Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014

Monday, August 27, 2012


Today, I had a moment. One that took me by complete surprise, but a moment that I knew was heaven sent. This morning, after the gym, I promised my oldest we would go get her that new backpack from Pottery Barn Kids that she needs since school begins wednesday for them (nothing like waiting to the last minute), but while there we took our time looking at all of the beautiful things that they have there for children. My kids could really just go there to play all day. Since we were not rushed, I allowed for the kids to look, touch, and explore some of things around them. While I was looking over the lunch boxes, I made a comment to G about school and if we really needed a new lunch box to go with the other 5 we currently have. Then I heard a familiar voice, a woman turned and began talking to the woman she was with about Caroline's hair. Her voice was sweet, slow, and all to familiar, I naturally turned and said thank you ma'am and she said "honey where are you from", honestly, a statement I hear often living here in southern California. I spoke proudly and said to her "Pensacola, Florida" the lady just beamed. She said we are from Panama City. For those of you not familiar, Panama City is about 2 hours from my hometown. The woman was kind and had sunkissed skin and blonde hair that reminded me of my Aunt Deborah, before realizing it we are standing in the middle of a store, talking about home. Things that we both knew about and places we have eaten or visited. For a minute pictures of these places flashed in my mind. A place where I just left and had to say goodbye to two grandparents. The place where my roots were established, where I went to school for my entire childhood. It was a good feeling to just hear someone so familiar and be right beside them, it was enough to make me just want to hug a complete stranger. It was a good feeling to have home so much closer when you are so far away even if it is with strangers. Funny how that happens as you get older. But this time, it was reassuring as I have been worried about my family and more enlightened on time and how little I have left with the ones that know me best. The ones that taught me things that I now know as an adult. Then as moments go, the moment passed and we said goodbye and I told them it was nice talking and to enjoy their vacation. They in return thanked us for our service for my husband and the job he does for our country. I left feeling full of pride and for a moment at home. It was perfect timing since I came in to the store feeling a bit down. I just had myself a private, pity, party on the way there. I was thinking about my girls and how much I wish that on their first day of school that my family would be able to see them, hug them when they got home and to hear about their first day. Instead, they will come home to a mama with open arms. Which I know this is enough and all they need, but sometimes my heart aches for them to have more. To have cousins to sit with at lunch, to check on them on the playground and a grandparent that will share in the first day excitement. So I am pretty sure this woman was heaven sent this morning. Her words and actions and time she took talking with me was just what I needed to get over this sad moment I was having and realize that home can be anywhere as long as we have one another and although these things were my favorite parts of childhood, they too will have their favorite memories, personalized just for them. Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

Monday, July 30, 2012

Homecoming 2012

Whew, Team Walker made it!!! Number 7 down in the books and hoping it will be the last one we will have for a while. I am convinced that deployments are only doable because of the anticipation of a homecoming later. As a family, we have always been so blessed to have wonderful neighbors and friends anywhere we have lived and where we are now, has proved to be no different. We are so blessed by the people around us here. Month after month, our friends stood by our side, helping where ever help was needed. From changing a smoke alarm battery, to a best friend to give you a hug at the end of a rough day, to a man that graciously asked to take my hubby's place by taking our little girls to a father daughter dance. Our lives have been changed, we have been humbled by so many servant like hearts and we will forever be grateful. So it is only fitting that at the end of this journey they were there to welcome our family hero home. We love and thank each of you. As a country, it is this kindred spirit that keeps America going. It is servitude of another kind, but one still just as important to the mission. Because you all cared, it was comforting to a Marine far away serving his country. Because you acted, he was able to perform without worry or care for what his family may be needing. So number 7, is dedicated to you, our family, friends and neighbors, with love from us, Team Walker.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Wish

