To My Deployed Airman

My Dear Husband,

You may consider this a pity party post. Well, if wanting to acknowledge my husband for what he does for a living makes me sound like I’m whining, then welcome to the party. BYOB, freeloaders.

Dearest darling husband of mine. You’ve been an airman for over 2 years now. We spent the first 7 months of our marriage separated while you were in training. We moved across the country together. We have raised two big puppies together. We’ve made one beautiful baby girl together. I couldn’t be more proud of us and how far we’ve come in just 8 years of knowing each other.

But I talk about us too much. What I mean is, I don’t talk about you enough. You, just you. What you’ve done. Who you’ve become. For me, for our family, for this country.

You’re cringing already, I know.

Because for some reason you don’t really believe what you’re doing is that big of a deal. You kind of scoff and shrug it off when people acknowledge your sacrifice. It’s a humble response, sure. To think, when the ultimate sacrifice to one’s country is to give one’s life for it, you may think that what you’ve given isn’t nearly as significant.

What have you given? 

The freedom to choose where to live, for one. The comfort of family close by. The pleasantries of living in the South. The closeness of friends. The familiarity of home. The ease of travel. 

You’ve given up your time. You’re at the beckon call of your job anywhere anytime. You have to spend nearly half the year overseas. Giving up time with your wife, time in your house, time you could be spending seeing your daughter grow, learn, develop, laugh, say her first words and cut her first teeth.

Dinners. Parties. Holidays. Birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Funerals. 

And yet, all of this is an easy trade off for you, for the honor of serving something larger than all of this.

Husband, you’re amazing. And I need you to know your sacrifices mean everything to me. I’m humbled and amazed by what an honorable man you are. And no matter what you say, your job is a big deal. What you’re doing is important. Who you are and what you represent is so significant. And if it were possible for me to be speechless, I would be.

Don’t shrug it off when people thank you for your service, husband. Accept it with a full heart. Know that you can take their praise and multiply it out to the thousands who have served and sacrificed before you, so that you may serve our country today, for your family in your time.

Let all your works be made in thanks to those who have gone before you, bringing hope to the land of the brave and glory to our God Almighty.

Thank you, my airman, for being the best husband you can be and the best father our little girl could ever ask for. You honor us by sharing your name with us, and we are so proud to call you our airman. I love you.

Go get em, handsome.

Love Always & Forever, Your Mollybelle

Christmas in Snomaha

Woke up early this morning and knew we must have had snow. There’s a different kind of light from through the shades when it snows, it’s a blueish white light, and it’s brighter than mornings usually are. It’s like nature goes “Quick! Wake up and enjoy this white blanket of beauty before it gets touched!”

I smiled, checked my phone and indeed we were having snowfall last night into this morning. I rolled over, grunting and huffing with the weight of my 39-week belly, and caressed my dear husband’s face in the pale blue light. He made a sweet sound and turned his body toward me, nuzzling his head into my arm. I kept petting his hair for a while, and the thought occurred to me that these are the last few days I’ll ever have him totally to myself, without our children demanding his or my attention. I got suddenly sweetly jealous, but the feeling was quickly overwhelmed by the warm sensation of total adoration for this man I have chosen to live my life with.

Without opening his eyes, he mumbles, “You know what’s the most reassuring thing to me?” “Hmm?” I mutter. “That you look at me the same way I look at you.”

Today we’ve had a most welcome snow day. Our dogs have had the time of their lives romping around in the perfect white 6 inches outside. We took them on a long walk, which left me rather embarrassingly winded, and hubs started working on a big luge track in our backyard hill. Unfortunately due to the snow being a total surprise and the roads not being treated, we’ll have to skip the Christmas Eve service at church and our annual tradition of hibachi dinner. 

Something tells me though, that God has a very sweet, significant evening and first Christmas Day away from home & family planned for us. His plans are always better than ours anyway. While we wait not-so-patiently for the arrival of our favorite Christmas present to join us, I know He will continue to fill these moments with glorious meaning, and that this will be a time in our lives we will never forget.

