Sunday, December 19, 2010

A little background information....

I have a had few messages asking how Paul & I  met ? When we where married & how many times we have moved around. So I thought I'd give a quick recap of the past 17 years of our relationship for you all.
I met Paul through my brother who went to Basic with him at Fort Benning, GA back in 1990. Only speaking with those two knuckleheads over the phone for a few years while I was in college. I would send both guys care packages to Alaska when I was in college, but never met Paul in person until 1994 at my brother's wedding. I flew up to Fairbanks, AK for the wedding in July 94' . At a dinner I got a glimpse of my future husband leaning over a staircase to say "Hi"- he was NOT what I expected. My brother had labeled a picture wrong & Paul was a different person all together. I was hooked by the time the rehearsal dinner was over !! I had to go out with him again soon but we where both dating other people at the time.After the wedding I flew back to Nashville to finish college & he stayed in AK. We started our long distance phone conversations that led to me flying up to Fairbanks for Thanksgiving of 94' & the rest is ancient history as they say.

He put in for a transfer to Fort Campbell, KY in the summer of 95' & I graduated from Lipscomb. We where engaged by August of 95' & planning a wedding. We had hoped to have a Spring wedding but of course the Army had other plans. Paul was to deploy to Panama in April of 96' so we moved our wedding date to January 6, 1996 & our life has been an adventure ever since!
I have done several "small" deployments through out Paul's military career. Small to most Army spouses is anything under  3 or 4 months. The Army does training all over so Paul has been to Panama,Japan, Guam, Korea, Iraq & soon Afghanistan . The most stressful times for me where the Iraq deployments. So I can only imagine how hard him leaving for Afghanistan will be for the boys & me. 
The first deployment to Iraq was in Nov of 2003 from Ft. Lewis.I had 4 children & the oldest was only 6 years old at the time! I helped stay busy with weekly Bible study groups & helping be a Point of Contact (POC) for Paul's families.We got very few emails & fewer phone calls as it was still the early days of the conflict. I finally had Yahoo Instant Message towards the middle of the deployment. I would wait up until really late in the evening to hear that wonderful "ping" sound when Paul would log in to his account. Some nights it never came.He returned safely to us in Oct of 2004. We where lucky to move over to a new Stryker Brigade they had just started on post because we weren't suppose to deploy for at least 24 months! Little did we know how fast that unit would get certified & leave for another deployment to Iraq in April of 2007.

I think we both felt the second deployment would be so easy a piece of cake as we had survived the first relatively easily. Paul took over a new Recon Platoon two weeks before the unit deployed which was great but a little unnerving for us both. We knew the soldiers but he hadn't had the chance to train with them as much as he had hoped before he left.Off they went on April 2007.Little did we know that day he left our world would be shaken to it's core & our marriage tested for 13 long agonizing months.
Paul's dad had a massive stroke the first few weeks he was gone,so in June he had to fly to Wyoming because we weren't sure he would live. I flew out to meet him & the family- he had only been gone a few weeks.But the unit had already lost two soldiers during that time & I was feeling the stress already. He flew back to Iraq after twelve days & I never saw him again until  May of 2008.During that time he would loose four of his men & his best friend as well. I would attend many more memorials for our Fallen then I had ever done in my life. I cried myself to sleep almost every night due to stress & worry. It was a long 13 months & this was not the "piece of cake" deployment Paul & I thought it was going to be when he left. Finally on May 5th 2008 two days before his birthday- the boys & I picked our Soldier up from Post!! We all cried so many tears as we where just so thankful God had let him return safely to us one more time. Set out to enjoy a quiet reunion time & wait for the rest of his guys to return as he was on ADVON. After the Main body returned in June of 2008 we all thought we could rest & relax but that just wasn't in the plan.
 "The Surge" began & once more our guys where called up for a rapid deployment & got ready to leave for Iraq again.It fell in April again & off they went. (See pictures of the last moments before the leave) To say I was nervous was putting it lightly. Paul was now a 1SG & had a whole new job. He was no longer in charge of 37 guys but over 125 soldiers fell into his hands. I was the FRG leader & felt I knew most of the families this time as a lot of the guys had already deployed with Paul two previous times. This deployment started off with a bang as I received the first call of our wounded as I drove down the road. I had to pull over when I heard the names of the wounded as once more one of them was a very close friend to Paul & I. Thankful to God that they all recovered & weren't hurt worse. There was no R&R for Paul for 9 months as he waited to see if he could come home a little early & stay after he changed out of his job.The boys & I managed filling our days with school, friends,& FRG activities. Finally on May 3rd this time , four days before his birthday Paul arrived home to Seattle airport. We still weren't sure if it was for good or just R&R but we didn't care! He was HOME! Turned out he was able to stay & find a new Unit/job that we thought was undeployable. He made the transition & we started in a whole new job for the first time in 6 1/2 years. New soldiers , new families, NO Deployments!!

Well as of last Tuesday  December the 14th that all changed again. Paul came home to let me know to prepare myself for another deployment but this time to Afghanistan. I didn't sob, but the tears slid down my face as I asked how we where going to tell the kids. He had only been home 7 months & I have to say we are still both exhausted. Not really physically but more mentally drained from the stress of back to back deployments. The kids are finally adjusted back to our normal routines & happy. This just wasn't fair!
I am normally the very supportive Army wife, never say " I can't do this" it's always "We got this!" & I move along. But I won't lie I had my moment of " I can't do this," "Why me?", & just flat out "NO!!". I cried all  night & got no sleep. Friends took me out the next day sleep deprived & helped me try to forget for awhile. With out these special Army wives who are more like family I surely would have sat in the house in tears all day. By the next day I was ready I could do this again because I had too be supportive for Paul & the boys. The press released dropped & I cried a little more. I still randomly tear up but I know we will be fine. I know the coming months will be filled with Paul training getting ready to leave. We still need to unpack his bags & boxes that sit in the garage unopened from Iraq. We will repack them change the labels to his new unit & kiss him goodbye. By the time he leaves he will know the boys & I will be fine. I can pay the bills, get the oil changed, help kids with homework, do the doctors appointments, meet his families, try to live my life for a year through pictures just for him.I can do all these things because I have done them before & his mind needs to be on his mission. Because the most important thing in my world & the boys world is him walking through those gym doors one more time at the end of 2012.I can do all these things with the help from God, my family, my friends, & because I know Paul loves me no matter how hard it gets!


Anonymous said...

Amanda, you are such a strong woman. I know how hard these deployments have been for you. All wives can learn from your example. This is a great idea. Remember always if you need any thing just ask. We love and pray for all of you and prayers will increase until Paul is safely home again. Alice

Amanda said...

Miss Alice we love you & Jim too! Please tell him to be ready because you know the minute Paul tells me goodbye & deploys my whole Van will start to fall apart!! If it doesn't this time then whatever will our mechanic do with his time?? Thank you for both of you always helping the boys & I out when Paul is away

Big Hugs to you both!

Lisa C said...

I have known you before and through these deployments, but reading through the experience through your eyes brought tears. You are SO a "can do" girl.
Paul must very proud of his girl in diamonds :)

Hugs and Blessings,