Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Repeat.

It seems our life with deployments seem to repeat at the exact same times.

His last deployment to Afghanistan we traveled to Fort Bragg about this same time.

It was Easter weekend.

Jerome and I did our Easter basket shopping at the PX on base while Gran stayed with the kids at the hotel.

The kids opened their Easter baskets, dressed in Jerome's Army t-shirts, in a hotel on base Easter morning.

Spencer was eight, Natalie five and Katie four.

I just think it is funny how this deployment is repeating itself.

Just as long as it doesn't repeat the length of time he was gone away from home last time.

In several hours, after I get in bed and get some sleep, I will be waking up to the first holiday I will have to do alone without him here.

We will be going to my parent's church, everyone dressed in their Easter best, sitting in a church full of families with daddies and husbands who are there with there family.

I almost don't want to go.....only because I don't want to see all the families enjoying their Easter Sunday together, I don't want to sit in church and feel the overwhelming feeling of loneliness that creeps in when being surrounded by happy families who have their husbands there, their daddies there for their kids. It is a very lonely feeling.

But I know I need to. I know my mother is looking forward to having her family together in church and for Easter dinner at her house afterwards. I know our kids will enjoy playing with their cousins and searching for Easter eggs. I know that I just have to make the best of it....because that is all that I can do.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Learning To Let Go....Again.

Letting Go

Jerome knew that I was upset about having to say our goodbyes on Sunday night, our 17th wedding anniversary.

He stayed.

And that was the best thing I could have ever been given...just a little more time.

Sunday night as he tucked each of our three kids in bed he hugged them tight, wiped their tears and comforted them with a promise to be back home safe with them soon.

After tucking them in bed he had to put his helmet together. They were issued new uniforms Friday and he hadn't put his helmet together yet. I was sad watching him fold the fabric over, all the things that go inside for protection. Watching him put the straps on, trying it on and readjusting the straps and then trying it on again.

At first I kept myself busy by getting our stuff all packed up. We would be taking him to the base in the early morning and then later that day getting on the road.

But I kept watching him put his helmet together.

It was upsetting me and he looked at me and said with a smile, "No crying yet".

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We woke up very early Monday morning to get him to the base on time. They were headed to the range that day.

I kept the kids in their pajamas. We stopped in the dining area of the hotel for him to get some breakfast to take with him and some coffee. The news was on, specifically the weather....even MORE specifically the threat of a storm with tornadoes headed right in our direction.

I was scared. I knew I had to travel home but didn't want to get caught in a storm. At that point I was ahead of it if I could get on the road in the next few hours.

We went outside and the cold morning air greeted our sleepy faces.

The drive there was quiet.

He held my hand like he always does. A few times squeezing it, looking at me and reminding crying yet.

Our kids were quiet in the backseat.

We were quiet.

I wanted to talk but held it in for fear that the lump in my throat would escape and I would break down and start crying.

He broke the silence by talking about wanting us to be safe traveling home. He wanted to make sure we were ahead of the storm.

We went through security one last time. The sky was dark as midnight still.

Then we made our way through the base. Looking all around there were troops in their Army greens preparing for their day. There were convoys loading up. There were soldiers doing their morning runs. Everywhere we looked there was something.

He gave each of our kids a hug and kiss, reassured them he would be fine.

Then we stood together. I felt his arms around me as he gave me a goodbye kiss. He told me he loved me and to not worry about him. We kissed again, said our goodbyes and then he headed to the place he needed to be.

I watched him walk away....his new Army green uniform, backpack on his back....I knew this was going to be the last time I would see him until he returns home.

I watched him walk away until I couldn't see him anymore.

I climbed in the drivers seat, the place he was just at a few minutes ago. I took a deep breath and knew that I could cry now. I looked down and there sat his coffee cup he had left. Then Spencer, who was now sitting in the passenger seat, got upset and was telling me how much he misses his dad when he is gone. The girls started crying. I WANTED TO CRY. But I couldn't. I comforted them, reassured them, promised them and all the while I just wanted to rest my head on the steering wheel and just let it all out and cry until it didn't hurt anymore.

But I didn't, I knew I had three kids to comfort and there was a big storm heading right in our path and I needed get ahead of it.

