Pearls for Tags - Women of Army Men

Monday, January 28, 2013

Light At The End Of The Tunnel: Graduation Week

My Ranger talks to his parents on the phone while soaking up the birthday love on pass! 

I can't believe this experience has finally come to a close, and I couldn't be more proud of my darling, brave husband for persevering through one of the toughest leadership courses in the world and successfully graduating Ranger School!

As a new military spouse, learning to find balance and flexibility in the midst of isolation (and a touch of chaos) has been a tremendous uphill learning experience.

Through countless letters, 5 care packages, 2 TA-50 packages, a family medical crisis, 2 recycled phases, a best friend's wedding, 6 8 weeks with my parents back in Texas, 1 visit to my sister at my alma mater, 2 changed flights, wisdom tooth removal, a new hair color, some awesome hang-outs with the best army friends I could ask for, enough time to learn to like running, an exhausted Netflix que, the best Christmas break/Exodus ever!!!! re-arranging the house 3 times, the most precious 5 minute phone calls, and the best reunion kisses a girl could ask for, my Ranger is finally home! hooray!!!!

It was a longer experience than we expected (4-5mo.) and I could definitely go on about why I think the recycles happened, but in the last few phases so many of his peers and friends have been dropped from the course that we've both learned to shift our perspective and expectations and be grateful that, in spite of a few rounds of "recycle roulette," he had the opportunity to tough it out, endure, and earn his tab! And boy did he earn it!

I'm incredibly grateful for the support of the lovely ladies who've shared their experiences through my new favorite blogs and especially the ladies of the Ranger School Wives facebook page (if you haven't found it yet, get invovled! It's a forum for all loved ones: girlfriends, wives, fiances, even mothers so don't shy away because of the name)

I don't know what I'd do without you ladies!  You have been my sanity and my saving grace through an incredibly trying journey, and your encouragement, friendship, and even snark are the best support a girl could have!  As thankful as I am that we are D-O-N-E with Ranger School...I'm gonna miss you guys!

Ok so, let's be honest, I know the rest of you have men graduating soon and are really just dying to know how this whole graduation thing goes down!

Phone Calls
The guys were able to call Sunday night to let us know if they were graduating.
They call by company, and by the time Charlie Co. got to call there were only 30 minutes of phone time left!  It's a game of roulette, really, and we didn't expect to get through C Co. but the guys were on top of it and took about 1-2 min. each and as far as I heard, most girls on the fb page got calls that night!

In Florida phase they're in a different time zone (Central) so the calls may be a bit later than usual.  I got my phone call at 10:49 EST, but a dear friend's husband who got to call in the very early evening from A Co. was kind enough to pass along news that M passed!!! Wooo!

He got to call back Tuesday night, for about 45 minutes!  Due to some fire alarm fiasco at the barracks there wasn't a line at the phones, so it may have been a fluke, but it sure was great to actually hear his voice!

The lovely ladies of the Ranger School Wives facebook page make a phone tree of sorts listing each guy's last name, Company and Platoon so we can ask about each other's loved one in case they don't all get a chance to call the first day.  I'd recommending listing your guy's info. and be sure to help a sister out! 

There he is, just out of the gate! "M" indeed! 
The Wednesday pass was set for an estimated 4-6pm release (it depends on when everyone finishes turning equipment in) and we had to return the men by 10pm.  They actually got out at 5pm, but I had a lovely time meeting and catching up with some sweet friends in the parking lot while we waited.

The Thursday pass was Noon-9pm.  For some reason I thought he just needed to be dropped off at 9 (if they're late they get sent back to Darby! Talk about the Fear of a lot of guys get back 30-60 min early!) This little miscommunication wasn't cleared up until..oh, about 8:30, at which point we jumped in the car and drove like hell to make the 30 min trip with time to spare!  It was memorable. We laughed. (after the fact) :)

From what I've gathered through watching a few phases graduate via the facebook group...there's traditionally a shorter pass on Thursday and longer pass on Friday, both in the evening once the day's tasks are completed.  Once that I've seen, however, the length of the passes were swapped.  Like anything related to the Army, it's subject to change!

