Category Archives: Friendships

The Importance of True Friends

I’m pretty sure most grown ladies will agree with me on this one: One’s girl-friends are important. As a military spouse, I have the luxury – and the heartache – of having the very deep understanding of their importance… because I have to say “good bye” (or “see ya later,” or “fair winds and following seas,” or “’til next time,” or whatever phrase we use to pretend the leaving isn’t so bad when really it is gut-wrenchingly horrible) to my dear girl-friends much too often. But I don’t want to write about the difficult part of these friendships tonight. I want to think of all the ways that my girl-friends are important to me.

Regardless if you are a stay-at-home military spouse, or full-time working civilian spouse, or not a spouse at all, young or old… if you are a grown-up lady, then having true friends is quite possibly one of the most important elements in your life. Let me give you my definition of “true friend”:

True Friend: /trū frend/ noun

  1. Someone who lets you be exactly who you are… and even applauds you for it.
    True Friends 2
  2. Someone who lets you be exactly who you are… and doesn’t judge you for it.
    True Friends 1
  3. Someone who lets you be exactly who you are… and encourages you to be more “you.”
    True Friends 3
  4. Someone who loves you for who you are… but will give you a quick kick in the behind when you need to stop being the not-so-great version of “you.”
    True Friends

The tricky part of finding a True Friend, is finding someone who can encompass all four definitions. One person. All four. It’s pretty awesome when you come across one.

These are the friends who won’t mind when you have a complete and total meltdown because your DVR did not actually record one of your very important televisions shows (namely, Real Housewives of Orange County). They will sit in the car with you and make up horrendous (I’m not kidding… HORRENDOUS) rap songs. They will send you long text messages filled with Emojis because that is your favorite form of communication. They will dress-up for your theme parties… and not complain about it. They will call you immediately when they find out one of your family members is sick to see what they can do to be helpful. They will celebrate with you and cry with you and maybe do both in the same night. They will know and love your babies almost as much as you do. Well maybe some of those are particular to what my True Friends have done/continue to do for me (perhaps not everyone prefers to speak emoji and make up rap songs while dressed-up at a Real Housewives theme party… but you should really try it, if you haven’t!).

But seriously, these friends are able to make you a better version of you; they cheer you through the good times and pull you through the bad times.   Without these friendships, life would be less fun and less full.   These friendships help you be a better spouse, daughter, and friend to others. Without these friendships, the rest of the world would never have a chance to see all the potential in you shining through the (sometimes) clouded version of you.

True Friends also allow you to be that murky version when life is tough and busy and brutal. These friendships survive months and maybe even years with minimal phone calls and conversations. They survive on the knowledge that the bond between the two friends can withstand time and silence and un-answered phone calls or texts. The breaks between conversations and birthday cards are not filled with resentment and hurt feelings. The space is filled with understanding and love. They find each other on the other side of those silences and they pick-up right where they left off with forgiveness and grace and a desire to make the bond stronger than it ever was before.

I’m super lucky to have some great awesome top-notch (okay there really isn’t a word that can encompass the amazingness of my friends!) TRUE FRIENDS. I am thankful for each and every one of them every single day. TRULY. So I say “thank you” to each of my true friends for loving me and applauding me and encouraging me and kicking my behind when I need it. Thank you for forgiving me and welcoming me back when time zones and children and life keep me away. You are so very important to me!

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

-Thomas Aquinas

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The Resilient Navy Spouse

My best deployment blues fighter: the One Armed Pillow In A Dress Shirt

My best deployment blues fighter: the One Armed Pillow In A Dress Shirt

I have a special group of friends. I’ve written about them time and time again, probably because they are so dear to my heart. They are my fellow Navy wives. Today, though, I’m thinking of a particular set of women in this group… the spouses of my husband’s previous squadron. You see, these good friends of mine are squeaking out the last few hours before they have to send their husbands off on a looooooong deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Bleh. It’s more than “Bleh.” It’s all capital lettered: BLEH…. times 10,000. It’s even worse than that but I don’t think there are words to sufficiently encompass the suckiness of it. So I will have to leave it at “BLEH.”

