Coffee with Me

PSA: Military Wives not Single Moms February 19, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family — Melissa @ 6:45 am

I’m sure this will make some roll their eyes. But that’s okay. It’s my blog and just hope that you might see my heart in this.

Military wives are not single moms while their husbands are deployed.

I think it’s offensive to single moms to say that. I know when you say, “I’m a single mom right now,” you’re not saying it to be offensive. But that’s why I’m posting this to let you know, that to a single mom, it can be hurtful.

See, I was a single mom once. For 5 years. I know the difference.

When I was a single mom, ALL the decisions were made by me. All the money had to be made by me. There were not 2 heads in which to talk things out, or debate, or figure out the best route for the family. There was just me. There wasn’t someone else helping out financially. There was just me. When my daughter was sick, and I didn’t work, that meant I might not be able to pay the insurance that month, or the electric. Deciding on what to do in those situations is very stressful.

When you’re a single mom, you don’t get a break from the stress of being THE ONE that both you and your child have to count on. Now it’s not that I didn’t have family around me. I did! I’m really glad I did. But ultimately the bottom line is that it was all me.

As a military wife, when my husband is deployed, I still don’t work. I’m free to just take care of the children and enjoy the fact that the paycheck hits the checking account 2 times a month. (Even if I did work, there is knowledge that I didn’t HAVE to work.) I still have my husband there to help with decisions. Yes, the day to day living falls on me, but the life choices regarding our family does not fall on just me.

It just isn’t the same.

A friend told me that it’s hard when her husband is so involved with the children, taking them places on the weekends, family devotions, just really being very involved, and then to have him leave and not be there doing that. I know it is. And the more involved the dad, the harder it will be. But the knowledge of what he does, who he is, the love he has for those kids, that knowledge is there. His children will not forget that. The family can still function as a family knowing that dad will return.

Out of respect for true single moms, please don’t call yourself one. Say, “My husband is deployed right now.” Or something similar. Because you are married. Even if he is not physically present, you are not single.

Thank you.


Military Homecomings – Part 4 February 18, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 3:00 pm

This post is the final in a 4 part series about Roy’s homecoming last September. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

When we had gone down the field, the buses had just arrived on base. However, the Marines still have weapons to turn in and any last word to be given needs to be passed.

While were waiting on the field, I kept hearing other family members on the phone with their Marine. Talking about how the Marines were on the buses. They were coming soon. And then we’d all rush to the white line. And then nothing. I won’t get into the details as to why there were delays…there just were.  And it was awful. The kids were getting grumpy. It was cold. Leah was clinging to me and wouldn’t go back to sleep in the stroller. I felt awful that my friend had been up all night.

I had reached a point where I didn’t want Roy to come home right then. All I wanted was my bed. Sleep. Maybe we could try again the next day?

Yes. Well. It doesn’t work that way. I’m thinking all these things in my head. I’m picturing him getting off the bus and the kids fussing at him or not wanting to hug him or talk to him. I pictured myself grumping at him for being “late” when it wasn’t his fault!

I took a few moments and prayed. Just prayed for patience. And peace. And to be able to just focus on the moment.

Thankfully it wasn’t much longer after that and we heard that the buses were on their way.

We stood at the rope line and waited.

We heard the buses first….and then saw them. There were 10 buses. Which would he be on???

We waved and waved hoping that he would see us easily and be able to find us!! There were lights but it was still dark out and all those Marines look the same in their uniforms.

Thankfully he was on the bus right in front of us, and he spotted us as soon as he got off.

The first hugs are oh so sweet. No one wants to let go.

How I missed that smile.

Matt helps him collect his bags, and we head off for home.

We survived. The deployment AND the homecoming. 😉


Military Homecomings – Part 3 February 17, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 1:00 am

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post.

I was joking about the vacation. Sort of. I actually did get to get away for a weekend. The weekend right before Roy came home. He came earlier than expected! Before leaving for the weekend (San Francisco for a cousin’s wedding) I got a lot done around the house. Made plans for the homecoming, had the sign done, etc.

For anyone anticipating a homecoming with a bunch of kids, I highly recommend the weekend away. I focused on ME for the weekend, and by the time I got home, I felt in a better frame of mind for the homecoming. I didn’t want Roy to come home and then have me check out mentally regarding the children. There isn’t an excuse for that, but it’s easy to think, “Well, I’ve been doing this by myself for the past 6 or 7 months, and now it’s your turn.” I didn’t WANT to really do that, and that weekend away really helped me a lot. (Thank you to the friends who watched my children for me!!!)

The day has arrived. He’s flying home today. I bought 2 new dresses. Which will I wear? We find out he’ll be home in the middle of the night. Do I get the kids up? Will my friend who is coming to take pictures still want to come? Does the house look good? I should clean the van. Change the sheets.

We made signs and hung them up. Samantha was a huge help. She really kept me focused! Here’s are a couple posts from another unit’s homecoming that explains how the signs are hung up here. Here and here and pictures here.

We hung up a sing on the front of the house that the kids made. Then we hung one that I had ordered up on the fenceline. I forgot to take pictures of it!!

We ended up leaving the house about 1:00am and met my friend Shannan down there (who was going to help with the kids and take pictures for me). The Marines were delayed and didn’t get to the reunion field until 5:00am. What a night!

