Snapshot of an Army Wife

I am an Army wife.

I complain about boots left in the living room but then I remember one day those boots will have to leave.

I hang the same pictures every three years but I do it on different walls.

I can open the pickle jar but I have him do it when he’s here.

I tear up when I see a blue star banner or a yellow ribbon around a tree but I know the pride that comes with them.

I cry for fallen soldiers I did not know and pray for wives I’ll never meet but they would do the same for me.

I’m not afraid of the night but I’m terrified of the darkness that steals into his dreams and causes him to wake in a sweat.

I may not know my zip code or which road leads to my house but I have the ultimate understanding of home.

I know chocolate doesn’t go in a care package but it doesn’t matter because candy bars aren’t what he’ll miss the most.

I’m not supposed to hold his hand or grab his butt in uniform but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to.

I don’t salute the flag like he does but I love it just as much.

I know the military alphabet but military time still slows me down.

I’m strong enough to send him to war but that doesn’t mean I want to.

I have no family here but I’m surrounded by”sisters” .

I look forward to long weekends but I know Memorial Day is much more than just the start of summer.

I don’t know the exact meaning of “Hooah” but I know exactly when to use it.

I’m not a hero but I’m lucky enough to be married to one.

I am an Army wife but most importantly I am his wife.

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Jenn-Pineo/128405763947682

Letter to a Military Mom

Dear Military Mom,

I wonder how often you think of your son. Not the man he turned into but the boy he used to be. Do you miss finding Legos, toy soldiers and lost shoes in the living room? Do you ever think back to the last drawing you hung on the refrigerator? If you had known it would be the last one, would you have kept it up a little longer? Do trains and dump trucks make you miss the boy you used to know? Does it seem like just yesterday he was playing tag in the yard and making a mess with water guns? Do you still think about the days when he would ride all day through the neighborhood on his bike? Do you remember holding his hand, kissing him good-night and having him sleep under your roof? Do you remember worrying about keeping him safe and making sure he he didn’t get hurt? Do you look at the grown man and wonder when the little boy disappeared?

Things have changed now. His re-enlistment photo has replaced his 5th grade school picture. His most recent address is hanging where the crayon drawing used to be. His boots still get left in the living room but it’s a living room in another state or maybe half a world away. Helicopters and tanks probably still make you think of him especially if they are Army green. His games of tag has been replaced with four mile runs before the sun comes up. His water gun is now a rifle that he shoots with amazing accuracy. You wait for phone calls and emails that never seem to come often enough in spite of his best intentions. He travels the world but you love his visits because for a few days he’s home and under your roof again. You still worry about him being  safe and you always will. Being a mom gives you that right.

While most women struggle to raise their sons from boys to men, you were able to turn a boy into a hero. You did your job well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You raised a man I love as much as you do. Happy Mother’s Day.

Love,

Your Daughter-in-Law (An Army Wife)

While this blog is addressed to an unnamed military mom, I wrote it specifically for “Moms”, my mother-in-law. I love my mother-in-law and I  know how lucky I am.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenn-Pineo/128405763947682

Letter for the Flag

Dear Old Glory,

All too soon the sun will rise. The day will start and time will, as always, refuse to stand still. Coffee will be made, lunches will be packed and yellow buses will pick-up growing children. Just another day for most of America. Tomorrow though, many of my friends will say good-bye to their husbands and send them off to war.

You’ll be there in the room quietly watching hearts break. You’ll see the tears and forced smiles. You’ll witness lucky pennies, Daddy don’t go’s and family prayers. You’ll understand that one more kiss leads to four more. You know because you’ve seen it millions of times before. You know that’s how it is when you love you someone so much. The sadness will fill the room but you’ve never doubted the strength of those going or those left behind. You will clearly see the sacrifices each one is making.

The man by the door will miss his daughter’s graduation. That young private will not hold his son until he is two months old. The woman in the corner will miss the tooth fairy’s first visit. That sergeant will not sleep well until he’s once again sleeping with his wife. They will all miss birthdays, movie nights and family. The sense of home will stop being a reality and become a longing. And then, much too soon, those soldiers will pick you up and carry you off to dusty lands. As the journey begins, you’ll wave goodbye knowing the last thing their families will see is you.

You will be the only loved one those soldiers see for the next nine months. The only one they love that they can take when they go. Be there for them. Through holidays, sleepless nights and homesickness, be there. Remind them that they are all a part of something greater than themselves. Thousands of miles from their lives, be a symbol of hope and a reminder of home. Be there for them because they all will need you.

You will be the one they carry into war. In the dust, fear and adrenaline, you will see what they see and go where they go. You will know the stories that they will never bring home and the nightmares that wake them long after they return. You will see mankind at its best and at its worst. You will see destruction, hurt and heartache. But, you couldn’t be in better hands for it is their job to keep you safe.

If the unthinkable happens and tragedy comes, you will then have the most humbling job of all. You will pick them up, hold them close and lovingly carry them home. A final thank you for all the times they have willingly carried you. Silently, giving your reassurance even in that final journey that you are there for them as they’ve always been for you.

Halfway around the world, we will be waiting for them to come home. Remind them of that, for it’s only when they are all home that we will be able to exhale.

An Army Wife

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenn-Pineo/128405763947682

Letter From a Military Wife

Dear America,

I’m pretty sure you don’t know me although you’re probably convinced that you do. You’ve seen me (or someone like me) on the news, in the paper or on a Lifetime tv show. You might have witnessed our tearful airport good-bye or clapped at our  reunion. You might spot me by my bumper sticker, license plate or “Red T-shirt on Friday”. It might be my accent or longing for Dunkin Donuts that gives away the fact that I’m not from around here. Another military wife.

I’m not just another military wife though. Actually, none of us are. There are things you don’t know about us. Things that you can’t see in twenty seconds on the news or find in a front page photo. There are things that are hidden in the tearful goodbyes and forgotten in the sweet hellos. I am more than a bumper sticker, a red t-shirt, a northeast accent and a longing for good coffee. We all are and really, I just want you to see that.

We are called the silent ranks but it’s never said why we are silent. I’m here to tell you it’s because we are waiting. We are holding our breath. It’s easy to be silent when you’re afraid to exhale. We wait…on letters, phone calls, emails and homecomings. But there’s more. We wait on training schedules, new commanders, duty rosters and dates for the field. We wait for leave approval and four-day weekends. We wait for dinner or else someone has to eat it cold. We wait for orders, Transportation, dates, and housing. We sometimes have to wait on Christmas, birthday and anniversary celebrations. We wait for phone calls that will always come at the worst possible moments and require you to give up a perfectly wonderful Saturday evening. We wait to see what last-minute changes will happen because we all know there will be some. We wait on life filled with uncertainty. We don’t usually see it that way though. To us, we are loving a soldier and couldn’t imagine life any other way.

Next time you see me, or someone just like me, notice me. And softly remind me to stop holding my breath. It might be the first time I’ve remembered to exhale all day.

An Army Wife