About 2 weeks ago my dad brought me an egg nog latte from Starbucks, because my dad knew that that day I needed it. I will always remember and be grateful for the special coffee. A start to the support my parents always give us.
That day while helping my mom decorate their Christmas tree and waiting for Johnny to get out of school Shawn called me on my parents home phone. He had news that turned our entire world upside down.
The Army decided that a unit in Fort Bliss Texas needs Shawn more then the unit in Fort Stewart Georgia, or us. That unit in Texas is headed on a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan early next year. In one short morning our family went from planning trips to Disney world and the sunny beaches of Georgia to pure panic and anticipation of separation....again. This will be Shawn's third deployment, and at the end he will have spent 3 years of his life in the dessert. Although the first two deployments where not easy, Shawn and I are adults and able to understand that it won't last forever. This will be the first time he will have to be away from his kids. We know kids are strong and resilient and really too young to remember this when they grow up, but it doesn't make the thought any easier. Shawn will miss them and they will miss him. We have plans of recorded stories and video blog updates so that the kids can see him and hear him, and that is keeping me from falling apart.
We don't know a lot of details right now, we are still waiting for some official word to come it. It will happen fast in 2012 so after quickly deciding that me and the kids can't sit in Texas alone (33 hours away from any familiar face) while Shawn is gone and some longer talk about renting a house my parents street, both Grams and Pops offered us their own home. They have taken me in twice making separation and deployment easier, but this time there are three of us, and still my parents did not wait a second to offer us a place to live, support and daily help in the lives of a 3 year old and a 1 year old. They love those kids and they love us too!
We are finding "hidden blessings" in this dramatic turn of events. We have learned to appreciate each other again and living our daily lives as a family. Daddy holds his kids tighter and kisses them more often and I struggle to keep tears out of my eyes. Shawn will have the chance to do school on line and get in better shape down range then he can here. I have the same chance. With my parents to help with the kids and my brother and his family across the street (all who have more then given offers of support) I too can focus on school and maybe double up on classes and get done faster, as well as use the gym right down the street and finally ditch these 60 pounds of baby weight. Biggest of all we have a chance to save money and build a base for the rest our lives. A chance to make up for finical mistakes all young people make and really provide for our children.
I can't imagine how difficult this would be with out my parents gracious love. I feel so well taken care of! My warrior husband headed off to war to protect and provide for us. He has honor to continue his commitment to our country despite how much this will hurt him. My parents never have a second thought to take care of me and my children, no matter how hard it might be to have two young children ripping their house apart day and night. There are not words of thanks for these people I am so lucky to be blessed with as family.
2012 will be hard for the Branson family. We know it is scary, but the kids will not. This will be the fun year they lived with Grams and Pops. We are working very hard so that they never feel the stress of it. Daddy is going on an adventure to the dessert.