“are you pregnant?”

In the last few weeks quite a few girls I went to High School with got engaged and/or married.

My graduating class are all around 25 years old now; we graduated in 2007. It’s a fairly average and appropriate age in our society to get engaged/married.

Seeing all of the positive comments on Facebook with each announcement; “congratulations!” and “I’m so happy for you”, make me think back to my own engagement and wedding.

I shared my feelings on a Military S/O Facebook page; how seeing those comments makes me a little sad since the majority of the comments I got when I was engaged were “why?” and “are you pregnant?”

The most common response I got form the other spouses was “they are haters!” and “they are just jealous!”

I disagree.

I do not think that the people who made those comments to me when I got engaged at 19 were “haters”.

First off, 19 is very young in our society to get married. Where as 25 is acceptable and average. So of course the comments will be different.

Looking back at the responses I received when I announced my engagement, I see two different motives to the negative comments:

#1 – people my own age who are nowhere near that phase in their life and simply cannot understand why I would want to get engaged.

I was a Sophomore in college when I got engaged. Most of my friends were single and focusing on school. Those who were in relationships were not living with their significant other and not planning to until after graduation. Marriage was a much further off event in their life plan.

So when they asked me “why?” when I told them I was getting engaged; I don’t think that they were jealous or “haters”. They simply didn’t understand why and have no desire to be in my shoes.

Now that I am 25, most girls my age would love to be engaged. So when my former classmates post their ring pictures on Facebook the comments of “I’m so happy for you” are genuine. Those women would love to be the one with the ring.

#2 – adult family friends and family members who are worried that I am making a mistake and don’t want me to be hurt.

It took me a while to realize that when my parents and other relatives did not immediately break into “congratulations” when I announced my engagement, it was coming from a place of love.

They were older. Had been married, divorced and married again. They were looking at me as a child in their eyes, just barely out of my teens. They saw me as someone to be protected from pain and hurt. To be protected from making mistakes.

I’m 25 now. When I see girls who are 18/19 getting married, I think they are babies. I think that they might be making a mistake, and I want to protect them from that potential pain. I image my feelings are a small comparison to what my parents felt when their little girl decided to make such a life changing decision.

So as much as I am jealous of the positive comments that my cohort is receiving on their engagements and wedding; I get it. I understand that my age made the difference. They aren’t haters or jealous, they are just a reflection of the society that we live in. A society where there is an appropriate age to tie the knot, and an inappropriate age. I happened to fall into the latter.

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Memorial Day – (what it means to me)

This morning when I woke up my newsfeed was filled with Memorial Day posts, almost completely shared by my fellow military friends.

When I was younger, Memorial Day was lost on me. Like many American’s I simply enjoyed my day off from work/school and celebrated the start of summer.

Now that I am a military wife and I am so completely immersed in the military life, Memorial Day is an emotional and powerful day for me.

As I’ve said before, my husband has a safe job as far as military jobs go. He is a helicopter mechanic, which means that even when he is deployed to a combat zone he stays on a secure base.

The luxury I have of not being filled with worry when he serves overseas is not one that all military spouses get to enjoy. I wanted to take today to share a story of one of those spouses, and her husband who was KIA in Afghanistan in 2010.

Jeremy deployed to Afghanistan for his first deployment in November of 2010.

During this time I decided to get more connected with the military community and meet fellow military spouses for support as we were going though our first deployment. I went to a few get togethers and BBQ’s, met a lot of young military spouses and added a ton of new wives on Facebook in hopes of sparking a friendship.

One of those spouses was Katie.

Her husband was infantry, and he deployed on his second tour around the same time that Jeremy did.

On December 1, 2010 he was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.

I didn’t know Katie very well, one quick meeting at a busy house party and a brief FB friendship, and I had never met her husband. However, his death impacted me in a very significant way.

For the first time I knew someone who had lost a loved on in war. Not Vietnam or WWII, but someone my own age, serving in a war being fought in my generation.

Having an Uncle or a Grandfather who served years ago, one that you remember in passing on Veteran’s Day or wear a Go Army shirt for on the 4th of July is a completely different experience then sending your spouse, child or parent off to a war with the knowledge that they might not come home.

I used to be that person. Although my husband is a Marine and was serving in Afghanistan, I hadn’t yet realized what that really means.

It means that not everyone has a homecoming. Not all the men who wear the same uniform that my husband does will get to come home to their family. It means that war is real. It’s more than just a flag you fly at half mast on Memorial Day. It’s widows who will never feel their husbands arms around them again. It’s children who will grow up without their fathers.

Today is the day that we remember those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their nation. Today is the day that I remember Chad and Katie.

*reposted from last year: Memorial Day – what it means to me

Initial Attraction

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Last week (May 16) marked 6 years since Jeremy and I first met and started dating (we count the day we met as the start of our relationships, even though we didn’t make it official until a few weeks later. After the first meeting, we both actively pursued each other and neither had any other romantic interests).

