Through the Thick and Thin

Tom and I have been through some rough stuff. We have been separated by long distance more times than I would like to count. We have endured a deployment. We both have suffered pitfalls with our careers.

But honestly all that paled in comparison to the last four months of our lives.

Tom started in the Police Academy in January and just graduated this past week. It required a lot of long days of prep work and studying, and many nights away from the family even though he left at the crack of dawn.

These past few months have been hands down the hardest of our relationship. Granted we both started a new job, we have a new baby who changes daily, and two dogs who really are the ones who run the house. Never mind we also moved right before he began, and we are still not fully unpacked. So it really wasn’t all the academy’s fault, but I am just going to go ahead and place a lot of the stress on that experience. Needless to say we have been on edge for the past few months.

I plan to go more in depth on what exactly Tom had to go through as far as the classroom experience here in a few weeks. I just wanted to document the end of this experience.

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Tom had his first shifts actually in a patrol car this week, and I can already tell the difference in his demeanor. It’s all official now.

I have never been so proud and honored to be by his side as he starts a career he is truly passionate about. This job is one he has been talking about for the last decade. It was just amazing to finally see him cross that stage and be able to be the one to pin that badge on him. It is a day we have anxiously been waiting for for so very long.

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There have been times that I have not always liked this career and begrudgingly went along with the plans.  I didn’t want to deal with the schedule or the danger if I am to be honest. There is a huge impact on what this will mean for our family. It means that there are holidays that will be missed or needing to be rearranged. It means that there may be weeks where we only see each other sleeping. In means that ordinary day stuff like George learning how to splash in the bath tub will be missed. It means I will wonder every day if Tom will come home safely.

But I have had to step back and see things through Tom’s eyes. This job means so much to him. The way he talks about his community and how he wants to protect it, you can just see the excitement and sincerity brimming from his eyes. This is what he was meant to do while we are here. We only go through this life once, and we should answer the call we have been given. And for Tom that is to be a cop.

It’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting into after that first date, so I really should remember the bigger picture here.

In the heat of the moment, I tend to gripe and complain (a post coming soon about this), and I take a really negative view on how it is impacting me. (Which is pretty selfish of me as a wife and teammate.)

There was a quote in my devotional this week that really struck me. “I so desperately do not want to get to the end of my life to find I’ve missed having an eternal impact because I made all of life’s decisions based solely on what made sense for me and what was for my benefit–unwilling to yield myself to the Lord.” (Kelly Minter)

Watching Tom last Friday made everything click for me. When he left that auditorium on Friday as a uniformed police officer, I could just see all the weight of the last few years fall off him.  All that we had been there was finally worth it. This isn’t for him, and this isn’t for me. This is for something greater than us. We have an amazing opportunity to do the things we love surrounded by the people we love.

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The reality is that both of us are living out our dreams. Finally.

Not every couple is so lucky, and it has taken us a long time to get here ourselves.

All the arguments, the sleepless nights, and the worry all seemed to melt away. We were in the place we are meant to be. Right by each others side.

We made a promise almost 4 years ago to support each other and be there for one another no matter what.

So while these last few months have royally sucked, it has shown us a lot. We can get through all the muck.

He is the only person I want to do life with.

And I will always cherish that I got to be a part of this day and journey for Tom.

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George apparently is over all of it and just wants lunch.

Proud to Be

My husband has always wanted to be an Army man.

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Tom as a kid playing in his Grandpa’s old Army helmet.

I know he had considered going after high school, but he choose to head to Warrensburg to start the normal track of a college freshmen. While I was in grad school, we had talked about the service, but in the end Tom decided to finish college and see where that took him. Once we were in Iowa, his job situation was not panning out as quickly as we had hoped and the thought of the military came up again. We went back and forth making the decision on whether Tom would enlist. It is not an easy decision for anyone to make and we made pro/con lists for months. It is not a decision that we took lightly, especially when we made this decision we had only been married for a hot minute.

But as you can see, Tom has always felt a calling to serving his country. So not even 6 months into our marriage, Tom took an oath to serve our nation.

This was the time for the Army. Every time before there was something else that he was destined to do. If he had joined before now, he would not have finished that degree. If he had gone after high school, we would not have met at Worlds of Fun that fateful summer. If he had gone during grad school, our relationship (eh maybe just me) at the time was not strong enough to endure the stress of the military. This time around, there was nothing holding him back. He was ready; we were ready.

I could not be prouder of the things that Tom has done in the last year and half as an American soldier. He put so many things on hold to fight for the things that he believes in the most.

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He is not one to let others fight his own battle, and he puts in everything he has to fulfill his duty. He would do anything for his unit, which as his wife can be terrifying because I know that he would give his life to save any one of those men.

But that gusto, courage, and confidence are the things that I am proud of. I am married to a great man, a brave man, a sweet man, an Army man.

And yesterday, I got to share him with the elementary school his sister works at. They had a Veteran’s assembly, and Tom was asked to speak since the school knew about him from sponsoring him during his deployment the year before.

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If I was proud before, I was in tears proud of watching him be the keynote speaker for those kids. Yes I am that blubbering wife. It also did not help that I was sitting next to the sweetest little old Vietnam vet as well. And they played taps and a hero memorial montage video, I mean really how was I supposed to keep a dry eye?

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We were able to see TJ there as well. Tom made him “his guest” to the reception they had for families, which meant he got out of class for about 10 minutes to eat cupcakes. Awesome!

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Tom and TJ.

We also got to hang out with our little niece a lot this weekend. And of course the relationship between Tom and Ava is priceless.

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Yes, Tom smashed her face in her cupcake. After a moment of pouty face, she dug into the cupcake like nothing happened.

We had a great weekend back home, and it was great to see the outpouring of support for our Veterans. It was a little crazy to see the reaction to the uniform though. Around here in Clarksville, uniforms are such an everyday thing, so seeing people react back home was interesting to say the least.

Proud wife moments!