The thing is, I know these women. While my heart aches for them and my stomach ties into knots for them, I know, without a shadow of doubt, that they are going to be okay. They will make it through the send off moment. They will make it through the walking into their home whose walls will not house their husband for the next several months. They will make it through the waking up the next morning and knowing theirs is the only coffee cup that will be used that morning. They will make it through hugging their kids when they miss their daddy already. They will make it through because they are strong and fierce. They are loyal and loving. They are, perhaps above all, resilient. Continue reading…


Heavens to Besties!!

Some of the most important people in my life are my best girl friends.  I am a lucky girl to have found my best girls and today’s blog is for them… 

15 Reasons Why I Love My Best Girl Friends:

  1. You have noticed and asked me why I haven’t blogged in a long time.  Thanks for supporting me by reading my blog and encouraging me to get back at it.
  2. You have made me snort-laugh, which only makes me snort-laugh more.  Extra props to those of you who snort-laugh with me.
  3. You have sent random post-cards to say hello and let me know you are thinking of me.  Thank you for brightening my days most unexpectedly.
  4. You understand that talking on the phone is practically impossible for me with three kids in the house and you happily text along with me.  Thanks for enduring my paragraph texts and/or emoji obsession.
  5. You have eaten frozen pizza at my house on more than one occasion. Thank you for not complaining that I am not a gourmet chef.
  6. You look past my messy house. Thank you for making it so I don’t even have to apologize for it any more.
  7. You make Girls Night Out so fun that I have to repeatedly ask my babysitter if I can stay out later.  I do not thank you for the babysitting bills I have paid though.
  8. You understand my enthusiasm for making t-shirts slogans for just about anything.  Thank you for not rolling your eyes at me every time. 
  9. You let me be dramatic which sometimes includes me hitting you on your arm or leg or shoving you across the room.  Thank you for being my punching bag when I get too excited.
  10. You have witnessed some of my most embarrassing attributes (non-plucked chin hair, sweaty arm pits, inability to pee when others are within ear shot, etc.) and have loved me anyway.  Thank you for letting me borrow tweezers, promising me no one notices my arm pits or leaving the public restroom, etc.
  11. You love to dance. I’m pretty sure if you are one of my best girls you must love to boogie… at least a little. Or a lot.
  12. You have pushed me to be a better me. Thank you for the advice, kick in the pants, and support you have given me, even when I’m whining and complaining.
  13. You have loved my kids almost as much as I do.  Thank you for being surrogate Aunts to my kids and giving me a hand in raising the most important people in my life.
  14. You have encouraged and celebrated and supported Paul and I through the ups and downs of our marriage.  Thank you for being there for us when we had babies, deployments, and every day in between.
  15. You have made me feel loved and accepted and confident in the person I am. Thank you for being my best girl friends!
    I hope that one day me and my best girl friends can recreate this photo!

    I hope that one day me and my besties can recreate this photo!

     


There’s a Newborn in the World! (and 5 Lessons from Me)

In the very wee hours this morning, the world welcomed a brand new Being.  With bleary eyes and a wet brow she took a deep breath and let out a sound that may have been a cry or maybe just a gasp or even a contented sigh.  I can imagine this new world she had just entered seemed at once overwhelming and strange, yet completely where she was supposed to be.  No doubt she was unsure of what exactly would happen next but suddenly the only thing that mattered was the face gazing back at her, eyes locked and filled with love.  Brand new in this strange world, ready to take on the journey ahead of her… wait a minute… do you think I’m talking about the baby???? No, no, no, I’m talking about the Momma. Yes. One of my dear friends became a mother today.  One sweet and deliciously handsome baby boy and one kind and amazing Momma were born this morning.

All day I’ve been thinking about those beginning hours and days of Motherhood.  The poor kid has been squeezed out of his safe, warm, floating cocoon and into this harsh world with bright lights and loud noises.  The poor Momma just put her body through the ringer and smack dab into recovering from labor/delivery while nourishing another human while not sleeping while hormones are plunging and skyrocketing while baby is crying while husband is asking questions while lactation consultants are getting their faces very near her breasts while nurses continuously poke and prod her while all the while she is asking herself “what in the world am I doing?”  It’s all very crazy.  Except when she looks down into that sweet fella’s handsome and chubby-cheeked face and the world sort of stops for a moment and she remembers, “oh yeah, I’m a Momma.”

