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he was a soldier once

Did I ever tell you James joined the Guard after he got out of the Army?  Well, he did.  The details would bore you but he will not deploy overseas within the first two years of his commitment, and he won't likely stay in the Guard longer than a year or two.

Last week he went out of town on an MI training.  He was to wear his ACUs every day again and needed to finally put on all his badges, while at the same time updating the badges for his dress blues.  Those badges are a bit shiny – doesn't this one look like a McDonald's toy?

Combatbadge (2)
I'd never seen this badge before.  It's a combat badge.  Turns out James was shot at by snipers who weren't that good at sniping.  I was a little surprised, and I guess in the grand scheme of things over there I shouldn't have been.  James wasn't infantry, but his team was kind of left to fend for themselves out there quite a bit.  I knew there had been lots of "incidents" – involving bombs and snipers and fire support (or whatever its called when bradleys suddenly show up to level a building for you).  But James was so exhausted from it all by the end that he never got around to telling me everything.  And I guess none of it seemed extraordinary or newsworthy at the time; after all, this is just how it was over there.

But watching him pack up his ACUs for the trip, reflecting on the seven years we spent as a military family in the Bush administration, and reading through the archives here, it dawns on me how extraordinary our life really was.  And we miss it sometimes.   

Evyn barely remembers.  And Ashlyn will never really appreciate it.  That their father was a soldier once.

024

When James returned I asked him what it was like to wear his ACUs everyday again.  It was just a week of training in the Guard, but he said he felt important–a sense of pride–because the uniform stood for something.  I understood.  He's still finding his way, his sense of purpose, as a civilian.  We both are, a little.  Our life is exactly what we wanted for our kids – ordinary and calm.  With room to breathe.   No more last-minute orders and upheavals and good-byes. 

It was difficult, and we wouldn't go back to it, but we can't help but look back sometimes.  It was, after all, an honor.

And for those still serving – take a moment to pray for their peace and strength and safety.

Some military blogs: Christine (whose hubby just returned home after 15 months – go congratulate them!!!); Lucy (whose husband is Nat'l Guard and deployed again); Mary (OIF widow)

miss chris - A million thanks and hugs for James and your family. I can’t help but swell with tears of gratitude when considering what sacrifice our soldiers and their families make. It is an honor. And we are so thankful. xoxo

Heather - After my husband got back from his deployment in January, we spent 8 months looking at civilian jobs and trying to decide if that was what God wanted for our family. While he was deployed, I was sure it was because I never wanted to do another deployment. Eight long and very difficult but growth filled months later, we know that the Lord has called us to stay. That revelation came with both great honor and relief…much to my surprise. This is a great post and sums up so well much of how torn my heart was in those long months. Thank you.

Karen - What a sweet picture of A. Happy Veterans Day.

Lucy - Thank you. Thank James for me. It means more than I can say.
(And some of us think he’s *still* a soldier. . . . He’s there if he’s needed, even though there’s no *plan* for another deployment ;). )

celia - That little girl is so cute! lol… She’s looking at the boots like they were giants ready to eat her! lol…
Lovely story and thatnks for the links, I’ll go check them!

Annette - beautiful story! My dad was a solider once. Combact vet from ‘nam. My children think it is just amazing that their granddad was a solider and their great granddad (who is still living) fought in WWII as a bomber pilot.
A thank you to all our military boys and their families. It is your sacrifice that allows us to live free.

Annette - beautiful story! My dad was a solider once. Combact vet from ‘nam. My children think it is just amazing that their granddad was a solider and their great granddad (who is still living) fought in WWII as a bomber pilot.
A thank you to all our military boys and their families. It is your sacrifice that allows us to live free.

Chris Worthy - If we had ten lifetimes to thank your husband and all others who have/will serve and are serving, it would never be enough. We are eternally grateful for your sacrifice.

Chris Worthy - If we had ten lifetimes to thank your husband and all others who have/will serve and are serving, it would never be enough. We are eternally grateful for your sacrifice.

Cara Dobrev - We remember and we appreciate. I know that’s not what you were talking about, but I felt a need to say it.

Cara Dobrev - We remember and we appreciate. I know that’s not what you were talking about, but I felt a need to say it.

