is the possibility of death. Shawn knew exactly what I was going to do with the life insurance and what I would do if he never came home. The kids were also covered in that event, something I would never have to worry about thankfully. He also knew that I wouldn't be so easily swayed by anyone's offers, which is why when he left he didn't have to worry about me. I was taken care of financially, as I'm the home financer—he actually gets his allowance from me, and he's the accountant. If there were problems with the house, all I had to do was make a call to his boss and someone from the base would come out. A local landscaping agency takes care of our ½ acre yard—that's a lot to mow with a push mower.

Shawn stated over the phone one day after a particularly hard week with the kids: his job is a cakewalk compared to the one I have back at home. While he works six of the seven days, he knew my job was compounded by the fact I was also trying to be a father on top of my already hard job of being a mother. I've been told I'm strong, but I've had to be when I didn't want to be.

Shawn's year started when he touched down in Kuwait in the middle of September, two weeks later he was in Iraq. In that time, we have experienced many firsts, our first birthdays without him, our first Thanksgiving, Anniversary, Christmas, Valentine's Day without him, and soon to be, Easter, Father's Day and the Fourth without him. You noticed I didn't say Mother's Day. He was fortunate enough to choose his own leave dates and he'll be home then. I've had some of my best news for my writing without him here to tell first. Milestones in our youngest are missed. Things the kids say that make you die laughing, he's missed, but that's not unusual, seeing as they tended to do it when he was working anyway. But he lucked out when he married a writer, because I can describe in detail what he missed, and it's almost as if he was here to experience it himself.

But what makes this whole deployment worthwhile are the people who bend over backwards to remind me just how thankful they are for my family's sacrifice and for Shawn's service. Those are the people that don't get enough airtime on TV, but they are the reasons why we do what we do.

That in a nutshell is my story. While it could be more, I know I'd easily fill ten pages, the curse of being a fiction writer. ☺
Thanks for letting me tell it.



Thursday, March 08, 2007

Casey Nicholson- Ongoing homefront with Sailor!

We were married September '06 when he returned from a 6 month deployment, and
immediately moved to San Diego, where we have been ever since. Our
first 6 months of marraige have been incredible and memorable. This
is all about to end however.

My husband has been stationed overseas and will be deployed again only
2 weeks after we were to move overseas. Because of this I will be
staying in the states with my family, while he is gone on a 8 month

Sadly we will not get to spend our first anniversary
together, and only half of our first year of marraige together. Just
when we were getting settled in San Diego, we were assigned to go to
Japan, and now I have to get ready to live in Michigan again.
Thankfully I have the support of my family, they are behind us one
hundred percent. Casey-

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Missy and Mike (Excerpts)

This is Missy and her Man- What a Bombshell!

Graduation for Mike

From Bombshells:
....From the parking lot I could see Bravo Company’s graduating class standing in formation outside the hall where they’d soon be honored for completing 19 weeks of basic and advanced training. Mike’s last letter said he’d lost 30 pounds, and when he stepped from the line to greet me, indeed I could see that the training had erased a decade of gluttony and sloth. I reached out to grab his arm but missed the flesh and grasped only the cool rigid fabric of his fatigues. This ominous empty-handedness sent panic to my heart, and though I promised I’d stay composed, I started to cry smearing black mascara under my eyes in a conflicting mess representing both the ecstasy of seeing Mike safe and within arm’s reach, along with the agonizing fear I’d been nurturing since the day he’d enlisted, that one day I could lose my brother in combat.

....I slipped into the ladies room to fix my makeup joining two women who were also fussing with their looks in front of the mirror. A mother from Texas dabbed powder on her forehead to absorb her perspiration, and then smiled in the mirror as though she needed to practice. When I complimented her alligator boots, she said they hurt her feet, but admitted that sore feet were the least of her pain. Ever since her son had joined the Army she could barely climb out of bed, she said; in fact on this day it took all the strength she could muster to dress up and keep her hand steady enough to apply lipstick without drawing all over her face....

...Mike pointed out his comrades who had already received their orders to go to Iraq. They were laughing and gesticulating and seemed fortified with confidence. Oddly, I felt envious. Then a thought struck me that I haven’t let go: What if there was a boot camp for the psyches of every soldiers’ loved ones, a basic training to align our spirits with some battle creed that prompts in us a mechanical reaction to survive when our worst enemies—say fear, anxiety, and depression—threaten to eviscerate us?...

.... Currently, Mike is on standby for a new deployment-