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings 
When I picked M up for Christmas Exodus, he was in complete shock.  A little over 3 months of sleep deprivation, hunger deprivation, and following orders made the world of choice overwhelming!  Occasionally I'd ask him, say, what he'd like to eat, and he'd look at me like I asked him why the world spins!  Just treat me like a kid for a day or two, he asked, and I'll get used to all of this choice again. But please, can you drive? It was disorienting for me to see my strong hunk of a man grapple with a huge shift of reality in such an adorable way, but he snapped right back in a couple days.

I mention this because graduation passes were so smooth!  Only 3 weeks following Christmas Exodus, the graduation passes seemed a little silly, buy I could see how they'd be smart to gradually re-orient Ranger students who'd been in that environment 2+months.

We celebrated M's birthday on the first pass (which was a couple weeks earlier) with cupcake cones and streamers and confetti all over the house! I also made some of this awesome cupcake puppy chow, inspired by my sister's pinterest board! {sally's baking addiction} It's great.

Favorite Graduation-related Blog Posts:

*This post was brought to you by the number 3!
As in 3AM, courtesy of a 3:45 AM Airborne PT test. 
Acclimating back to Army Wife life is fun....! But really, it is. 

I'll post details and pictures from Graduation soon! 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

The New Normal

Funny enough, back in September I was just a little bit nervous about living alone for the first time ever (I'd had roommates for years) and laughed hysterically over this video with my mom and sister.  Scary true.  Not all of it, I mean, I'd never admit...
If this is all new for you too, how are you adjusting?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Saga Continues!

Super sketchy shot of Camp Rogers, where I picked M up for Christmas Exodus 
What started as our Ranger School story has turned into our Ranger School saga...

Nevertheless, I love and support my courageous hubby 110% and I feel like it's good to be one tiny voice of "(hey! not everyone sails through in 60 days! and that's ok! it's the nature of the beast.)"

I could go intro great detail on the nature of his experience and the challenges we've faced, but I'm learning very quickly that plans in the Army change, no matter what training or unit you're in.  And at least the harsh lesson in flexibility I've learned in this first year of our marriage has given me peace and confidence in facing our future, wherever the Army sends us.

I used to be TERRIFIED of deployments, and I'm sure I'll still be shaking in my shoes when the time arises, (mostly for the danger he'll be in!) but we've learned how to have a healthy relationship, if not strengthen it, through distance rather than let it break us.  So as much as Ranger School is a total drag on loved ones, it is possible to cherish the moments together enough that they outweigh the time apart...though Christmas Exodus was pretty much the best thing on earth, so if this doesn't resonate with you, chalk it up to being recharged with a couple weeks of bliss!

Random tip of the week though: On the last day of Christmas Exodus my darling husband hid little notes for me all over the house, which I'm still finding tucked away!  It's the most precious thing ever. But I started leaving the letters I got from him around the house too with the notes, not just on my desk or by the bed where I could mope before sleep. And as simple as it is, having those constant reminders where I run into them cheers me up a lot more than I'd expect!  Try it!
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

What keeps you sane while your sweetheart is away?

Home Alone (Phase) 3

After 78 days of playing this Ranger School game... I'm relatively settled in to a routine of living alone.
From taking care of business all on my own to deciding that it's acceptable to wear leggings every day of the week, catch up on all the classic movies and Law & Order I can handle for the year, and eat roasted brussel sprouts for dinner... ok maybe it's not the most balanced routine, but it works!

What keeps you sane while your sweetheart is away?


best way to get a million crazy stares in the Commissary....?
carry a huge stalk of brussel sprouts around at lunchtime before Thanksgiving!
+ This bread recipe from Simply So Good is super easy to make and so very delicious. 
(Cranberry Orange Almond variety) 

More on my Georgia adventures here (theramblingnomad)
Columbus, Ga

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Recycle Land

What?! Recycled? No, no, no, not him, he's too strong, he leads too well, his peers all like him....