  

My Husband Doesn’t Post About Me on Social Media (and That’s Fine With Me)

We’ve all seen the posts. The sappy, romantic, love-letter-like, nearly obsessive social media posts that significant others put out there about each other. Sometimes the “Man-crush Mondays” and “Woman-crush Wednesdays” can be almost nauseating to scroll through each week, especially if that particular person seems to want to boast about their bae what seems like every day of the week.

Annoying as these over-posters may be, I have to admit… I have caught myself feeling jealous of the women whose beaus gush and ogle over them online for everyone to see. It’s a strange female urge, I think, to feel adored, loved, even boasted about. As a gender we tend to be more openly self-conscious than men, feeling that we need the men in our lives to provide us with the self-confidence and self-worth we desire. I can’t think of any girl who wouldn’t like a boy to post a flattering selfie of her to Instagram for #wcw. It’s like an insta-ego boost.

My husband and I have been together for over 6 years, dating back to my high school days. I can count on one hand how many times he has posted anything online that was specifically aimed to admire me as his girlfriend or wife, and I have never been anyone’s #wcw. He doesn’t comment on my photos telling me how “gorgeous” or “hot” I am to him, and I don’t get the “I love you too, baby’s” whenever I post something admiring him. We’re happily married, and very much in love. So why doesn’t he want to show me off to the cyber world?

Because he doesn’t have to.

My husband doesn’t need to tell his followers he loves me, because he just does. So he doesn’t say I’m his woman-crush Wednesday. Maybe instead, he lets me have the cinnamon roll with the most icing on it first. Or massages my back when I’m having a bad ache. Or vacuums up the dog hair so I don’t have to. Or gives me a kiss on the forehead when I keep him awake with my tossing and turning at night.

He doesn’t need to tell the world about his love for me, because he already does it with his actions. You know that old saying “actions speak louder than words?” It’s not a saying for no reason.

I finally realized, when it comes down to it, I would much rather have a surprise hug from behind than a boastful statement made about me on Facebook. I can easily do without him sharing that “Share if your wife is a hottie!” post, when he continues to be actively faithful in our marriage day by day.

When I was able to grasp that perspective, I realized the problem with feeling social media envy is my problem, not his. That desire to be boasted about online isn’t his responsibility to satiate, because at the end of the day, it’s just irrational envy. Based solely on my husband’s actions in our relationship, I should feel more than secure enough in myself and how he truly feels about me, without him having to broadcast it for the world to see. He put a ring on my finger. He promised before God and our families to be the best man he can be for me. He sacrifices himself daily for this country as a US Airman. What more should I feel bold enough to ask for?

So that got me thinking. All those times I sit around getting nostalgic or mushy feeling, and I have the urge to post yet another memory of us for Throwback Thursday, maybe instead I should show my love for my husband in a way that actually speaks to him. Maybe I whip up a batch of his favorite homemade cookies. Maybe I surprise him at the door after work with a big sexy make-out session. Maybe instead of posting that I’m so honored to be his wife, I actually tell him face to face.

Not only do I not need him to brag about me to others in a social media forum, he doesn’t need me to either. We can find security in the daily acts of service we make for our marriage, for each other. 

So when my husband inevitably shares that new Star Wars trailer for the third time this week, you won’t see me complain. Because I know he would rather see it in theaters on opening night with no one more than me 😉


P.S. I in no way mean to condemn or criticize everyone who posts about their significant others online. If such words of affirmation are his/her love language, I hope you are showering them with love in this way! However, as with any topic one could choose to post about online, I feel that when it becomes excessive (in frequency or content) it can be a little too much. 

Thanks for reading!

20w6d

Dear Sweetie,

It’s been a week since we found out you’re a little (growing) lady! 