Heather - bless you and your family…our country is so lucky to have families like yours. take care, heather

Heather - bless you and your family…our country is so lucky to have families like yours. take care, heather

Leaner - (I want to be on your military blog roll- hubby is currently deployed from national guard.)
This post was beautiful. And man aren’t they HOT in uniform? I love the picture of Ashlyn and the boots.

Leaner - (I want to be on your military blog roll- hubby is currently deployed from national guard.)
This post was beautiful. And man aren’t they HOT in uniform? I love the picture of Ashlyn and the boots.

Rinelle - I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated your blog for the Premio Dardos award. The banner is on my blog. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

Rinelle - I just wanted to let you know that I have nominated your blog for the Premio Dardos award. The banner is on my blog. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

gaylen - Thank you for sharing what it is like. I have a friend whose husband is currently deployed. I think of them often and just sent cookies – it’s not much but I hope it helps.
Thank you James for your sacrifice and that of your family. It was appreciated (and still is) by my family. g

gaylen - Thank you for sharing what it is like. I have a friend whose husband is currently deployed. I think of them often and just sent cookies – it’s not much but I hope it helps.
Thank you James for your sacrifice and that of your family. It was appreciated (and still is) by my family. g

vanessa - My husband has never been prouder then when he is doing his duty as a soldier. He loves his job and what it means, he is raising three sons to fallow in his foot steps as he fallowed his father who fallowed his. It’s a hard but meaningful job.

vanessa - My husband has never been prouder then when he is doing his duty as a soldier. He loves his job and what it means, he is raising three sons to fallow in his foot steps as he fallowed his father who fallowed his. It’s a hard but meaningful job.

LadyDoc - I want to thank your DH for his service and thank all of you for the many sacrifices our military families make for all the rest of us.

LadyDoc - I want to thank your DH for his service and thank all of you for the many sacrifices our military families make for all the rest of us.

Jenni Mac - I found your blog looking for fun and unique crafts and ideas. You know, homemaker stuff. I didn’t expect to be reminded of the things I should be grateful for and never take for granted.
Thank you for that.
I’m thankful that your family is together to stay. You are so very deserving.

Jenni Mac - I found your blog looking for fun and unique crafts and ideas. You know, homemaker stuff. I didn’t expect to be reminded of the things I should be grateful for and never take for granted.
Thank you for that.
I’m thankful that your family is together to stay. You are so very deserving.

Christine - As we count 1 month home and think of our plans on the outside, we often have twinges of sadness about leaving this amazing army family. We have made friends we will keep with us forever. We will miss it and never take for granted those who do it day in and day out.
Thanks Crystal for all your time spent as the wife of the guy in ACU’s! :)

Christine - As we count 1 month home and think of our plans on the outside, we often have twinges of sadness about leaving this amazing army family. We have made friends we will keep with us forever. We will miss it and never take for granted those who do it day in and day out.
Thanks Crystal for all your time spent as the wife of the guy in ACU’s! :)

Army Blogger Wife - Great post. Thank you for your husband’s service. We are halfway through a 15 month deployment, our third to Iraq. I’d miss this life, but some days I want to chunk it to the wind!

ski - just wanted to mention how much this took me by surprise. i was looking at your tutorials and as i flipped through the whole blog i ran across the cab. it’s nice to know that real people have random ties to the military. i got back a several weeks ago now and seeing stuff like this still knocks me around. thanks.

ski - just wanted to mention how much this took me by surprise. i was looking at your tutorials and as i flipped through the whole blog i ran across the cab. it’s nice to know that real people have random ties to the military. i got back a several weeks ago now and seeing stuff like this still knocks me around. thanks.

ski - just wanted to mention how much this took me by surprise. i was looking at your tutorials and as i flipped through the whole blog i ran across the cab. it’s nice to know that real people have random ties to the military. i got back a several weeks ago now and seeing stuff like this still knocks me around. thanks.

Julia - Hi, thanks for this blog, I have been looking for sewing blogs and when I found yours and read through it I found out that your husband served in the military. I am a newbie to military life. My husband left in January of 2009 and I am still adjusting to this. I will never forget the first month of being on my own with my 15 month old while he went to his boot camp in south Carolina. I also will never forget the feeling that I had when I`ve seen him for the first time after 10 weeks of being apart. I was so proud of his acomplishments, and what he has become after those 10 weeks. I remember beeng so lost when nobody called me for the first 2 weeks( he used to call me 3 time a day before he was gone to army) and I was really shoked when I never got to talk to him until 5 days before his BCT graduation.. It is so hard beeing on your own. I don`t have family here, only my baby and me.. He is leaving to Korea in July for a year .. I know there is no war yet there, and he reassurs me that there will be NO WAR… And I trust his words..I read your posts and feel better knowing that they do come back sometimes.. Thanks again for this bit of hope.