Here are a few pictures of us waiting. It was September so it was still hot during the day (we’re in the desert) and usually was still in the 70’s or 80’s at night. But this particular night it really got chilly!

Other people sitting around waiting also.

The bounce house to help keep the children occupied.

The Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) “roach coach” with free snacks and drinks.

The band that entertained us for a while.

Us watching the band, not cold yet!

Now we’re getting cold.

We waited on that field for over 4 hours. My nerves were shot and the kids were getting grouchy. Could we overcome that to have a happy reunion??

Final part tomorrow……..


Military Homecomings – Part 2 February 16, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 12:00 pm

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

In our family, Roy is the head. I am his helpmeet. We are both needed, but we have separate roles. My main role is taking care of the home and the children. His main role is to be the provider. Of course there are lots of other things in there, but that is the main gist. When he is home though, he makes decisions with me and I consider him when I’m making decisions when he is not home. He plays and interacts with the children each night. We’re so close to his work, that he comes home most days for lunch. I love that part of living here.

When he’s home (not on deployment) he takes care of so many things. Like the cars, and insurance, and he’ll run errands for me. He’s very active in our son’s Cub Scout Pack. Day in and day out there are just so many little things that he does for us. And when he is gone, all of that falls on me. He is still our provider, being a Marine, and earning his paycheck. But he isn’t here.

While he’s gone I still try to consider what he would have me do, or what his wishes would be concerning a matter. But I try to not bother him with mundane things each day. For example, I wouldn’t email him about Alex hitting someone and asking him what to do. Just like any other day, I just take care of it. But not having him here in the evenings to talk about those things is difficult also.

Also, I tend to become more independent while he’s gone. I spend more time with friends. I spend more time on the computer! I sleep in weird shifts. I don’t cook as much.

As the time approaches when he’ll be returning home, I must begin to make adjustments in my thinking. I want him to know that I still consider him the head of our household. I know there will be some awkward moments as he interacts with the kids and with me. But knowing that each of us is committed to our marriage and our family does make that easier!

As the day approaches for him to return home, I look at our picture more and more. It sits on the dresser in the bedroom. I’m anxious for him to hold me. I’m anxious to not feel the stress of being the ONE responsible for the children.

But mostly I start thinking about how I’d really like to take a vacation alone after he gets home. Do you think he’ll let me????

Part 3 tomorrow…. (I started writing this whole thing and realized how long it was and that’s why I’m breaking it up!)


Military Homecomings – Part 1 February 15, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 1:00 am

Even thinking of those words brings up emotions inside of me that I don’t how to label. We had a strange deployment in 2002-03 that was supposed to be for 3 months or so and ended up being 345 days long. We didn’t plan for the deployment very well at all! We thought it was going to be short.

By the time Roy got home, I didn’t want him out of my sight. And I cried AFTER he got home…a lot! It was such a relief to have him home.

This last deployment came up unexpectedly but it was a “routine” deployment. He’d be gone for 7 months or so. We’d have phone calls and emails. I entered into the deployment with sadness at the life he would miss with us, and yet with resolve, in that I married a Marine and knew what I was getting myself into.

Before he left, we headed to Sears and got pictures taken of him with each of the children as well as some family ones. Then I took one of each and turned it into a 10×10 photo and framed them for each child. We set those pictures prominently on display so the children (especially the little girls) could see him every day.

I also videotaped Roy reading some books and put those on my desktop for easy access for the children to watch him whenever they wanted.

Towards the end of the deployment we were able to Skype with him and that was really helpful, especially for the little ones. They would just stand here mesmerized at being able to see him.

While Roy is gone, I get used to doing to my own thing in the evenings. Mostly I try to keep the kids on the same schedule, doing the same sorts of things. I don’t let up on discipline or bed times. But meals are different, more simple, life is just .. a little different. Because it was over the summer we spent a lot of time going to the pool and hanging out with friends. As the homecoming approached, I had to think about how I could easily relinquish the “control” back to him.

Homecoming Part 2 tomorrow…..


Library – 29 Palms February 11, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms — Melissa @ 12:00 pm

It’s not a large library but it works for us. Rumor is that a new library is being built, a bigger and nicer one, but the date for that has not been released.

This library has a nice children’s section at the back of the building and they have several children’s programs going on, including during the summer. There is also a section of movies and tv shows that can be checked out. I’m sure the Marines enjoy the section of computers that are free to use.

Of course I would love if it was bigger, but this was a small base, and it’s grown a lot over the years. The library just hasn’t had a location in which to expand! They do carry a lot of the new releases and Roy and I like that.

The biggest negative is the lack of parking. The library is on 6th street, next to Continuing Education, across from the club, and numerous other buildings. Parking is hard to find! There is a parking lot at the corner of 6th and Sturgis but when it’s hot outside I hate even that short walk!! Call me a wimp, I know I am.


Post Office – 29 palms February 10, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms — Melissa @ 12:00 pm

It’s not real exciting folks! You might miss it if you don’t happen to see the mailboxes at the roadside. It’s the post office on base. Try to avoid it during lunchtime and Christmas. It’s on Sturgis between 3rd and 4th Streets.