Monday, October 17, 2005

 

Profile: Chaplain's Assistant

No, this isn’t one of my normal Profiles, but I received this note from Mrs. Dadmanly. She wrote this for her final Family Readiness Group (FRG) newsletter. For deployed Soldiers, the FRG is a volunteer organization of family members and rear detachment personal who support the families left behind and help support and encourage their soldiers overseas. Mrs. Dadmanly offered to be a "Chaplain's Assistant" for our FRG, helping connect people with support resources and communicating between families and our Chaplain (and Command).

I read this note from her and thought, “If there’s one Soldier in this effort I admire and respect more than any other, it would be Mrs. Dadmanly.”

So without further ado, I present a Profile, some in her own words, with an occasional aside from her devoted husband. (That would be me.)

Mrs. Dadmanly in (mostly) her own words

“Somewhere over the Rainbow…” One of the wives put that on top of an e-mail she sent me, and I just love it. Especially if you know the whole song, the dream is coming true…

I have one regret during this deployment. I really wish I did not wait so long to get involved with the FRG and our soldiers’ families. I am truly going to miss the connections I have made with many of you, some spoken and some that are in my heart alone. Just seeing some of you and not even speaking, just knowing we are going through the same feelings, emotions, struggles, highs, lows, waiting, phone calls, e-mails. It has even been fun comparing with each of you dates/times our soldiers will be home, I think our soldiers wanted to keep us all guessing, and it is definitely something to talk about, lol. Believe it or not, that even brought a smile to my face.

(Dadmanly: OPSEC. We use it to drive our spouses crazy. That’s a devious ulterior motive to the whole “I really can’t tell you anything” bit.)

I’m looking out the window as I write this, from the sixth floor of my building at work, the clouds are moving swiftly across the sky. It reminds me that the time until our soldiers are home is moving towards us as quickly as the clouds go by. I look below the clouds to the ground, and there are people moving about busily, the cars going up and down the road, yet the clouds above are at their own pace, continuing to move along consistently.

I have felt many times through this deployment like the clouds that I see today, separate and apart from the rest of the world, but continuing to move, waiting, hoping, believing, wondering. Before long my feet will be back on the ground rolling along with everyone else I see below the clouds. I’m sure there will be days that I do not even notice the clouds passing by, when my soldier is home. Iraq will be a thought of “my past experiences,” tucked into that area in my mind that other events, situations, life experiences, moments in time….are kept.

Much has transpired in my own life during this deployment. I have become more reliant on God then I ever have. I have had to have faith even when I doubted, I have had to persevere even when I truly did not want to. I have had to believe that God would give me the strength I needed to get through each day, and to trust Him, that He knows what I need when I need it. He has done this for me and more.

We hear much about “when our soldiers return” and “the changes that may have occurred in them.” In reflecting over my life during this time, I see how I have changed. I welcome some of the changes. I worried about so much before my soldier left: Will I be able to “do it all!” Be the Mom, the Dad, the Wife, the Friend, the Daughter, the Sister, the Aunt, the Employee, the Volunteer.

(Dadmanly: I thought I wear a lot of hats, she’s got me beat by a baker’s dozen. Or a chef’s dozen. Or teacher’s dozen. A whole lot more of those dozens, anyway.)

Some days have been really really tough and I’ve gone to bed crying that I cannot do this another day, other days went by without a hitch and I thought, “Wow, that was a GREAT day.” I made it through driving the van into the ditch, the microwave being thrown out the door as the wires were burning, the vacuum cleaner smoking and being thrown out the door after the rug got lodged around the beater bar (I thought that was on fire too), the dishwasher throwing off fireworks as I tried to fix it, and the five very patient firemen that came to my rescue, when asked if they could do anything else for me, I asked them to check the refrigerator that now was dripping water into a bowl inside (heck I only have to empty it every few days, no big deal).

(Dadmanly: We’re lucky the house is still standing. She knows well enough to not let ME fix anything myself, but when I get home that goes double for her, too.)

And the little things: the caulking I did in the bathroom, the toilet seat I fixed (I just needed a screwdriver), the wobbly legs on the table, the shelves I hung, the $100 dollar bill that fell under the house through the tiniest of cracks on my porch (got it with several meat skewers taped together and I poked it).