Our anniversary correspond with me reading a prompt online; “what first attracted you to your spouse”.

The prompt made me really take a look back at those first few conversations/interactions I had with Jeremy. What initially drew me in and welcome his attention.

The physical is easiest to pinpoint. I’ve always had a “type”. Tall, white, skinny, county and short hair. Aside from one half-latino guy I briefly dated, all of my boyfriends have met at least 4 out of 5 the criteria. I suppose I’m a creature of habit!

Just one look at Jeremy and I knew that he was 99% my type (taller than me, white, skinny and with a military hair cut). The final selling piece was his boots. At the time we met, Jeremy was going through his “California” phase; he thought that California girls didn’t like country boys, so he was trying to be more suave. But he couldn’t part with his boots. Authentic and well worn cowboy boots; still covered with dirt and cow poop from his days on the farm.

Those boots were what got me hooked.

But the physical is such a small part of what initially attracted me to Jeremy.

What was most attractive to me was his goodness.

With just a few conversations, I knew that he as a old-fashioned and honorable man.

The kind of man who would answer his phone at 2 am and drive out to a bar to pick up a drunk friend who needed a ride. The kind of man who would pull over to help a stranger change a tire. The kind of man who wouldn’t pressure a girl for sex or try to take advantage of a situation (aka, our exact situation the night we met)

I think that drew me to him because that is a quality that I respect and admire. Something that I wish I had more of.

It also drew me to him, because it’s a quality of a good life partner, and I’m a practical women. Yes, I wanted love and butterflies, but I also wanted a man who was honorable and trustworthy. A man who I knew would honor him commitment. A man who would never cheat on me or hurt me.

A man like Jeremy.

What qualities initially attracted you to your spouse?

TBT: Surviving Deployment – the first few weeks

The next time I heard from Jeremy was the following morning, he was at the airport in Maine waiting for his next flight on the journey to Afghanistan. We chatted briefly, but he didn’t have much time to talk other than to check in with me.

Three days later, I finally got the call that he had made it safe and was all settled in on base.

I remember driving to school on that third day with no contact, it was the longest we had gone without talking to each other.

When that “unknown” number showed up on my phone, I immediately pulled over and excitedly answered the call. It was such a huge relief to finally hear his voice.

For the remainder of his deployment we had regular contact with each other. He was never able to get his Skype to work very well, but we always had email and sometimes phone calls.

Talking to other military wives who were also going through deployments at the same time, taught me to be very grateful for the communication that I did have.

I never had to wait weeks to hear from my husband; wondering if he was safe, wondering if he was injured, wondering if I would get that knock on my door.

Every deployment experience is different, and most of that has to due with the service members job.

Jeremy’s job involves being on a base working on aircraft and having computer access. Which means that we were blessed with frequent contact and I was never in fear for his safety.

There was an element of danger, of course. He was in Afghanistan during a time of war.

But compared to many of the other spouses that I knew, who were married to service members that were infantry or had another more dangerous job, my deployment experience was tame.

And that is something that I will always be appreciate.

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Getting Married Quickly – not a good idea?

I’ve been seeing this photo a few places online over the last few days; always sparking some kind of debate

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The responses are what you would expect:

Women citing that they got married after (some time less than a year) and they have been married for (10+ years).

The other half of the women saying that they aren’t married yet, and they are waiting 2+ years to tie the knot and/or they waited 2+ years to get married and that as a result their marriage is better/deeper/stronger/etc.

To summarize, everyone thinks that their decision was the right one and the other side was wrong.

Everyone but me.

I got married after knowing my husband for 9 months.

I’m still very happily married (over 5 years)

I DO NOT recommend getting married as quickly as I did.

Let me first make it clear that I don’t regret my choice to marry quickly. I love my husband very much and I am so happy with how my life has turned out.

But I will be the first to say that I did not know Jeremy completely or fully when we got married. After knowing each other for 9 months we had just scratched the surface.

I hadn’t seen him interact with his mother. I hadn’t seen how he would treat a sick animal. I hadn’t seen him sleep deprived or angry.

I only knew part of who he is, and I liked what I had discovered enough to promise my future to him.

I got lucky that the rest of him was just as amazing as the parts that I knew when we said “I do”

Our marriage has taken work, of course, it’s not all luck. But luck certainly payed a big part of it.

I am lucky that he is the kind of man who has infinite patience with his mentally ill mother. I am lucky that he cleans up our puppy’s trow up at 2am without a single complaint. I am lucky that he never yells, insults or curses at me when he is angry, no matter how sleep deprived he is.

I am luck that he is a better man that who I thought he was when we got married.

People are complex. To this day there are still things that I am learning about myself. So while you may be a lucky couple that ends up with 50+ years of happy marriage after getting hitched after 2 months. I think the chances of long term success are much higher if you take the time to truly get to know the person you will be stuck with for the rest of your life.