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The Family

The Family

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Am Thankful for Me Sub Wife Version!

I posted the orginal blog for this on my other blog, but I am making some additions to the Sub Wife Version:-) Yes, my title says I am thankful for me! This last year has been trying but has taught me so much about myself and life. I have learned to value myself, not in a puffed up look at me way, but in a way that allows me to understand my own worth and protect myself.

As women we tend to buy into the Pnterest, DIY, and latest fitness hype of the day. Now, I am not saying any of those things are bad or harmful, but when we begin comparing ourselves to them we fall into a trap. Think about it...you are surfing through Pinterest and you see all these amazing ideas and can't wait to try them for your holiday party. You start making lists and gathering items and you are ready to go. But then life happens and you don't have the time to get it all done or your glue won't do the things that the Pinterest glue does and BAM! You start asking yourself why you can't get it done like the people on Pinterest. Well ladies here's a news flash for you...all those items on Pinterest were put on there by THOUSANDS of people. So you as an individual are trying to be all Pinterest or Martha Stewart when both of them have thousands of people working their stuff! Slow down decide what matters and focus on that.

This year has been a professional struggle for me. I am going to type into words what I have been saying to myself for several months...Jill you should be ashamed of yourself! I have been married to an active duty submariner for 24 years and have dealt with deployments, separation, long working hours, and being a single parent. BUT I have never had to deal with the frustration of moving every three years and the effect it can have on your career. I was spoiled and lived in the same place for 22 of those years and was able to build a solid reputation and name for myself in my field. I never struggled having to find a job; I simply applied for them and got them. I never had to struggle to re-establish my career and my reputation. Well, this last year I was able to experience just that and I found out it sucks! However, even in the suckage (its my blog I can make up words:)) I have learned a valuable lesson...to value myself and not to allow others to dictate my worth in both my own mind and in the work place. I had to spend countless hours praying, encouraging myself, and getting tongue lashings from those who love me to keep a grasp on who I am and my professional value. The truth is you really can't make people accept your value professionally...but you can hold on to your worth with both hands for yourself.

Another lesson learned this year comes from a blog I wrote a couple of months ago..."Don't Put Poop in Your Pocket." And I will be honest some days when I use that saying I use the word poop...other days its the naughty word for poop...because man....its bad poop! But the gist of it is people leave crap all over....gossip, lies, anger, jealousy...you name it, but you don't have to latch on to it and make it yours. You can simply chose to leave it where it is and not accept all the negativity they are trying to share with the world. As the wives of active duty Navy sailors we are often left with ourselves and depending on how much you value yourself this can cause you some problems. If you don't know your own self worth or your potential it can be scary to be the one you depend on. That's why I beleive it is so important that you like you, that you take care of you, that you value who you are and how you think. AND if you don't like certain things about you, who you are, or how you think, then change them. Find out what you value and make those your priorities and do something. Remind yourself daily that you are strong, that you can do this, that you history has shown you that you can do it. I am not going to lie every day of this life is not all a bowl of cherries for me. There are days when I would prefer coloring in my blanket fort, to being the grown up I am suppose to be! But the deal is I have, you have navigated another year of missions, boat schedules, duty days, and sub life that in itself says you can do it! The final lesson of the year is the common thread in all of the above lessons...YOU control what you think, feel, and allow into your life.

Value yourself enough to throw out the trash of life and hold tightly to what you value. Ladies, I promise you it is ok to love you, appreciate you, and be thankful for the person you were, are, and will be! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

Shhhhhh!!!!! It’s early in the morning on the Saturday of Veteran’s Day weekend and I am enjoying not only the peace and quiet, but the feeling of completeness that comes from knowing your husband is home from sea.

Veterans Day weekend, sadly like Memorial Day and 4th of July are often just thought of as a day off by most Americans. For those who serve, have served, and ever loved anyone who served these are days where reflection and honoring come before BBQ’s, parades, and fireworks. Personally, I live a life of honor and reflection, grateful for the sacrifices daily that the service men and women have made, are making, and will continue to make. Living, working, and spending almost every waking moment on a military base will do that to a person. Add to that the fact that I am supporting my husband as he lives a life of sacrifice, as are my children, and it’s easy to understand when I say live a life of honor, reflection, and gratefulness that I mean it as a verb, an action. I am given the opportunity daily to honor the service of our active duty members as I strive to provide them with excellent childcare as the CDC Director. Our team works to make sure that they can go to work knowing not only that their children are safe, but they are loved and happy. I am provided the opportunity twice a day to reflect on the sacrifice and gift that those who serve have given, are giving, and will give as I hear Colors twice a day and I pause, and reflect. I am also grateful daily for those who serve, as I witness them daily working to serve their country. I witness the gate guards serving as sentries to the base; I see the medical staff at the hospital serving active duty members and their families. I am blessed to drive down the pier and see submarines ready and willing to go into harms way. I am witness to the tears of sorrow as a submarine pulls out of port, tears of frustration as moms and children work to find their grove while dad is gone, and tears of joy when that submarine comes through the harbor and makes her way back to the pier.