Well, ladies, I don't care how strong or tough your men are... sometimes at Ranger School, it's all about numbers. If RI's need to have 30 men recycle, they're going to get those numbers. B. gave me the reasons he recycled -- and as luck has it, it was just a bad draw of RI graders. He got the same one twice -- and that fellow was PCS-ing to Hawaii after that, so he failed everyone he graded. B. then had 1 shot with a "fair" grader... who wasn't so fair. "Big giant douche," was what another squad mate of his said.

The fact of the matter is, recycling is tough. Very tough. Tough on you, tough on him, tough on anyone who happens to cross your path. And, in fact, this post has been sitting in "draft" mode for almost 2 weeks now, because I truly didn't know how to approach it.

Here's how it ran with me/us. Class of 11-12, on Friday, began calling to let their loved ones know they got their GO. My phone stayed silent. Eerily silent. Then I get a text from another SO -- "I'm so sorry, girl. He recycled."

Just like that. My first reaction was relief that I knew for sure; the second, unending sorrow for B. I've seen him at his worst when things don't turn out well "because of something he did." He gets furious with himself. I've learned to just not speak and wait for him to pull himself out of his funk, which he always does. But imagining him dealing with this letdown, I knew what he'd think -- he'd feel like he let me down. He'd be embarrassed, ashamed, and feel worthless, and nothing I could/can say or do would change that. Trying to change his mindset would make him feel even worse because he'd be letting something affect his mind that he didn't want to affect him.

All Friday night, my phone didn't ring. It came to be about 11 pm my time, and I went to bed, with the phone on loud, right next to my ear. Still nothing. I was tortured, guys. Everything I had heard said that I should have gotten a phone call that night. Why wasn't he calling me? Was he just too ashamed to talk to me? (That thought killed me, we've always been pretty good at communicating what was going on, no matter how difficult it might be to spit out.) Did he just get one phone call and used it on his mom? (That was a better thought, but I hadn't heard from her, so who knew what was going on...)

Saturday morning I got a call from Katy -- M. had reached out to her to let her know he had recycled, and that B. was in the barracks with him. I had a huge sigh of relief, and now I knew 100% that B. wasn't moving on to Florida phase. I had gotten most of my bad feelings out of the way, and spent the rest of Saturday just waiting for B. to call me from Dahlonega. Pretty rough, but by no means as rough as Friday night's wait.

Saturday evening, circa 6 pm or so, I got a call when I was at my parent's house. My mom looked at me expectantly, and I just said, "It's him." Then I dashed off to the guest bedroom and took the call. "Hello?" I just heard the hesitation in my voice. The nerves. I'm sure he did, too, but if he did, there was no indication.

"Hey babes, it's me."

And just like that, the worry, the stress, the fury at the "Man" all dissipated. Absolutely nothing mattered except that I was hearing B.'s voice for the first time in over 3 weeks. I'm sure I said something like, "Hey, how's it going?" or something equally lame, but his next phrase was, "So I'm guessing you've heard the bad news?"

"Uh, yeah, I have.How are you?" I could hear him deflate on the other end. What was me bracing myself for a bad reaction sounded a hell of a lot like disappointment on his end. Oh, shit.

"Yeah, man, it just.... sucks." Shit, shit, shit. Way to go, asswipe, make him feel like crap, that's being supportive. And what did I do next? Act sympathetic? Nope. I made a joke.

 "Ha, I'll bet. Well, it wouldn't be Ranger School if they just let you skate on through all the phases. They had to make it hard for you somehow."

By the grace of God, that got him to laugh, and in an instant we were back to normal. Or as normal as a long-distance military couple enduring Ranger school could be. I told him how so incredibly proud I was in the next breath, and how much I loved him. I could hear him sound relieved, and I started peppering him with questions to take his mind off of what was, on my part, a major screw up (I've got to watch my tone....).

Eventually we got around to what had happened. Basically, there were RI's who sucked, and RI's who majorly sucked. Then there was the RI's who majorly sucked AND were leaving the 5th RTB to PCS to Hawaii, so they didn't give a tiny rat's ass about who they passed and failed... so they just failed everyone! B. got that last guy (who's PCSing to Hawaii) for two of his three graded patrols. Odds were stacked against him, even though he should have gotten 3 different graders all 3 times. The fightin' side of me wants to go talk to this RI who just failed everyone, but not only is that psycho, it's also not my place. But it makes me feel good to say "I'm gonna kick his ass!", so there, I just did.