Over the last few weeks, our family has experienced quite an emotional roller coaster. I guess you can say that the end of the school year is getting to all of us. There have been tears, tantrums, excitement and anticipation building in my children. As for myself, I have been working through the days. I have been pacing myself for one day at a time and one check in the box at a time. I have been trying to be firm, but patient with the girls as we all experience this process. Trying to be firm and reassuring all at the same time can become quite overwhelming while playing the role of a single parent. At times, I thought my i-calendar and my emotions just might blow up if I had to add one more thing to my to-do list. So yesterday as my i- calendar reminded me was my children's open house for school. This evening is a much anticipated night for all of the children in the school because it is their opportunity to show off all of the things they have created and worked so hard on all year long. I must say, I was very impressed with what I saw that evening. It was so good to see that our children are in such a loving and nuturing environment that they can and are thriving in. The first class that I visited was Caroline's. I have always had a soft spot for Kindergarten and her class has been no exception. I admired her work and listened as she explained each paper in detail. I was so proud to see how far she has come since the beginning of the school year. Her artwork and abilities were stunning and I could not have been more excited for her achievements. The second class we visited was Grace's second grade class. It was here that she did some similar things as Caroline, but her work was more mature, elegant, and fine tuned. The books she made displayed her writing abilities along with her drawing abilities and I was taken back by her ability to express herself through her writing. As I turned through her Family Tree book, she had a page there that was called "My One Wish". I stared at it for a moment taking in each word written and right there in front of everyone, I could feel my lip quiver and warm tears run down my face. I guess you can say I met my emotional bubble. It burst. Finally, the message my little girl has been trying to send to me over the last few weeks through her meltdowns, frustration and lack of obedience was shown very true through her writing. Out of all the things one could wish for she wished her daddy could come back home early.
I have heard the expression that a room stood still and for the first time ever, I knew what that expression meant. I had not a care who was around me, I heard nothing, I only felt this strong heartache as I read each line on her page. Finally, she looked up and noticed me crying and asked me if I was ok and I reassured her I was ok and that her writing was so beautiful that it moved me to tears. She just beamed that beautiful smile she had. While all along I could not help but wonder what did the other children wish for. Was it something similar, something materialistic. My little girl wished for her daddy! I then could not help to realize how many people do not understand the emotions and sacrifices these little people make every day for their country. They too are patriots and should not be forgotten. From those children who miss their daddy while they are away to those daddy's that will never come home. I came home last night and I just could not help but to keep thinking about what she wrote. I questioned our life for the first time and asked "is this worth it"? I texted the picture of her writing to a dear friend and only told her about it briefly, but knew she would understand. She too has children and her husband a Marine. Her words were encouraging that she wrote back. She was right, our children are growing up strong. They do miss out on their family time, but when we are all together, we understand the value of family time. We understand sacrifice and putting others before ourselves. It is what we do. But I could not let this one moment pass when I could share this small glimpse of our world from the eyes and heart of my daughter to those outside of our Marine Corps family. You need to know that this little girl trades everything for her country!!! Our land of the free is truly free because of the brave whether at home or while at sea!!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baby Grace

Baby Grace is what we called her from the moment we knew we were having a little girl. I remember the powerful emotions I felt while looking at the ultrasound that proved to the world that this baby that has been moving and making me sicker than I had ever known before was a baby girl. My sweet baby Grace was born on March 10, 2004 at 5 lbs 13oz and 19 1/2 inches long. It was not an ordinary pregnancy and neither was her birth. Along with some of my dearest and best friends to this day, we held hands and welcomed this sweet baby in to the world while her dad was away on deployment. With my due date 3 weeks later our sweet girl had other plans and came early.

Then my journey with her began. I remember looking at her little face and small body and thinking, wow, how are we going to do this? We are alone, tired, and new at this parent thing, but together we learned how to make routines and that sometimes things have to just roll ( something we continue to do to this day). Above all, I knew this would not be our last deployment together and that we must learn to overcome above all else.

