“So how long have you and Joe been married?”
About four and a half years.
“And you’ve never lived together? Why not?”
Well, long story short…
My boys were so little when Mr. Joe became their friend – and they believed that it was their idea for us to get married!
“Mr. Joe, will you pleeeeease marry Mommy and be our step-dad?”
He did! And we became a family.
We began the process for the boys and I to be able to go with Joe when he was stationed in California for the first year after our wedding. We hoped against hope that we’d be able to begin our married life together on the West Coast, and we were crushed when that couldn’t happen because the boys and I needed to stay near their father.
As soon as my Beloved’s year in California was over, he requested to be stationed as near as he could be to us – still five hours away. Every Friday after work for the last three years he has packed up his car and made the long drive to be with us in Kansas. That’s a lot of miles, friends. And I’m grateful for every single one of them.
Facetime, Skype, texting, and e-mails have been a lifeline during our time apart, but it isn’t the same.
“I miss Daddy Joe.”
“How many days until Daddy Joe gets to come home?”
“I’m gonna go take a walk to Afghanistan. Daddy Joe won’t make me take a nap!”
Even though they were too little to understand why we had to be apart so much, our little guys and I have been so proud to become a military family!
I look at the handsome, funny, loving, helpful, and awesome young men they’ve grown to be over the last four years, and I feel like the luckiest mommy in the whole world.
It has just been me and the boys for so long… (That’s partly where the name for our blog originated – Just One of the Boys, btw.)
I can hardly believe that our time together as just the four of us is finally drawing to a close. Waves of special memories over the last four years have begun washing over me…
Carriage rides at Christmas…
Science experiments in the backyard…
Building a gingerbread Parthenon…
Fun times in the car…
And sleepy times…
Watching the world through their beautiful eyes…
And learning how to be Mommy to these three camo paint-wearing, Wimpy Kid-reading, tree-climbing, always-laughing boys of mine.
I’ve changed over the years. Because I had little ones depending on me, I had to become more independent.
I’ve changed flat tires, repaired the roof, removed dead squirrels from the backyard, attempted plumbing, made trips to the emergency room, mowed yards, shoveled driveways, painted walls, and lit firecrackers. I knew that as much as my Beloved wished he could be here to help me, I had to do things on my own. I had to become stronger.
I learned to take better care of myself, even when he wasn’t here to see it.
I started this blog to encourage women. I was scared to share my story, but I pulled down the walls around me brick-by-brick, and shared my heart and my story with you. And I am so grateful for the loving and supportive community that we have here!
We have eased into blending our family over the years. The transition has gone even better than we could have imagined, and I believe that is largely because of his respectful attitude toward our boys’ relationships with me and with their dad.
Having Daddy Joe home with us on weekends became a treat. He taught the boys how to change the oil in the car. He built a Ziggurat temple for a homeschool project. He has climbed trees, read bedtime stories, and carried tired kiddos on his shoulders.
When we became a family, that beautiful day four years ago, we didn’t know the journey to being together would take this long…
But we are now counting down the DAYS until my Beloved retires from active military duty! I can hardly believe it as I am telling you now… He is moving home to be with us THIS WEEK! We are ecstatic to finally step into this new chapter of our lives under the same roof…together!
Quinn (our youngest) says it best, “Daddy Joe is coming home FOREVER! I’m never letting him leave again!”
This week as we remember to celebrate, honor, and thank our veterans – I will be extra grateful that my veteran is finally coming home…forever!
Let the honeymoon begin!
That’s what is going on in my little corner of the world this week! I’d love to know what is happening in your life!
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Until next time,
Oh, how I have missed our HAPPIER, HEALTHIER YOU posts! Why did I stop sharing my goals and updates? To...