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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Life goes on

Posted Thursday, January 21, 2010, at 3:32 PM

Life in our household has drastically changed recently. My husband Justin, left last week for Basic Training for the National Guard. We had discussed him joining the National Guard for quite a while before finalizing everything in October. It was something that he had talked about doing for some time, and after many discussions, research and speaking with a recruiter, we decided that it would be a good move for him and our family.

The National Guard offered many benefits for Justin and our family, such as better health insurance for our family, extra income and the opportunity for Justin to go back to school and have some of his schooling paid for. Right now, Justin is an EMT basic, but he's thought a lot about going back to school for a degree of some kind and he's considered taking a paramedic course. While we had our worries about it, we decided that the Guard might open up a new world of opportunities for Justin, and for our family, so the decision was made.

We knew he would be away for quite awhile for Basic and AIT Training, but we thought that we could handle it. He's doing wonderful so far, but I have realized how much harder it is to parent alone and how much I have depended on my husband to help.

I have always appreciated my husband, he does a lot of wonderful things for us, including helping me with the everyday chores of having a family: dishes, laundry, cooking meals, etc. He also helps me get the kids bathed and ready each day. Justin is also the one to fix things around the house when they break (because I would only make them worse) and often helps with car things, like making sure the oil is changed regularly, etc. Now, I'm in charge of taking care of it all and after one full week, I can honestly say that I have found a new appreciation for all the little things he did and for all the families out there that are separated on a regular basis.

I know that many families do without someone important all the time. I know there are many military families out there now that are functioning with out a mom or a dad, because they may be overseas or doing some other important work. I only have to do this for about six months, I can't imagine doing it for a year or more! It has really made me appreciate these people, those who can balance being everything for their family and children while someone is away. It's tough work, both physically and emotionally.

Thankfully, I have a very large, wonderful support group of family and friends that are willing to help out day or night. I have thought about what it would be like without them, say if I had to relocate to follow my husband and he was gone for a year or more and I'm not sure I could manage. I don't know how so many people find the strength to do that while their spouses or other family are away. This opportunity has really opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. I take care of the kids, the house work, paying the bills, everything. I feel as though it's good for me, although very difficult, to learn to function and maintain everything on my own, and I know it has made me appreciate my husband more and more everyday.

The kids are adjusting rather well, it's remarkable how strong children are. My son has stepped up and is trying to be "mommy's helper" and having him help me makes things much easier. He's my fetcher, he gathers things for me in the morning so I can make sure all the essentials make it out the door. I think having them both helps when I'm feeling down too, because any time I feel sad or lonely, I just hug them or watch them play and smile and it makes me stronger. They have no idea how much strength they give me each day and even on the worst days, when I want to lay in bed forever, they remind me of all that I have to do, everything I have to look forward to. Having him away is hard, probably one of the hardest things we've ever gone through, but it could be worse. His absence is only temporary and the benefits are going to really good for us. Plus, no one really knows what doors could be opened for us because of this. As hard as it is, each day that ends is another day closer to him being home and each morning, I'm reminded that life goes on, whether we feel ready for it to or not.

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I am the Editorial Assistant for The Fort Scott Tribune, where I have been employed since March of 2008. I live in the country near Mapleton, Kan., with my husband and our two children. I graduated from Uniontown High School, Uniontown, Kan., but before attending Uniontown, I moved around several times during my childhood. I love to take photos, write, read and spend time with my family. I am also a member of our local fire department and enjoy attending church with my family and appreciate everything a small town has to offer. I look forward to watching my children grow and spending time with my husband and family while living in the country.
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