Daddy got to come to the ultrasound and see you for the first time. His first freak-out moment came when we saw your strong little heart pumping. “Woah… And that’s a real heart… WOAH.” We could see the chambers and the blood flowing in and out. It was magical. All your organs and limbs are right on track and it was lots of fun to see how complex you’ve become. My favorite part was your spine. Can’t believe how long and strong you’re getting in there.

We tried but couldn’t get you to flip over and let us get a good photo of your facial profile. But we did get a sweet look at your lips & nose. The tech switched over to the 3-D ultrasound to try and get a good one of your beautiful face but you were holding your nose and we couldn’t see you! Funny girl, must have been feeling shy. I wonder if you’re a thumb sucker like your momma, or if you’ll stay left-handed like your daddy used to be (before the U.S. education system forced him to be a righty, which I promise would never happen to you on my watch.)

When we went down to see if you were a boy or a girl it was pretty obvious right away who you were 🙂 I got teary, and Daddy squeezed my hand super tight. It felt like for a while all the air left the room as we tried to wrap our heads around the destiny of our first daughter.

Our daughter…

Daddy is in the shower right now singing If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly. About 3 years ago he told me he had a vision of him singing that song in the car to his daughter in the front seat. I have always known he was meant to be a daddy to a girl. He will be so wonderful. Loving, supportive, adoring and proud. And Sweetie, no matter how tough he tries to be, you’ll always have him wrapped around your finger. You’re sure to be a Daddy’s Girl.

But don’t you ever forget that you’re mine too. You’re my first baby. My first positive pregnancy test. My first exciting gender reveal. My first morning sickness. My first tummy stretch marks. My first little kicks. Oh, those precious kicks… You’re actually kicking me as I type this. I can think of few things I love as much as these sweet nudges. You’re so active, and you love when Daddy holds his hand on my tummy to feel you move. 

I hope you like me singing to you. I hope it’s comfy in there. I hope you know nothing of life but love.

My sweet daughter, I don’t know your name yet. While it brings me some anxiety not knowing what to call you, I’m strangely fine with it for now. Your persona to me has been a beautiful nameless wonder so far. I get little feelings about you sometimes. The other night God told me about your mind, how smart you are, how clever. I asked Daddy if he had heard anything yet and he just said, “Grapes.” The next day I bought a big bag of grapes and I can’t stop eating them.

I don’t know you very well just yet but I know you are special. I feel like I’ve known all along you’re a girl, even though I really haven’t. But it makes perfect sense now that we know. Like the bits of your soul that I can sense have just always said so. I couldn’t be happier about it. I really couldn’t.

Hello, Sweetie. I’m your momma. I love you more than I can keep up with recognizing. It’s overwhelming and encompassing. It’s terrifying and wonderful. I feel like this is what I’ve always been made to do. You are my greatest adventure.

I love you.

Always, 

Momma

  

July, 20–

Somehow, for every year of my significant life so far, this month – and specifically, the first week of this month – is always special to me.I say significant year because I feel like life was kind of just a really long fun amusement park ride until the teen years when all of a sudden your heart starts feeling crap and you don’t know what to do with your hair.

