Thursday, March 21, 2013

10 down, 10 to go

Yesterday marked exactly 10 years since Jason enlisted in the Army.  TEN years.  It hardly seems possible that he is halfway to retirement from the military.  I feel like we just graduated from high school!  Where did the time go?

Ten years ago I was working and Jason was a temporary stay-at-home dad.  We only had one baby.  The war in Iraq started and Jason was actually at MEPS signing his contract while I was in the break room at work watching the Iraq invasion on TV and wondering what in the world we were getting ourselves into now.
Jason's paperwork was delayed and he ended up leaving for basic training a few days later than expected.  During those few extra days at home, I got pregnant.  Matthew wasn't even a year old yet.
Jason came home for Christmas in 2003 and we had a few days together before he left for DLI in Monterey, CA.  My first taste of Army wife life was packing up and moving our household 3,000 miles across the country by myself while pregnant.  It felt impossible at the time.  If only I had known then what I know now...
We spent a year in California.  Jason became fluent in Farsi.  Joshua was born (my first homebirth-turned-cesarean) and then we moved to Texas just before Christmas 2004.
Jason attended school in Texas for a year and we thought we were headed to Germany when his orders suddenly changed to Georgia.  We moved halfway across the country and I got pregnant during the move.  (That's 3 moves in just under 2 years, for those keeping count.)

Bam!  Twins girls arrived on the scene and totally rocked our world.  They were born at home in Georgia in 2006.
We had a couple of pretty uneventful years as far as military life goes.  Jason did some language immersion classes and some military training but was never away for more than a couple of months at a time.  Life was good.

Then our lives were turned upside down again when I got pregnant on Christmas Day in 2007.  Jason got orders to go back to Texas and kept it a secret from me because he worried about how I'd take the news.  Shortly after that, he found out he had been accepted into Officer Candidate School and would be leaving for that instead.  No move back to Texas for us.

Nathan and Ryan were born in 2008 (my second homebirth-turned-cesarean) and we had six kids under the age of six.  Life was just crazy.  Good crazy, mostly.  Jason left a few months after the little guys were born.
Jason spent all of 2009 at schools in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Arizona.  We visited him a few times.  He was commissioned as an officer and received orders to go to Ft. Lewis, Washington.  His new unit was deploying.

We had a few surprise days together for Christmas in 2009 and then Jason was off to Iraq.

The kids and I lived in Virginia for a few months before returning to our (vacant) house in Georgia.  Then in the summer of 2010 we set off on our RV adventure across the country.  We stayed in 22 states before ending up in a campground in Washington.
There were days when I really hated military life.  There were days when I felt like I could tackle any challenge and could conquer the world.  It was a roller coaster, to say the least.

Jason finally came home from Iraq.  Nathan and Ryan had no idea who he was or why they were supposed to call him Daddy.  They were two years old but hadn't lived with Daddy since they were almost 4 months old.

We had a little over a year in Washington before it was time for Jason to go to school again.  Most of his career in the Army has been spent in some sort of school.  Just before Christmas in 2011, we moved to Arizona.  That marked move number eight in only eight years.  Matthew had just turned nine and had already lived in seven states.
Of course 2012 brought us another beautiful baby.  Life is good and relatively uneventful at the moment.  But 2013 will see us moving yet again.

10 years,
8 moves,
7 children,
7 states,
5 promotions...

And we are only halfway there!  I can't even begin to imagine what the next 10 years will hold for us.  Ten years ago, I couldn't have imagined our life today in my wildest dreams. This Army life stuff is a seriously wild adventure!

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