Let me go ahead and preface this by saying "I'm okay :)". Yes today is hard, so was yesterday and tomorrow will be too. But overall I make it through each day with my head up and my heart open.
As most of you know May 17th 2008 was the day I said "I do" to 1LT Todd Weaver. Life was just getting started and I was ready to be a proud Army wife. As we exchanged vows I couldn't hear the pastor (sorry Jon). I was so lost in bliss in those moments leading up to our first kiss as man and wife. I was excited for the new path set in front of me, the opportunities to meet new people, see new places, start the family I'd been dying for.
Was it always easy? NO. Was it always worth it? YES. July 5th, 2008 we made the move to Ft. Benning Georgia---a place that I still can't appreciate. We lived in a dungeon of an apartment where the paint was chipping off the walls and the appliances where older than I was. It was dark and muggy and the cockroaches were the size of small birds. It was a shock to say the least. There was some sulking and hoping that this new lifestyle wasn't always going to mean spending time alone in the apartment just waiting for him to get off work. Luckily I began to get involved with the Family Readiness Group and eventually met some other wives. And this is where some of the most important women in my life began to come into my life.
And life only got better from there. That fall I was beginning to needle Todd about trying for a baby- although he was determined to wait until he was finished with Ranger School. Well I poked and prodded and made some pretty convincing arguments and he eventually caved :). So December 5th, 2008 I found out I was pregnant and all hopes of a surprise announcement were shot the minute he walked through the door! It was written all over my face. Todd's reaction: shock and disbelief. Am I grateful that I nagged him to try early? Absolutely! For if I had let Todd have his way Kiley would have been 6 months old instead of 9 months when he left for Afghanistan. She was saying Dada before she ever said Mama and he always let me know that meant she liked him better! Did she understand who he was in her life? I don't really know. She was so young. But I can tell you this. She will know her Dada is always here, always protecting her, and is always in her heart.
May 17th - today- would be our 3rd anniversary. It's a day that reminds me of my commitment and the reasons I said "I do". The supporting role of any military spouse is one that should not be taken lightly. I can't say I always considered the possibility of losing Todd. I was still so new to the Army life that I worried about the little things....like on which side I was suppose to stand, how I was to address his superior officers, and whether or not I would ever have to be an FRG leader. So silly compared to what I know now. While the traditions and the polite observances are important- the most important aspect of being a military wife is treasuring every moment with your husband. Create memories. Take the time to know your husband's heart, his hopes, his fears, his ambitions for your family. Always be prepared to stand by him in hard times. It saddens me to no end when I hear about injured soldiers whose wives cannot handle taking care of them. The selfishness sickens me. I would gladly -with honor- care for Todd had he come home injured. There are some amazingly strong women that I've been blessed to know who have had to take on this role. I may be ranting some but knowing that my husband was taken home to Heaven makes it difficult for me to see these kinds of things happen to our brave soldiers.
I can't be bitter for the way Kiley and I's lives have changed, it's not my call in the end. It is a hard life now. Can I handle it? I certainly can. Would I have chose it? No. Philippians 4:11 teaches us to be content in all circumstances. That's heavy and I'm struggling, but I'm open to learning how Todd's ultimate sacrifice will shape my future as a mother, and a Christian. And on this day I am reflecting on how much I have changed with Todd's guidance and love. His gift to me for our 3rd anniversary is courage. Courage to tackle each day with the same spirit he would have.
And on May 21st you can find me at Arlington National Cemetery. This was the last day that Todd walked on American soil. He held Kiley and stepped away to spend some quiet moments with her. What he whispered to her I may never know. And as we left that day I thought to myself "it's only a year".
There will be many days with special significance that come up throughout the year. I wish Todd were here to celebrate this anniversary. I wish he was here for our birthdays and holidays. But we cannot pity ourselves for the hand we were dealt. We can only hope to live life fully and hope that we remain in good standing with the Lord so that when the time comes Todd will greet us all in Heaven. Thank you Baby for being such a motivator of men, family man, and good Christian!