So, for a week, B. called me every night, which was awesome because he even got to call me on my birthday! The Birthday Song never sounded so sweet as it did when he crooned it (hahah, okay, maybe not actually a croon, but that's what it sounded like to me).

Friday, October 26th was the last time I talked to him on the phone. On Monday, October 29th, I got his letters that he had written during down time in Recycle Land.

One paper was his reaction to having just found out. Another was more reaction. And another was more reaction. The other six (yes, SIX) were all what he did during the day. But the first three... would break anyone's heart.

The day that the guys from his squad moved on to Florida, they made the recycles serve breakfast to them -- as if to reinforce the mentality of "you're worthless." Then the recycles ate alone as all their friends moved on to the next phase. Cruel, sick, horrible, but such is Ranger School.

You see, what he hadn't told me over the phone, everything I had suspected was bothering him, was in those three letters, plus so much more. Emotions and memories I didn't even know would affect him. So, after the window in which to talk to him on the phone closed, I was reading these raw emotions, something I had never done. In the 3 years we've been together, I had never heard him so beaten down, embarrassed and just.... not him. He had felt he let me down (he said that at least four times), and how he knows I expected better of him (right, like he could have done anything to help his situation) and all this other stuff.

But, the next letters were all super upbeat, almost happy that he was a recycle. He got 3 square meals a day, he got a ton of care packages the last day (even though they told them they'd get them daily.... that's another spot of contention for me...), and we got to talk every night for an hour or more about our day, our future plans (woohoo, New Years Eve celebration!) and so on. So, things were right with the world when he went to tackle Mt. Yonah for the second time.

What to take from all this: This was clearly just my experience. I know B. pulls out of his funk quicker than the average male. Trust me, I've dated the average male. B. has got a pretty good handle on his emotions and psyche, and it's one of the things that makes him incredibly strong. He's also got a good meter for my emotions as well. Our conversations weren't all about him. He made them about me, too, which is incredible, and true to his style. But other guys might not handle this rejection, so to speak, as well. Just know your man. If he broods, let him. If he vents, let him. Whatever works, go with it. Watch your tone, don't make the mistake I did. You can't show him your facial expression to show you're not disappointed, just nervous -- make sure your tone says that for you.

And most of all.... just be supportive. It's rough, I absolutely agree with you. If you're reading this, you're probably looking at where to turn during this Purgatory phase -- and I'm happy you are! Because this is the place to vent and to ask questions regarding yourself (for now). Until he's out of Ranger School, our comrades, the other Army SO's, are our battle buddies. For him, now, we're just the one-woman cheerleading squad. 

And that's okay.

Stay classy.


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The Lost Art of Letter Writing

We, as Ranger School wives, girlfriends and fiances, are intimately acquainted with a tradition long out of practice - the art of writing love letters.  At this vantage point of Day 54 (36 to go! Hooah!) synthesizing all I would share about day-to-day life, our hopes and dreams, and how much I miss my other-half into a peppy little letter of encouragement has gotten quite natural.  But for me, it’s been a learning experience. 

After about two weeks without a response I began to feel as though I were writing into a void and I wondered if M did receive my letters, or if he was even alert enough to read them.  Let's be real here, it's hard to write "I love you! Stay strong!" a thousand and one different ways. 

Needless to say, as his only contact with the outside world, those letters and cards are far more important than I realized.  So I want to add a little letter writing, and specifically “love letter,” inspiration as well as come up with a bit of a letter writing resource for those with husbands just starting Ranger School. 

I came across this amazing movement the other day: "the world needs more love letters."  I cannot possibly explain it better than the site's creator, Hanna Brencher said herself: 
I’ve discovered that no matter how tough we act, we all still need a love letter from time to time. That even in a world crammed tight into 140 characters and constant status updates, there is a still a great craving for the handwritten note. But most of all, I learned with certainty that the world needs far more than just my own love letters.
Her site is a recipe for love-lettering, and when my creativity began to wane, this guide to The Art of love lettering revived it in a heartbeat! 

