Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Story of a Military Family (Chapter 5)

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, MANAMA, BAHRAIN
2010 was a challenging year.  Jason changed commands.  We moved, and bought a house, and I started grad school, and Jason left for a year in the desert.

On January 1, 2010, I posted that I was researching graduate school programs.  It was scary, and I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to do it.  I was working as a medical transcriptionist, and attempting to keep up with all of the kids' school activities, as well as the dog and cat and the house.

On August 1, 2010, we moved out of military housing into a house that we were working toward buying.  I also took the GRE that day.  We also found out in August that Jason was going to be going to Bahrain for a year.

In September, I learned that I was accepted into the Masters in Counseling program at Regent University, and classes started on September 18th.  The kids all started at their (mostly) new schools on September 2nd.

On October 5th, we had a fun photo shoot at the beach, with our favorite photographer and college friend.

On October 15, Jason and I went out for dinner, to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary.  After dinner, we finished up some last-minute shopping, and came home to attempt to fit everything into his seabags.  The next morning, I drove him over and dropped him off to catch a bus to Fort Jackson, in South Carolina, where he was to go through desert training.  Several weeks later, I was able to drive down and spend the weekend with him before he finished up and flew out to Bahrain.

On October 25, I went to the lawyer's office, and signed Jason's name to all 50+ pages of the paperwork to buy our house.  It was official.  We were homeowners!!

The year that Jason was stationed in Bahrain was challenging and interesting.  I was stretched in ways I didn't expect.  The things that normally kept the two of us running were more than I could handle on my own.  We had six children in three different schools, I was in my first semester of a challenging graduate program, and still doing medical transcription.  We decided that I needed some help to keep up with transportation for the kids, and fixing meals, I found a college student who was a HUGE help!!

Thanksgiving was different...we invited another grad student to spend the day with us, and Skyped with Jason when he got up the next morning (Thanksgiving evening for us).

We also had a birthday party for Heather, with 4 or 5 friends, and they walked down to the inlet down the road.  While there, Heather slipped, and broke her wrist, which ended the party early, and ended the evening with a trip to the local ER.  At least her cast was as colorful as she was!!

Christmas was also challenging.  The kids and I travelled to South Carolina, to spend time with our family.  We were able to Skype with Jason, which was nice, but served to emphasize (to me, at least) that he wasn't there, and what all he was missing.

After Christmas, the next exciting event was my Spring Break, which meant a vacation for me!!  I had already gotten my Passport, and I was able to go visit Jason in Bahrain for a week!!  It was great to see him, and to experience the very different culture of that island kingdom.

I flew back and headed right back to school and work, and we all finished out the school year with a HUGE sigh of relief.  I was able to get four of the kids into an Operation Purple camp, put on for children of deployed military, so two weekends in a row saw me driving to western Virginia to take the kids to camp and pick them back up again.

Jason was able to make a visit to see us TWICE during that year...one was a surprise visit in March, when he came for a training class.  The second was for two weeks in July, when he was able to be home for R&R, and we were able to take part in the wedding of some very dear friends.

The next school year started in September, and the time began to drag.  It wouldn't be too much longer until Jason was home....but first, another trip to Bahrain for me, this time a chance to celebrate our anniversary.  On the return trip, I brought back one suitcase that was filled entirely with books....Jason had been busy doing grad school work while there, and shipping books is expensive, so I brought them back as one of my checked bags.

FINALLY, November 5th, 2011, he was home!!

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