Tuesday, March 9, 2010

my 15 girls

Where or where have my 15 girls gone? Where or where could they be?

Well, the answer to that is far, far away. And I am really missing them.

You know, there is something to be said for the bond us military wives make. I can tell you, it is unlike anything I've ever known, and I am only starting to understand the depths of these friendships now. I cherish all my friendships-- deeply. Each one of my friends has made my spirit fuller, my laugh deeper and have kept me true to who I am.

But with these girls, I shared something that was different. 

With these women, we said goodbye to husbands, we held each other up when weakness and exhaustion set in. We stood next to each other, where our husbands should have been, as we weathered storms , cheered on children, and worried over health scares. Our children made the friendship much deeper-- because, they too, reaped the benefits of having a friend who knew how difficult each 'Goodbye daddy' was. They knew how exciting and wonderful it was to see their Daddy climb out of a helicopter or airplane after being gone for months on end. 

After my mom died, I stayed in CA for a month with my dad before I left to return home. I arrived back in FL, near broken and weary, without a husband (he deployed the day after my mom's funeral), with 2 children to mother and one growing inside of me. Under ordinary circumstances, I probably would have shattered. But I had my girls here, and together we got out and just kept going forward. Sunshine, ocean air, and true friendships are as therapeutic as any medicine I've ever come across.

We played at the beach, went bowling, went to baseball games, went on walks, hunted for crickets, went on muddy hikes, played at each others houses, went out to eat, went to parks and pools, and had some wonderfully full days that made it much easier to go through life without our husbands at our sides. 

When Kaitlin broke her nose and I rushed her to the hospital, I never asked Carrie or Billie Jo for help-- their husbands had just returned home from a month long work-up, but mine was still gone. I couldn't ask them to leave their husbands the first night they returned home, no matter how upset I was. So I stood in the ER, my little girl's nose dripping blood and the size of a football, as they told they might need to x-ray her and tI could not got with her because I was pregnant. My super-shy, introverted daughter was near hysterics at the thought of being taken away from her mom when she was in pain and scared. Right as the tears began to spill down my cheeks and I prayed 'Lord, I cannot keep doing this by myself', a nurse appeared telling me I had someone in the waiting room asking for me. I opened the door and saw Billie Jo, and I all about started bawling. Without asking, she came. With pockets filled with change for the vending machine to get some food into my son's belly. And as I was reaching out to hug her, I saw Carrie coming through the sliding doors. I cannot tell you what those ladies did for my heart and my soul that day. They were sent, when I was weak and uncertain, and they carried me through. I know it was just a broken nose, but it was #77 in a series of things we all endured and I was just weary from it all.

A month later, I went to a routine OB appt and had plans to meet Carrie and Billie Jo for a park date and dinner after. That was the day my OB could not find Jack's heart with the doppler. The day they kept me in the hospital because his heart rate was dangerously low. I could not get a hold of my husband to let him know what was going on, but Billie Jo did. And when they admitted me that night, Billie Jo showed up at the hospital again, with more quarters for the vending machine, a box of crayons and coloring books for my kids. She stayed right next to me as my doctor did an ultrasound and we all held our breath. She asked questions I was too tired to think of, and she kept saying things to reassure me that our baby boy would be okay. He was. And so was I, thanks to my friends. 

When Jack was born and taken to the NICU, I was upset and fragile. Ellie, Carrie and Mary came. And in front of them, I didn't have to be strong. I didn't have to hold it together. They got my tears. Billie Jo lost her little sister a few days prior and was back in her hometown, lost and grieving over her sister's sudden, tragic death. But she called me in the hospital and said just enough to let me know we were on her heart, and long enough for me to tell her that she was on mine. 

I could go on and on and tell you about how amazing my friends have been to me. But the truth is, my words would fall far short-- as they usually do. It is incredible when you find people with whom you can just be, and that is what they were and are to me.

So now, as we prepare for yet another cycle of goodbyes as Jeremiah readies to start work-ups once again, I am sad. Sad that my friends are not here with me. Sad that I won't have that same experience. Sad for my kids that they will not have that same bond with they shared with Tate, Chris, McKoyia, and Emily (Emma, too). We spent our summers together, our weekends out, and played into the wee hours of the night. Gosh, do I miss them!!!

I so miss these girls who get how proud I am of my husband, but know how tough it is to live this way. 

Who know that no matter how exhausted we are, a 30 minute drive to the beach is ALWAYS just what we need. The girls, who have cared for my kids, loved them, held them, and have treated mine like their own. These girls who get what I am wanting to say, or how I feel without me uttering a word.

I love you ladies!!! Happy Birthday Billie Jo!!! I miss the heck outta you girls!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I read this when you wrote it but reading it now again makes me feel so special. I wish I could write as well as you and put my feelings into words like you do. I am so blessed to have you as a friend. I just hope that someday soon we will be living in the same city (or state).


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