I’ve heard some really great ideas over the last month, like sending funny pick-up lines (was that you, Ashley?) and of course, sending the upcoming weather report, news articles, and jokes (right on, Courtney!)  Please contribute your brilliant ideas! Add an idea in the comments and I’ll update the list, to your credit of course. :)  Those of you who've been through deployments, I'm sure you're pro's at this!  What got you through it?  How did you stay positive in your communication?

I’ll try to backtrack a bit and make this list a resource for creative Ranger School letter writing: 
  • Addresses for each phase 
    • At the beginning of Ranger School when you don't know your guy's Company or Roster number, just put the class date (like Class 1-13) in and the letter should get to him. 
  • Gum: a stick or two of gum in each letter is usually allowed.  Some RI's may take it away, but to date I haven't heard of anyone getting in trouble for receiving a few sticks of gum in their letters. 
    • In the last bundle of letters I sent a feast: Spearmint ("Freshen up smelly!"), Mystery 5 (because life is a mystery as a Ranger Student), ("You're sweet as") Apple Pie, and good old Mint Chocolate Chip.  Carried away? Perhaps.   
  • Send Seasonal Cards 
  • Raid your mother's stash of old greeting cards.  
    • Is this normal?  My mom had a huge stack of cards.  Soo funny!  She pulled out a graduation card, and as I was saying some snarky remark about how that must have been one she forgot to give me when I graduated high school 5 years ago, she said "hmm. I think this was for a French Horn student" (when i was 3 yrs old!) Trumped.   Some of her 20 yr old cards are tacky as heck but M will certainly get a laugh. 
  • Perfume
  • Seal with a kiss
  • Sports Recaps & Scores
  • Photos
    • Laminate a wallet size photo or photos for wet & soggy Florida Phase
    • Print photos of fun memories together as a happy distraction
  • Isn't there some way to send a photo from your phone as a postcard? Sounds super relevant :) 
  • Number your letters 
    • So your guy can sort them out if/when they get delivered out of order or all at once
    • I'm totally not organized enough to do this consistently....but it makes sense!
  • Dream together. 
    • For us, it helps to write about our future and all that it may hold.  Our next PCS, trips we'd like to take, sitting by the fireplace at Christmas together...whatever it takes. 

  • {your advice here}

{As my Mom so helpfully pointed out, it's a little hard to comment on blogger. Just click on the title of the post and a happy little comment box will appear below!  I also just added a subscribe button, so if you'd like to stay in the loop and get notified when we have new posts, check that out!}

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Day of Mountain Phase

I really struggled with the title of this post. Maybe it's because I have zero information about what's going on over there, but I've become highly superstitious these past 40 days. Seriously, do you realize that God would have ended the flood in Noah's time by now? 40 days and 40 nights. Not saying that the Almighty-created flood compares to Ranger school, I'm just making a dramatic point.

I didn't want to call this post what I did -- I should put quotes around the word "last," but then that makes it sound like I don't have faith in B. So, imagine the quotes are there, but they're there because, inevitably, someone is in this class will have to repeat Mountain Phase all over again. I just pray it's not B. But, if it is, I will survive, because I've been gearing up for this school for nearly 3 years when B. and I started dating. Hooah.

I have a lot of questions running through my mind. Did he get my care package(s)? Are the RI's really as vindictive and psycho as I think they are? Do they take note of how much mail a Ranger candidate receives, and then withholds outgoing mail from the postal office? Or am I reading way too much into this? What is the morale like in B's platoon (since it's platoon-lead operations)? More importantly... Will I be able to say the right things if the call I might get tonight is not bearing good news? Will I be able to lift him up in a time where he will be so down, and so disappointed? I'm praying for strength and patience, and for God to work through my words, if that's the case. I know there's no way I can do it without His guidance, that's for sure. I have a tendency to stick my foot in my mouth, so, c'mon Big Guy, help a sister out, please... sir? Amen.

Moreover I think about B. What he's doing, how much he's had to eat, when he might have had his shot at getting his "Go," and a million other little things. If he was reading this right now, he'd tell me (like always) to stop worrying -- and (like always), I'd respond with:

"I'm not worrying, I'm just thinking..... intently."