I kept myself busy. I drove to the hotel, and loaded our suitcases up and checked out of the hotel. We ate breakfast there before we left.....I rushed the kids through it because the weather forcast was not looking good.

We made our way home safely. It took us two days of driving....but we made it home......just me and our three kids.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fort Polk, day five

Sunday we took our kids to the lake, Alligator Lake, to ride boats.

We packed a lunch, put our swim suits on and headed to the lake.

We had lunch first.

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Spencer decided he didn't want to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so he fixed himself an MRE....don't you just love the way Katie is looking at him eating it in this picture?

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Then Katie decided to try an MRE for herself.....I don't know what it is with my kids and peanut butter and jelly.....

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Yeah.....I don't think she cared to much for the MRE....I tried to tell her that her PB&J would be much better....

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We went out on the lake....I left my camera tucked safely in the car.

The girls fell asleep when we left the lake and were on our way back to the hotel.

That is the twizzlers from the MRE in Katie's hand....I think the only thing she enjoyed from it...

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We decided to surprise the kids and stop for ice cream on our way back.

Spencer said to me, "Hey mom, get your camera ready and watch this!".

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He yelled to Katie, who was SOUND ASLEEP...."KATIE!! THERE IS A GATOR IN THE BOAT!!"

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We all got a good laugh from that one!

They all picked out their ice cream cones.

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We went back to the hotel after stopping for ice cream. The kids went swimming in the hotel pool while Jerome and I got ready for our anniversary date.

We ordered the kids pizza and gave them strict instructions.

Then Jerome and I went to a nice Italian restaraunt across the street for our 17th anninversary date.

I was really happy to be able to spend this day with him, one less holiday that we will have to spend apart.

We had a wonderful evening together and our kids were happy we brought back a large slice of chocolate cake from the restaraunt for them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fort Polk, day three and four.


Friday morning Jerome was still at the base and was going to be busy there for several hours. There really wasn't much to do around the base so we decided to spend the day in Alexandria, until Jerome was free to go.

We went to the mall. Spencer picked out a new pair of swim trunks and the girls a bikini. We had lunch and then headed back to Leesville.

We picked Jerome up and then headed to the hotel so he could shower.

We went to dinner, a place Jerome told us about. The kids were all wanting to try crawfish and alligator, so we went to Catfish Junction.

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After placing our order about twenty minutes later our waiter came out to let us know that they had run out of crawfish. The kids were disappointed but Jerome promised them he would make sure that he got them crawfish from Louisianna before they left.

We went back to the hotel, put our pajamas on and Spencer and Jerome started doing what they always do.....wrestling.

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I know this is one of the things our kids, especially Spencer, one thing that they really miss when Jerome is gone.


Saturday we slept in, had breakfast at the hotel and went swimming.

We had lunch at a local Mexican restaraunt there by the base.

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Then we had to go to the base, Jerome had to pick up some things he needed from his room.

He drove around showing our kids different places he had been for training and what he had done.

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Since it was a room full of men, the girls and I stayed outside.

Natalie and Katie entertained themselves while we waited by playing more hand games.

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We stopped at Alligator Lake and let the kids play on the playground (there REALLY isn't a lot to do around the base).

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At first Spencer was sitting with Jerome and I asking us how much longer we had to be here and that he was bored. I guess he gave up on being bored and decided to join Natalie and Katie.

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They were all LOVING Jerome pushing them on this spinning thing.

Then it was Jerome's turn...they warned him it would make him dizzy.

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Jerome had to sit down when they were finished with him.

Then the kids convinced me to try it out. They weren't kidding about it making you dizzy. I love how Jerome is laughing at me (I was barely standing at this point).

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Then later on our way back to our hotel we stopped at a place called Mud Bugs and Jerome picked up some crawfish. We went back to the hotel and Jerome taught them how to peel and eat crawfish.

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Katie wouldn't eat it at first but ten minutes later she was sitting at the table with Jerome and Spencer eating the crawfish. I tried one, it was good....but Jerome peeled it for me.

Katie picked out a few and called them her "family" and gave strict instructions that no one was to eat her family of crawfish.

When they were at the end of the bucket of crawfish, Jerome looked at Katie and said, "You know you are about to lose your family". Katie laughed and shared the rest of her crawfish with her Daddy.

Then we went swimming in the pool and later climbed into bed.
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