I am in the thick of honor, courage, and commitment daily, I am fortunate enough to witness sacrifice in action. So I have an unfair advantage over most American’s, because I see daily sacrifice in action, rather than just a news clip here or there. I am grateful for the life I have been blessed to live as part of such an amazing group of men and women.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to the Future

I had a really hard time sleeping last night and have the headache to prove it, or maybe the headache is the reason I couldn't sleep. When I get like that my first instinct is to pray, in case it is a nudge from God to pray for someone. This stems from years for not knowing where my husband is in the deep blue and what type of danger he may be in. Because as we all knew if he told me he would have to kill me:-) But after I exhausted my prayer list and tossed and turned for hours, I began to think of how you would describe what its like to have a deployed spouse to someone who has no association with the military. The best that I could come up with is that its like time travel. You see all of us here at home keep living, changing, and moving towards the future. But when your spouse returns from deployment it is like he is coming back to the future. Things have happened that cannot be recreated or re-lived. My husband spent a good deal of out oldest daughters high school attached to the USS Columbus, the Bus, or as it was often referred to in Pearl The Clown Bus. We began that tour as a Geo-bachelor tour, with him leaving for Senior Enlisted Academy in May and continuing on the Washington. Brittany was just finishing her freshman year and getting ready to be a sophomore. She still had a curfew of 10, none of her friends could drive, and she was still young. By the time he knew it she was a senior, on the Varsity cheerleading squad, the curfew was midnight, and her friends were driving. He would ask why she was going out so late or how were they getting there because in his mind she was still a freshman. For him time had stood still, but for the rest of us time had moved on. I am sorry to say that the same is going to happen with Zachary who is heading into his sophomore year. When the boat returns its like the crew is coming back to the future. Those of us who have been here have experienced things that we could not share with them when they occurred and sometimes it’s not the same to describe them or try to include them in what happened. This can be tough on marriages and relationships because you have both had experiences in their absence that will help shape who you are, but they are often unable to share their experiences, and you are often unable to do your experiences justice when you explain them. So you learn to live with things you will never know about your spouse, not because of deception, but because of reality. As you are left behind you mark time by creating distractions, projects, goals, and activities with your friends. You chose not to do things until they return because it may be something you are willing to wait for to ensure they experience it with you. Sadly, there are things like birth, death, weddings, graduations, and other life events that cannot be put on hold until they return. So, you attend and a little bit of your heart breaks for a moment, but you breathe deeply and you smile knowing they wanted to be there. Our family has been extremely blessed to have Rick at all of our children's births and all of their high school graduations (although the last two he made by the hair of his chinny chin chin) However, next week I will drive my youngest daughter to the airport and send her off to college. He will not be here when she leaves and when he returns his household will be smaller by one child. A major life change will occur and he will not be here, and although the rest of will be used to her being gone when by the time he gets back, he will have to start the process from scratch. When he returns...he will be coming back to the future.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Its Not About the Title

I have some catching up to do around here. After all a mission, Sub Ball, and promotion have come and gone since I last wrote. My husband has had a very blessed naval career born out of his commitment to the Navy and to holding himself to even higher standards than he holds those around him to. He was blessed to make both Chief and Senior Chief the first time he was eligible. Master Chief however, took a little longer and required a trip to Guam. Each year since the first time he was eligible we would wait for results to come out, deal with it and move on. This year however, he was selected and promoted to Master Chief. Now, don't get me wrong, his chest puffs out a little bit each time someone addresses him as Master Chief, but the real prize is that he set a goal in the beginning of his naval career that he has achieved. He worked and sacrificed to reach that goal...that is what its about. One Anchor = Honor One Anchor and a Star=Courage One Anchor and Two Stars= Commitment

It Takes Strength and Maturity Part One

On this Sunday morning as I returned from dropping my husband off on the boat I was pondering my crazy lifestyle. You see the boat is supposed to be gone, however, true to Sub Life she returned to port Friday for a repair, and is considering departing today. I love when I get these surprise visits from my husband and I treasure everyone of them. However, as any Sub Wife will tell you as great as these visits are...they play with your emotions. You see when you have a husband who is out to sea and communication is done by an unreliable email system, where not much should be said, as they are screened for security reasons you get into a certain frame of mind. This frame of mind has an end goal...the return date. You begin to build your plans around this date, this is the goal that you strive to reach, the countdown that tells you, you can do it...your focused. You have a plan that includes the distraction of potlucks and activities with your friends (who pun intended are often in the same boat as you are), you have exercise and weight goals, you have household projects, craft projects, and work projects. You are focused and because you are a Sub Wife you are ready to deal with this. You are almost militant about keeping everything in check...so that your emotions will remain in check. Then BOOM...here comes the boat into the harbor and you are so excited to see him and grateful to spend time with him...that you lose focus and the goal is temporarily not important. You let your emotions and senses drink in all of him, things get off track with your goals. Then comes the morning you have to drive him to that pier and watch him go again. For me personally, it takes a great deal more strength to say good bye to him a second time half way through the deployment than it does to say good bye the first time. Maybe because the first time I get myself together, I have had time to prepare for it and I am ready to face it head on. But the second time he has returned and I have now given into those emotions and allowed myself to taste a little bit of him being home. Once they leave it takes me a couple of days to get on track and back in the grove. I promise you its not as easy as it sounds especially if you have children, the poor things don't know if Dad's coming or going. It takes a great deal of strength to get your emotions back where they belong and not give into the pull of allowing yourself just one day of moping...because one will turn in to two, which will then become a week. So to my fellow Sub Wives...we've got this, we can do it, all we have to do is get our target in sight, lock in, and launch ourselves towards the end goal...HOMECOMING!!!