Yup, that's one of the little rituals that is missing while he's gone. I, the Type A personality with a penchant for over-analyzing; and he, the Type B personality who is gracious enough to put up with my neurosis, who has a constant guilt complex that he seemingly causes my over-analyzing (sweetie, if you ever end up reading this, it's not you... I'd over-analyze a million other things if you weren't Army, so RLTW).

So, on Friday, October 19th, 2012, Ranger School Day 40, with however many more days left until graduation (there's that fear of jinxing him again...), I sit at my computer at work, no appetite and phone attached to my hip.

Stay classy.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Care Package Time!

Ok, for those of you class 11-12 procrastinators like me, you just might have one day left to send a care package. Maybe. With priority mail from Texas, this box of goodies is supposed to arrive Wednesday and only cost me a small arm and a leg to ship. It was about the size of 2 large flat rate boxes ($15/each) so for $30 flat rate would have actually cost me 40 cents more! Ha. I'm clearly out of touch with shipping rates.

I just might have gotten a little carried away with the Christmas wrapping paper (surprise, surprise) and couldn't resist sending some sweets.  Home-made chocolate chip cookies and brownies, to be exact.  I have no idea if they'll be good 5 days old in spite of my excessive ziplocking, but as long as they haven't spoiled I think M will find them quite edible.

Ashley's Darby phase care package and Courtney's themed packages are the most brilliant inspiration!  If you haven't seen them yet, go check them out!

Since I live in Columbus/just outside Fort Benning I didn't send a care package for Darby phase, so I'll try not to repeat everything the girls already posted (which I used as my guides, thank you very much!) and hit the highlights:

  - Peanut Butter +bread/crackers/graham crackers/etc.
  - Jerky
  - Nutritious/protein granola bars
  - Extra gum.  Specifically, "Extra" brand watermelon gum is rumored to last the longest.
  - Enough sweets to make them feel loved and spoiled, and satisfy cravings without making
    them sick (esp. those who are airborne qualified)
  - Fresh fruit!
  - Gatorade (I never noticed their recovery series until now...a chocolate shake
     with 20g protein? bingo! I also threw in some "energy chews"...anyone know
     if they work? or taste ok?)

  - ziplocks
  - foot powder
  - pens & pencils
  - index cards (which i forgot, oops!)
  - hand sanitizer or wipes
  - bug spray
  - chapstick
  - a new supply of pre-addressed, stamped envelopes w/his Florida address.
  - shower shoes (My husband specifically requested these.  Though they're bizarrely hard
     to find out of season.  I hope he likes pink and purple flowers...)
  - Pictures of home & family.  Due to our family med. emergency, I also managed to get
    pictures of his whole family, including da Grandma! I love her. She just taught me how
    to knit socks, is that not awesome?

I've been trying to think of Florida-phase specific items he might need, like socks...oh if I'd thought of them sooner! Can you think of anything?

I really wanted to send him an extra supply of clean, dry Fox River socks, which are supposedly absolutely amazing (and better be at $12/pair) though he bought several extra pairs on his 8 hour pass so I don't know if he'd really need extra. Thoughts?  If I come up with a substantial list I may have Amazon Prime ship it faster than I can :)

Can y'all think of any other essentials or supplies that might be useful for the Florida phase?  I'm so anxious to get the call that he passed (positive thinking) and can't believe we've all made it this far!  What are y'all doing to keep busy?

**according to the infamous Ranger School Wives facebook page, anything not on page 4 (contraband list) of the packing list is ok to send. 
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ranger On

Hi Friends!

How are y'all hanging in there?
For those of us with guys in class 11-12, we've only got 23 days until the first graduation week pass! Yeah!!!

Sorry to be so absent lately, but we've had one hellofa week.  In short, my dad-in-law had a medical emergency, in fact, his heart completely stopped, and we had some tough choices to make in regards to Ranger School.  I'm not usually keen on divulging personal details like this, but if my mother-in-law herself wasn't a retired Army Captain with an older son just out of the military, I'm not sure that I would have had any clue what to do.  

In the midst of all this, I've had some time on my hands.
This is a card I drew for my hubby/superhero; our last name begins with S.