I’ve thought about all the things I wish I had known when I was a newly born Momma.  Of all the pieces of advice I would give myself to try to make the road a little easier.  (I wonder if I would even listen to myself or have to learn those lessons the hard way?) So tonight I’m going to write myself my Top 5 Thoughts I (7 year old Momma) Would Share with Me (Newborn Momma)…

1. You are the best Momma for your Baby. Own that title.
Motherhood opens the door for solicited and unsolicited advice beyond your wildest dreams.  You also get to be judged by other mothers…. And even worse…. Non-mothers.  This is a fact of Motherhood.  You can either get really irritated and angry and rant on Facebook about it, or you can accept that people will judge you and tell you how to do things “better” and laugh it off or blow it off and then joke about it on Facebook.  (Facebook also seems to be a fact of Motherhood too.)

I’m unsure if people have good intentions when they offer young mothers advice, especially in the grocery store. Perhaps it’s a joke they play by trying get inside our already-scattered-Momma-brain and make us more distracted and therefore running late and baby crying while we walk up and down the aisles trying to remember what we needed to buy in the first place.  If that’s the case, it’s really not a funny joke.  Anyway, regardless of why people feel the need to share their thoughts and opinions on how you should be raising your child, you needn’t pay attention.  You are your baby’s Momma. You know your baby better than anyone else. You know his personality, how he likes to sleep, how he prefers to be held, etc. You know what’s going on in your family or your family’s history that is influencing your mothering decisions.  Be confident in those things. Be confidant in You.  If you are happy with the way your Motherhood is shaping up, then don’t worry about what other people think or say.  Trust yourself.  Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty.

But one day, you might just think, “I’m not sure I’m doing this the best way…. How could I do this differently?” And that takes me to #2…

 2. Surround yourself with girlfriends (fellow moms and non-moms, too) who you respect and trust.
Many aspects of Motherhood are tough and confusing and downright soul-crushing.  You will need your girlfriends to help you.  It’s okay, dare I say “great”, to ask your friends for help or advice or a kick in the pants.  Back in the day the ladies used to raise their little bambinos together.  Aunts, grandmas, sisters, neighbors would share some of the burden. I don’t really know why, but today’s mothers seem a lot more independent and refuse to ask for help when they need it.  Sharing the burdens is a great way to bond with your girlfriends, to allow each other to see that other Mommas have struggles too, to learn new ways to solve problems, to get a fresh perspective on what Motherhood means.  Even more importantly, sharing the burdens almost always leads to sharing the joys too.  Let your friends help you out.  Let your friends offer you advice and pointers.  Don’t let your pride get in the way or the fear of looking weak and unfit make you miss the opportunity to lean on one of your girlfriends.  One day it will be your turn to offer advice or a helping hand and those friends will soon be like family.

Speaking of family… Let’s head to #3…

3.    So now that you just went from husband and wife to an actual “family,” be prepared to ache for your extended family.
I am blessed to have the world’s most amazing family.  I’ve pretty much always known that.  However, from that first day of Motherhood, I had never truly ached to be near my family more.  My sister and I would talk about living in the same city one day when we had families and that was fun to daydream about, but not a serious “how can we make this happen” plan.  My parents would come out and visit my husband and me wherever the Navy had stationed us.  We would do silly touristy things that were fun, but not entirely monumental. (No offense Mom and Dad.)  After I became a Momma I ached and ached for my family to come and meet my daughter.  I wanted them to see her and all of her fabulousness, and I also wanted them to see me in all my Momma glory (remember…. Sleeplessness, hormonal, sore, etc.)!  I ached for my daughter to meet her aunt who would love her almost nearly as much as I loved her.  I wanted my In-Laws to see the newest little person with our shared last name.  I wanted my daughter to be surrounded by those that loved her most and to be held in the arms that would be hugging her for years and years to come.  No matter the drama that comes with family… we all gots at least a little drama…. Becoming a new Momma makes you ache for those that love you best.

