I stayed awake last night thinking about this and I think the title duty calls is appropriate for this post. Last night Knights of Columbus, St. Cecilia’s Church, put on a wonderful dinner benefit for us. They sold out within two hours. It was incredible. The turn out was outstanding and showed us how wonderful this community is. Throughout the night people would say how strong I was or brave I was. And last night as I laid in bed, I thought about it. You have do what you have to do when duty calls.
I have always lived by this since I married a military man. My husband served 5 years in the United States Army as Military Police. When we first got married he was just starting shift work. This meant he worked the three rotating shifts; day- 6am to 2pm, swings- 2pm to 10pm, and mids- 10pm to 6 am. Days off together were very far and few in between and when we got a moment we spent it together. I started school that fall and with his shift work, there was weeks we didn’t get to see each other. It was hard but we managed.
The hardest thing was when he got orders to Korea. I will never forget the moment I found out. I was three months pregnant with our son Owen and I was in Oswego for class. I drove at night after work to class two nights a week. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and a friend called me as I was walking in. She asked if it was true he got orders because she knew I was pregnant and all. Greg didn’t tell me because he wanted to wait for me to get home. My dear friend felt terrible when she realized, I had no idea. I broke down in tears. I knew that going to Korea meant two options. Greg would either go alone and we would be apart a year or I went with him but I would be in a foreign country having a baby with no family around and be there for two years.
After many nights of tears and discussion, we decided it was best if I braved out the year here with my family and he would go to Korea and serve his one year there. It was a very hard decision but it made sense to us. I would be 28 weeks pregnant when he left so it would only be the most logical thing to do. We moved me into my parents house with our two dogs. My parents rearranged their house to accommodate me, our two dogs and our baby gear. March 8th came and he left for Korea. I took him to the airport and saw him off. That was my best friend who was leaving and part of my heart. It was one of the hardest things I will ever have to do.
During this time I had many people ask me, how do you do it? I ask, how do you not do it? Greg is my husband. I knew the life I was getting into the moment I fell in love with him and I knew that by being his wife, it meant I had to be strong and brave when he left. It was either Korea or being deployed several months later like his unit did. Sometimes you have to throw out the window what you think your limits of strength are and let God show you how far you can really go. It will amaze you how much you didn’t know. Also a friend of my mom’s gave me a cross when I got married. It said on it, “God, grant me the serenity, To accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” This cross hangs wherever I am because it applies so much to military life. I can’t thank her enough for that cross because something as simple as that, has made a difference in my way of thinking in life.
Greg and I survived the year apart. I survived a lot on my own and I grew a lot. I learned to have more confidence in myself that I can do this all alone even if I didn’t want to. Duty called, and I had to be a “single mother” for the time being. During this time I gave birth to our son Owen Wyatt Tucker on June 3, 2010 with my parents and sister by my side and Greg over the phone and internet. I had to be by my son’s side while he was in the NICU for four days after birth due to low blood sugar. I had to figure out how to get a newborn and all my stuff to the doctors by myself. I had to learn a lot.
Greg returned when Owen as 9 months old. We moved to Georgia to be stationed at Fort Stewart. We knew we weren’t staying there and wouldn’t be there long. We were just finishing up Greg’s time in the military there. We moved back in November and back in with my parents who once again rearranged their home. This time they had a year and half old moving in, two dogs, and two adults.
Greg served his five years. During this time he served 15 months in Iraq and his year in Korea. I couldn’t be more proud of him then I am today. He served his time and he did it with pride. Greg was brave and when I would break down while he was gone, he would hold me up. He is by far my hero and always will be. He taught me a lot about being gone away from family. He taught me how to survive on my own and how to become a stronger person. He taught me what true love was, what trust was, what honesty was, and most of all he taught me what it was like to be loved. He taught me forgiveness, courage, loyalty, dedication, and how to just be a caring person. Greg is by far the greatest man I have ever met and makes me happier then I ever knew was possible. He continues to love and take care of his family and this makes me fall in love with him even more. He makes me proud and the rough nights of being alone without him waiting for him was well worth it.
So when duty calls, you have to step up and do what you have to do. Because of all the things Greg taught me, when we found out about the twins, we knew we had no choice but to be strong, to be brave, and to take this challenge on with open arms. We have no choice in our eyes, these are our children and we cannot give up on them. We have no idea what life will bring, but we are willing to do whatever we need to do to get through it, and we will do it together. Thank you for saying we are strong and we are brave. We have to be for our girls.