For the record, my dad-in-law made it through and is making a remarkably great recovery, but when M's mother called last week, she shocked me with the news that his dad was in critical condition and wasn't expected to make it through the night.  His heart had actually stopped beating several hours earlier, and it took them an hour and a half to find a pulse and bring him back (!!!) but she waited to call and potentially pull M out of Ranger School until every doctor and nurse there confirmed that his sons needed to come NOW.

At a previous FRG event, a senior spouse mentioned that she asks her husband some critical questions before every deployment, like if anyone is sick, do you want to know?  If anyone is dying do you want to know?  Will you want to leave?  As impossible as it might be to answer that, it's good to ask, apparently.  I wish we had discussed it earlier, but I simply couldn't keep that information from him. 

So in case of any situation like this that may require emergency leave 

(when your soldier's deployed or otherwise off the grid, like in Ranger School) 
contact the American Red Cross:
(877) 272-7337

Be sure to have the Hospital name & phone number, and ask family to give the nurses permission to release information to the Red Cross.  The Red Cross representatives were beyond helpful, kind, and compassionate.  I cannot thank them enough!  

In my case, I thought I knew my husband better than anyone until they asked questions like if he may need cadre support or to receive the message from a chaplain since it would come as a which I had to answer, maybe cadre support, but in that state of sleep deprivation he might punch the chaplain...

To make a long story short, M decided to stay in Ranger School (his Dad's wishes) and finish strong with the extra motivation. He asked that I go in his place and be there for his family, so I unpacked the bags I'd so hastily thrown together for both of us, threw together clothes for a wedding and a funeral, an AMAZING friend drove me to the Atlanta airport last minute, (Shannon, you're a lifesaver!!!) and I hopped the first plane I could get on back home.  

His dad shocked us all again by pulling through, then coming off the breathing machines  (please excuse my medical ineptitude) in a matter of days rather than weeks, and then getting up and walking about in less than a week!  He's not much of a fan of hospitals...or rehabilitation facilities (I would want to get the hell out of there too) and today I actually visited him at home!  Walking around! Climbing stairs!  You'd never know his heart's been there and back again a few times this week.  

M's been through the ringer dealing with all this while at Ranger School, especially the uncertainty of thinking his dad had passed for a whole day, but cadre has been really fantastic about allowing him to call intermittently for updates and even talk to his dad for about 15 minutes last night.  For those of you who saw my vague fb updates or heard the news, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!  I truly believe that made all the difference in his dad's recovery and M's peace of mind to Ranger on!  

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ranger Girl's Creed

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger girlfriend, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen life, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger-to-be. And to not burst into a sobbing wreck two days after the start of each phase.Yeah, that.
Acknowledging the fact that my Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea or air, I accept that fact that as a Ranger girlfriend my country expects me to know less, fly by the seat of my pants more, and consume more chocolate products than any other soldier’s girlfriend.
Never shall I fail my fellow Ranger SO’s. I will always bite my tongue when a sarcastic remark seems most fitting, extend sympathy, and compare my notes. I will shoulder more than my share of impatience and frustration, at whatever may be the current issue, one-hundred-percent, but no more, because anything more than a hundred percent is literally impossible.
Gallantly will I show the world that I have not been well-trained enough to deal with this crap. My constant letter writing to my soldier, insistence of wearing sweatpants at all times, and incessant baking of soothing cupcakes shall set the example for other women to follow.
Energetically will I anticipate the needs of my Ranger. I shall defeat his hunger with a slew of care packages, for I am a Ranger girlfriend with awesome Google skills. I will fight his starvation with all my might. “Modest care package” is not a Ranger girlfriend phrase. I will never leave my Ranger’s squad to fall into the clutches of hunger, and under most circumstances I will embarrass him with multiple care packages.
Readily will I display a countdown to Ranger graduation day, a tool required to fight on to the ultimate Ranger objective, and complete the Hell which is the 62 day course, though I be a lowly Ranger girlfriend.
Ranger SO’s Lead The Way!!!

Just a little something to help cheer everyone up! Happy Hump day everyone!

- Courtney 
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