(Also, your extended family are the people who you can fully and totally trust with your brand new baby so you can sleep without one ear open.  My Mother-In-Law gets credit for my first four-hour-straight nap of full deep sleep.  She will forever have a special place in my heart for that nap.)

Family means love, and adding a new member to your family makes you crave that love from the people that love you best.  And who is the one who really truly loves you best… #4 focuses on that…

4.    The one other person on Earth who gets credit for giving you the title of Momma… Your husband…. You’re both winners. So stop competing!
This one might be a little silly, but my husband and I had to actually say this rule out loud and agree upon it when we were prepping for baby #2’s arrival.

Stop competing over who is more tired.

Right around week three or so, when the adrenaline wore off and we were still getting sleep in approximately 2-3 hour chunks we had this conversation:

Dad: “I’m so tired.”
Momma: “Really? Are you?”
Dad: “Yes. Really.  My body aches I’m so tired.”
Momma: “Hmmm. Yeah, I’m pretty sore from my c-section and pretty tired too. Did you know I was up every two hours last night?”
Dad: “I know. I was up too.”
Momma: “But then you went back to sleep while I was feeding her.”
Dad: “But I woke up. I heard her crying.”
Momma: “Yeah, But You. Went. Back. To. Sleep. I heard you SNORING.”
Dad: “I know but then you threw that sock at me so I woke up again.”
Momma: “I threw the sock at you because you were snoring and almost woke the baby up.”
Dad: “Well then I was up and went to work all day.”
Momma: “Well then I was up and went to work all day too.”
Dad: “But I didn’t get to nap.”
Momma: “Well I only napped a little because by the time I fell asleep Baby woke up ten minutes later.”
Dad: “Ah, I’m so tired a ten minute nap sounds good. I’m so tired.”
Momma: “Well, I’m more tired than you are.”
Dad: “Are you? Are you? I’m probably more tired than you think I am.”
Momma: “Maybe but I’m pretty sure I’m more tired than you are.”

WHAT?!  That was just silly.  Clearly we were sleep deprived and delirious to think that was a helpful conversation.  The second and third time we had a newborn in the house we would say something like this:

Dad: “I’m so tired.”
Momma: “I know. Me too.”
Dad: “Baby was up a bunch last night, huh?”
Momma: “Yep. I’m so tired.”
Dad: “I know. Me too.”

Keep in mind that while you, Momma, are working hard. So is Dad.  Is it the same? No. Does that matter? No.  Just accept that the first few months everyone is tired and everyone is over-worked.  But the good news is……  #5….

5.    It’s just a phase.  Everything with kids is just a phase…
Read the fine print: this also means that if things are going well, it’s just a phase too. Soon things will start to not go well again.  But, that’s just a phase too!

I did not love the newborn phase.  I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with Baby all day.  I thought I was a bad mom or that I lacked some maternal instinct.  Turns out it was hormonal and I soon snapped out of it and life as a Momma turned out to be great.  I got into my groove and we sort of got a schedule down.  But that turned out to be a phase because she had a growth spurt. I was super tired and drained and crabby again, but that turned out to be a phase and she started being more interactive and Motherhood was actually fun.  The fun phase led right into the teething phase and that is a very not-fun phase.  The phases came and went and came and went.  All in all, you just have to hold on for dear life and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.  I’m seven years into this Momma life and I’m still riding through different phases.  Now with three kids I really have to enjoy the times when all three of them are in a good phase at the same time.  It does happen.  That is a most-awesome phase.  It’s actually a “Makes all the tough phases worth it 100 times over!” Phase.

*BONUS LESSON*
Allow your nurses to help as much as possible while you are in the hospital.
Our nurses took Baby #3, Samuel, out of our room for a few hours so I could sleep. I’m not sure I let Baby #1 out of my line of sight for the first few days.  By Baby #3, I had learned my lesson!  The nurses wrote this note on our door for all the hospital staff and un-announced visitors.
I’m fairly certain I could write pages and pages of more lessons I learned as a New Momma.  Not that I think I know everything now.  Certainly I’m still learning new lessons and re-learning old lessons.  This list was fun to write and think back on all the ways I have grown and changed over the years… almost like a newborn to a seven year old.  My dear friend, you know who you are, I wish you all the best in this wonderful life as a Momma!  You are going to do a wonderful job being the very best Momma that your little chicken could ever have, I look forward to watching you learn and grow along the way.  Love you!