This week is possibly my favorite week of the year in some ways. The first week of July. I started dating my hubs back when I was a starry eyed, hopelessly confused 17-year-old this week. It was the week we started hanging out alone, without our friends around. We held hands for the first time. Kissed for the first time. Our dates weren’t even real dates by conventional standards, we were so crazy broke back then we would just go on long drives around town and find beautiful places to stop and just talk for hours. I should also mention this was in the middle of the night, as it was the only time we could see each other. He worked during the day and I had an obnoxiously early curfew. So I would sneak out at around midnight and off we’d go. Those first few nights were just ours, and they were so magical. We would walk around empty parks lit only by the stars, and drive with all the windows down listening to the Kings of Leon on repeat. We’d watch thunderstorms roll in and wait till the very last second to get caught in the rain, just to get soaked in the warmth. And we had big talks. Talks that needed to be talked about. Getting all our junk and dreams out on the table. Becoming vulnerable to another person. To this day, those first few long conversations we had are some of the most significant I’ve ever had with my husband.
The 4th of July that year was the first day that he and I hung out in a group of friends, open about our relationship. It was a big step at the time. And every 4th of July since then we have tried to celebrate big. The next year we went to our favorite hill and watched the fireworks from all around town. Great photos from that one. Further up the hill, a group of dumb kids set fire to the field and we watched them all drive off leaving it to burn. We got up the hill and the fire was a good 20 feet in diameter so we knocked on every door in the huge mansion-like houses nearby and finally got one couple to call the fire department. While we waited out the situation, we had a really significant conversation with the older couple. We were complimenting them on their beautiful big house and they said something I’ll never forget. “We were just like you two, what feels like not so very long ago, though I suppose it was. The dreams you have for your future together right now? Don’t ever give up on them. Don’t let the world get to you and tell you they won’t come true. This house was our first dream, and it finally came true for us. It will for you too.”
Last year might have been my favorite so far. Hubs and I had originally planned for our wedding to be July 5, 2014. Day after our favorite holiday, and day before our official dating anniversary. It was perfect. But Air Force intervened and was like hey, you’re shipping off to Basic Training in February and if you get married now, you guys will get crazy separation pay. So we went from a 9 month engagement to a 6 week one, and got hitched in January. Hubs was then in training for 7 months that year, in Texas. I got to go see him twice – once when he graduated from Basic, and then again in San Antonio for our favorite weekend of the year. 
It was hot and crazy crowded there but such a great trip. We got to watch a huge fireworks show downtown, and everyone just walked out into the street to watch it. We ate really good food too. But the best night was the night of the 5th when we went to this really expensive steak restaurant called Bohannan’s. I’m talking, you take an elevator up to the restaurant fancy. I’m talking the waiter asks you what kind of water you’d like. I’m talking no way in a million years would we seriously be able to afford eating there again. The food was incredible. Best steak I’ve ever had in my life. I wore a really stunning red dress, pearls, and my wedding shoes. We kept getting smiles from other couples. Hubs was in his dress blues. Super romantic, just amazing. I don’t know how to not let the story run on forever so I’ll just cut to the point – someone paid for our entire check. AND THEN someone gave us a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant. AND THEN someone gave hubs a $20 in the bar after dinner. AND THEN the guard at the parking garage let us leave without having to pay for parking. All in all, it was around $400 of blessings we received that night. It was insane. I couldn’t stop crying. We were just speechless. It was so special that on the night we had always planned to get married, this crazy wonderful series of events occurred. It was simply magical.
Every year this week has been like that. A divine appointment, a significant conversation, a seriously magical moment – all memories that just compound upon each other and leave me feeling this … weird … feeling in my heart every time this week rolls around. I started to feel it last night, and I got all emotional and woke Hubs up to talk through some hard feels I was having about missing home. I bawled. Knoxville is where this week was so special for us. It’s so hard right now to not be surrounded by places and people and memories of it all. I know our future is meant to be us out here in these weird places fighting it all out. I know that. I just miss everything, every this week in our past. And it’s obviously hard not to compare and worry that this year won’t be as special as any of the ones before.
But still, I have this weird wonderful feeling in my heart this week. Every song I hear all of a sudden is telling the same story. The smells outside are making me catch odd intangible memories from years ago I didn’t know I had. I look at my husband and see not just his face but every day of our life together for the past 6 years. I see his boyish 19-year-old smile. I see the fireworks’ light flashing colors of red and blue in his eyes. I hear cicadas. I see every star in the sky. I love this country a little stronger. I appreciate his sacrifice a little more. And I feel a love unlike any I could have for another person, or place. Because it’s like the love of home – it’s not necessarily one place or one house that you miss – it’s an ever-evolving, formless sense of completion and promise. 
That’s my love for him. And it is just multiplied and magnified every year, this first week of July.