A way of life

In the past 7 years we will have moved, (come the beginning of June) 8 times. No we’re not trend-setters traveling the exotic lands, we’re you’re typical Army family. Don’t get me wrong, there are many service members who have been able to stay in the same duty station for a long time, but those simply haven’t been the cards that we were dealt.

I’ve heard it all… from “hey, you knew what you were getting yourself into” to “aww, I feel so sorry for you, how do you do it?”

First things first, whoever can attest that they completely knew what they were getting themselves into; I’d love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you. Secondly, I speak for myself when I say this, please don’t feel sorry for us, it’s not easy, but it truly is a test of our love – not just our love for one another as husband and wife, but our love for our family, friends and our country. Let’s be honest marriage isn’t easy, it requires work and neither is raising children, then add months or over a year of having your family separated and it’ll definitely test all dynamics of your relationship.

We’ve clearly had to make many tough choices and sacrifices, none of which we regret. I guess what I’m saying is that most of us who choose to stand beside a service member just want to have a little support, not too much because we need to stay strong while they’re away, but enough to encourage us and remind us that we’re not alone. Actually, let’s be honest… that’s what everyone needs!!

On the bright side of things this lifestyle has definitely made us focus on what matters most. I used to like collecting every little memorabilia (mind you I wasn’t a hoarder) and save certain things only for special occasions and then by the 3rd move, regardless of how well I packed, things were inevitably ruined or broken. So we stopped saving things for “special occasions,” not only for that reason but because we realized that being together as a family was so rare that every one of those days were special.

As I share this I can’t help but begin to get choked up because the truth is that after a while you forget how special it is to have an ordinary day. We only stop to appreciate all the little things when we’re faced with not having them anymore. The months after dad returns from deployment or the months right before he’s getting ready to leave, it hits us… why do we fight over the little things. Why don’t we appreciate every single moment that we’re blessed with together?

Deployments suck, but I’m also grateful for them because they have made me appreciate the little things that otherwise I might not have appreciated. There’s no movie that I could have watched, no book that I could have read… it’s something that I had to experience to fully grasp the importance of how fragile life is. I can’t allow myself to ponder the “what if’s…” because if I do then I won’t be able to function as a mom and be strong enough for the kids. It was a whole lot easier when he was sent away and they were babies. Well, it was harder on me, but I could take it! Now it’s not like I can go into a room and just cry it out of my system because I have to be strong for these kids who look up to me for courage and understanding of what’s going on. So what do we do? We take it one day at a time and the best way to avoid the pang in our hearts is by keeping busy and our minds occupied because it’s true what they say… “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.”

I’ve always jokingly asked my husband, “when is the Army going to take us to the more scenic duty stations?” To which I’ve always known the answer because he’s in Field Artillery. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s where they work with tanks and all those big machines and train in the less desirable locations where population is scarce and few will complain at the sound of things getting blown up. I’ve also tried to convince him to change to a more desirable job description, but we both know that he doesn’t do this for the mere enjoyment of it, but rather because it’s his calling.

So an opportunity recently presented itself and I signed us up for the challenge. Since we’re pros at traveling to the less desirable locations as is, how great would it be to upgrade our gypsy lifestyle to see some of the more desirable places on earth?! Dad will be away until Christmas and I figured this would be the perfect way of keeping us super busy while expanding our horizons. We’re a “glass is always half-full” kind of family, we can always see the positive in any situation and while dad’s gone, why not travel the world?!

Would you like to join us on our adventure? We need YOUR support and all that you need to do to show us your support is vote for our video as your favorite by sharing it with as many people and as often as possible. If you haven’t checked out our video yet, here it is: http://www.mydestination.com/users/thepaynes/bbb

You’ll be part of our entire adventure as we blog and share every detail and pictures we can cram into our blog. Let us know what you want to know more about, where you’d like us to visit, what we should try, what you’d recommend us to avoid, etc.

In case you think I might be a bit over my head, in which I considered for approximately .02 seconds, I would like to assure you that according to the experts we have what it takes! World traveler Matt Long points out 5 personality traits every good traveler should have:

  1. Curiosity – Matt Long considers curiosity to be the “keystone upon which any quality travel experience is built” upon. Traveling without being intellectually motivated is only half the experience! Well, we’re at NO shortage of curiosity! Have you ever spent a day with a 4-year old? No stone will go unturned!403624_10150545676269329_1134524985_n
  2. Honesty – The unwritten rule of always being honest even when it comes to the smallest of actions is truly simple when you have good accountability. As a parent you’re always an example to follow and your every action and word is constantly under scrutiny!honesty
  3. Patience – Now that’s a virtue if I’ve ever seen one! Something that you only gain through experience…patience
  4. Perseverance – That’s exactly what we’re doing, we are persevering although it seems that the insurmountable odds are not in our favor. As Matt Long wonderfully put it, “It also takes perseverance to make our travel dreams a reality…”   persevere
  5. Humility – This is something that has developed through parenthood, but it’s also something that’s difficult to teach and instill in our children. Personally, it’s an area I could definitely develop more in. I think experiencing the world and seeing how it truly is would teach us just that. It would put itty-bitty us in perspective with our expansive world.humilityWith that being said we’re in it to win it and we’re counting on your support! Please share our video within your circle of influnence – your family, friend, coworkers, whoever it is that you feel comfortable sharing our story with! This was our very first attempt ever in making a YouTube video so we’re rookies here: http://www.mydestination.com/users/thepaynes/bbb
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