Ode to My Navy Friends

Last night was one of those nights.  A night for a “farewell”… to wish a friend good luck at the next duty station; to laugh at memories made over the last few years, months, weeks, and days; to promise future “girls weekends,” skype dates, and Facebook updates.  Last night was a little extra difficult for me because it wasn’t just a fellow Navy spouse who we were “see you later-ing” it was the farewell dinner for one of my dearest friends – a true Navy sister.

All day today I’ve been thinking of the friendships I have made through the years as a Navy spouse.  They are truly incredible.  I know, for certain, that I am not alone in thinking that friendships made in the military community are some of the most unconditional, loyal, and beautiful friendships.  Tonight, I write for my military friends. You know who you are, near and far…

To the girlfriends of USNA Mids who I met while dating my future husband… thank you for being part of those beginning months of my Navy life.  What a journey it has been since those days of weekend liberty, Ring dance, and graduation.

To the wives I met through Paul’s flight school days… remember how we whined that we never knew what our husband’s schedule would be the next day?! How we waited (impatiently) for the schedule to come out and the instructor wives would roll their eyes and say, “at least they come home every night and aren’t on deployment… just you wait.” Yeah. Those instructor wives knew what they were talking about.

For all you, who lived in Kingsville, TX, with me and become experts in all things ranching, Bunco, and Wal-Mart. Those were the days! Nothing brings a group of ladies together quicker than having nothing better to do than window-shopping at Wal-Mart.  No, but seriously, talk about long-lasting friendships.. that was TEN years ago.

Last but not least… the last days of flight school… when your favorite person in the whole wide world is flying a big ol’ airplane with a big ol’ radar dish on top and has to land (safely!) on a teeny tiny boat in the middle of the ocean.  Nothing like waiting for that phone call to hear he made it.

To the friends I made when I was GIP (a.k.a. “Grumpy In Pax”)…  Well, to you all… first and foremost I apologize. I was kind of grumpy for three years.  Second and secondmost… thank you for being my friend anyway.  Thank you for driving up to Waldorf or Annapolis or DC with me so we could get out of dodge for a few hours. Thank you for showing me new playgrounds to entertain my kids. Thank you for encouraging me when life was hard as a mom of two (and then three) little kids. Thank you for loving me when I was not my most loveable. The Navy is lucky to have ladies like you.

To the friends I found in the fleet… Well, shoot. Moving across country, dealing with the housing office, ever-changing work up schedules, debating which port call to go to, drama in the Spouse Clubs.   It’s all a bit stressful, but it sure did give us lots to laugh and cry about together.  Relationships that may not have ever gone past the point of acquaintance grew into amazing friendships based on commaradrie over not mowing our backyards until Housing mowed our front yards. Or during a long flight to a port call.  Or finding out we hail from the same home state.

Not to mention the friendships that grew and solidified into something more like a sisterhood through deployments.  When half my heart is on a boat on the other side of the world, life can be pretty lonely. When I only get to see my Hub’s face and hear his voice every 6 weeks or so, life can look pretty bleak.  Deployments suck. But with friends like you, I made it through. We became friends over weird only-done-during-deployment traditions…
* We stuffed “cruise boxes.”
* We made calendar squares.
* We planned Halfway dinner.
* We wrote in code regarding portcalls and homecoming dates. (OPSEC, people!)
* We interupted conversations if we thought our husband was calling.
* We made banners and signs professing our love (and creative wittiness, sometimes) when Homecoming day neared.

And we became even better friends doing things that aren’t so weird and more every-day…
* We shared meals often.
* We drank wine often.
* We shopped often
* We literally worked our behinds off at the gym (more than often).
* We danced!

To all of my Navy friends…  We have gone through so much – so many strange life events that are unique to the military life.  Our friendships have been tested with abnormal stresses, incredible heart breaks, and long distances for long periods of time.  Those tests have made me hate the Navy at times, ached to be “normal” and yet I wouldn’t change a single thing because I have been blessed with such amazing friendships.  Thank you for being your awesome selves so I can have such awesome friends!

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