Julia - Hi, thanks for this blog, I have been looking for sewing blogs and when I found yours and read through it I found out that your husband served in the military. I am a newbie to military life. My husband left in January of 2009 and I am still adjusting to this. I will never forget the first month of being on my own with my 15 month old while he went to his boot camp in south Carolina. I also will never forget the feeling that I had when I`ve seen him for the first time after 10 weeks of being apart. I was so proud of his acomplishments, and what he has become after those 10 weeks. I remember beeng so lost when nobody called me for the first 2 weeks( he used to call me 3 time a day before he was gone to army) and I was really shoked when I never got to talk to him until 5 days before his BCT graduation.. It is so hard beeing on your own. I don`t have family here, only my baby and me.. He is leaving to Korea in July for a year .. I know there is no war yet there, and he reassurs me that there will be NO WAR… And I trust his words..I read your posts and feel better knowing that they do come back sometimes.. Thanks again for this bit of hope.

rachel - I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I wanted to say thanks. My husband has been deployed for 9 months now and I am still adjusting to being without him and being a mom to our 9 month old son(my husband left the day after he was born). Your blog posts from that time in your families life brings up emotions that I sometimes would rather not face, but it also helps me know that this will be over soon and we can be a “normal” family again. THanks again and your family is beautiful!

rachel - I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I wanted to say thanks. My husband has been deployed for 9 months now and I am still adjusting to being without him and being a mom to our 9 month old son(my husband left the day after he was born). Your blog posts from that time in your families life brings up emotions that I sometimes would rather not face, but it also helps me know that this will be over soon and we can be a “normal” family again. THanks again and your family is beautiful!

crystal1011 - I’m glad you’ve found some of the older posts a bit comforting. You will be surprised at how strong you became when your family is finally on the other side of this deployment. Thanks to your family for all you continue to do for our country.
Wishing you peace, strength, and safety,
Crystal
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Subject: [My Longest Year] rachel submitted a comment to ‘he was a soldier once’.
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I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I wanted to say thanks. My husband has been deployed for 9 months now and I am still adjusting to being without him and being a mom to our 9 month old son(my husband left the day after he was born). Your blog posts from that time in your families life brings up emotions that I sometimes would rather not face, but it also helps me know that this will be over soon and we can be a “normal” family again. THanks again and your family is beautiful!
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crystal1011 - I’m glad you’ve found some of the older posts a bit comforting. You will be surprised at how strong you became when your family is finally on the other side of this deployment. Thanks to your family for all you continue to do for our country.
Wishing you peace, strength, and safety,
Crystal
To: crystal0901@hotmail.com
Subject: [My Longest Year] rachel submitted a comment to ‘he was a soldier once’.
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 17:55:06 -0700
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A new comment from “rachel” was received on the post “he was a soldier once” of the blog “My Longest Year”.
Comment:
I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I wanted to say thanks. My husband has been deployed for 9 months now and I am still adjusting to being without him and being a mom to our 9 month old son(my husband left the day after he was born). Your blog posts from that time in your families life brings up emotions that I sometimes would rather not face, but it also helps me know that this will be over soon and we can be a “normal” family again. THanks again and your family is beautiful!
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cfwife - Hi there,
I found your blog when I was looking for sewing projects (I’m new to sewing). I discovered you’re a military spouse (I’m new to that too). Well, here I am trying to learn how to sew (beyond the basics) and I find some inspiration on being a military spouse too! I read about how you look back sometimes, and it made me cry. I am a Canadian military spouse and have 3 kids. My husband has been home 2 months after being gone for 8 and this is just the beginning. I’m learning to sew because I am learning how to manage my time- or maybe lonliness.. I don’t know- on my own. You’re right, it’s hard sometimes, but it is an honour. I hope one day to be where you are; calm and ordinary. I hope already, to be looking back. In the mean time, it is an honour. Thanks for sharing that. I read only a few of your words and I believe you helped me put a couple of my own thoughts into perspective. Thanks for that. Cheers.