(Dadmanly: She understates by some orders of magnitude the ordeal of getting that $100 bill back. From what I heard, Little Manly sacrificed at least one whiffle bat and we all lost two or three noodle floats that now reside permanently under the porch.)

Then the “have to’s”: the baseball games, the soccer games, practices, school work, projects, laundry, cleaning, cooking, oil changes, tune-ups, even proper tire pressure, doing the “balancing act.” The Mom things: playing board games (that I do not like), bike riding, watching the history channel (I know more about history now then when I was in school), saying for the 100th time I’m sorry for losing my patience, listening even when its 10:00 p.m. and all I want to do is have it quiet. Wiping a tear and giving hugs and disciplining when I want someone else to do it. Wanting to scream at little unimportant things (please get ready, please brush your teeth, please turn off the light, please finish your homework, please zip up your jacket, please tie your shoes, please pick up your socks) and replacing it with a sigh and a smile.

(Dadmanly: Most Moms I know have a much harder job than us Husbands ever dream about. Never, never, never will I allow myself to take this woman for granted.)

For me: a cup of green tea, so soothing, sitting in the dark and lighting just one candle in my living room, the one that is there for my soldier, hearing a favorite song, singing at the top of my lungs in the car, watching an old romantic movie, eating ring dings with friends, chatting on the phone about silly stuff. Using my lavender lotion, spraying my soldiers favorite perfume and wearing his cologne. Finding comfort in hugging my soldiers pillow and robe after being overwhelmed in ways I never thought possible.

Going to an FRG meeting and knowing that the people there, even if not spoken, are going through the same things I am, going to church on Sundays, reading my Bible and thinking of all the things I cannot wait to do when my soldier comes home. A whirlwind of emotions, thoughts, actions, life “during deployment.”

Now as our soldiers’ return is drawing near, I took out my soldiers shoes and placed them on the floor next to mine. I went through the closet to shake the dust off some clothes that are his favorites, thinking I should probably buy him some shaving cream and get some of his favorite foods. I’ve left behind much of the worry that I had going into this, mostly because I’ve changed.

God has gotten me through, I have survived. Well, I’m surviving and I feel good.

Things that used to be of utmost importance to me have lost much of there power, deflated. Good changes. I’ll miss writing to you all. This has been a great way to feel connected. Thank You, each of you. God Bless your reuniting with MUCH peace, joy, love, healing, lots of laughter, fun, and renewal. I pray your lives have been enriched by this experience we have gone through.

Skies are blue, Over the Rainbow! HOOAH! WE DID IT!

Dadmanly’s Epilog

Mrs. D, I will never be able to express in words to you, or Little Manly, or Jilly Beans, or Spud, our your family, or mine, just how completely you all sustained me and gave me the strength to keep taking on each day. Yes, I have God in my life, and yes, I try to place my faith and trust in Him, and I know He should be all I need.

Still. God’s second greatest gift to me (after Salvation), was you, and everything else good in my life happened from that. My life was redeemed, my relationships with family were redeemed, my hope in relationship with my daughters was redeemed, we all became a family, together.

And it was that great, great gift that helped me have hope when my faith failed; feel love when I felt without hope; feel joy when God reminded me of His great mercy and grace, by sending me a thought, or story, or note from one of you.

You are my heroes.

Mrs. Dadmanly Insists on the Last Word:

No, Dadmanly, you're the hero, I'm the very very blessed woman that threw my hook and it caught onto you and I did not let it go.

If it were not for you, so many many areas of my life would not have been made possible. You have given me courage, self-esteem, spirituality, worth, and other things I cannot mention, lol. You have stood firm and true to what is right, just, moral, in this crazy world we live in. You are and always will be my best friend and the one person in my life that I look up to, for guidance, understanding, hope, trust, love, and encouragement.

I truly do not think I could go on without knowing you would be returning. I have done this for you, us, the kids. I could not have EVER done it on my own. Thank You for completing ME and for being faithful, honest, and true. I LOVE You with all my heart.

Come home. I promise not to touch another electrical applicance again and I look forward to you driving...lol :)

Links: Mudville Gazette, Indepundit

Other Profiles in the Series:
The Analysts
Supply Sergeants
Cooks & Contractors
The LT
The NCOIC
The CSM
The Motor Sergeant
The CO



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