One of the most emotional moments of my life is the day this baby girl got to meet her daddy. I have never seen so much emotion in my husbands face until that day. She has had him wrapped every since.

A lot has changed since the day our little girl was born. She changed our life in a whole new way. At first, it was the long sleepless nights and days filled with every baby thing known to man. Then she was crawling, got her first tooth, said her first word, and walking. Before I could even blink she became a toddler that was independent, strong, and determined. Qualities that I never knew the purposes of until now. With each new year that passes our Grace teaches us why God gives children to the perfect parents for them. Instead of us teaching her, it is us that has become the student. We learn from her, admire her and all that she has accomplished in such a short period of time in life. She has made us proud and continues to amaze us everyday. She has a laugh that is contagious and the perfect second grader smile. Although she can be pretty serious and shy around people she does not know, she has a huge heart for others. Always wanting to know how we can save each person that carries a cardboard sign. Her clear sense of justice is undistorted by others views. She still believes in a wrong and a right. She would be characterized by others as a loyal friend and a artist. She has a passion for horses, color and for reading. Three things I do not know much about. She has a natural gift that I know if she continues to work at, will develop in to something extraordinary. A natural born leader that will leave amazing footprints on this earth.

Although her name was just a family name chosen for her, it now has more meaning as our little Girl grows and matures as a person. Her name defines who she is and what she is becoming each day and passing year. She has taught us as parents the true meaning of her name Grace and the love that only parents could know for a child. It is on these special days that I thank God for choosing us for this special little girl.

Happy Birthday Baby Grace, Mama can't believe you are 8!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes you have to say "goodbye" only to be able to say "hello" again. As you can see this goodbye was one filled with a lot of emotion. For us, you would think it would be a norm, but doing it never gets easier. Seeing my children embrace their father for the last time for some time, always leaves my heart heavy. It is a moment that we have been preparing for over the past several months. The working up to leaving is the Marine Corps way of hardening you for the actual departure. This I am fully convinced of. However, no matter when the day arrives there is a sense of solitude and pride wrapped all up together. As the jets turn over and the sound of their engines fill the air, you begin to realize it is going to happen. It is a strange feeling seeing your love and frankly the only one in the world I would endure this with, take off. It is exciting to see him in full gear and ready to do what he loves best and that is fly at real fast speeds, serving his country and ready to embrace whatever tasks that are brought forth to him. Then sadness begins to sink in as you see your little ones wave goodbye while asking "how many more days again?" That is the question I will hear for over the course of this journey. Although this makes journey number 7 if you ask me, 6 if you ask him. Funny how he always claims his 1 year FAQ tour as one deployment, where I see it as a two for one special since I was the one left behind. Technicalities. Either way it is many many months away from one another. I have been asked why do I bring the girls to see him depart. For me it is an obvious reason, but every family handles a goodbye differently. So one winter day in 2009, my then 4 year old made it clear " I just need to see those jets leave" for her I realized it was closure to many months of planning. It differentiated a work day from another. Making it clear daddy's work would carry him away and it is not the same as being able to come home each evening. So from that moment on we have all gone. We have kissed his sweet face one last time, say a family prayer of strength and protection, and waved proudly as our Hero takes off one more time and we leave in full hugs while breaking out our tissues for the long car ride home. The countdown begins.

It was interesting to me after talking to my husband that he took a look at the pictures that our amazing photographer Megan Sokolowski published. I was surprised when he said his favorite is of me waving goodbye to him as he was on the runway about to take off. A moment I realized must of been a reassuring "snapshot memory" as we call them. One to give him the courage to do his job, knowing his family is home taking care of things and will be waiting for his return. Flattered by his compliment, I told him I was glad he liked it because when he came home, I would be right there waving "hello" again.

Here are our pictures that were taken of that day. For the next several days, these will be the pictures we hold on to until we have our favorite guy home! Our family motto for this deployment is " God is In Control". For we know through him all things are possible. Matthew 19:26