Because not everyone knows the whole story. Also because I've spent days collecting these pictures from almost four years worth of files.
Sean joined the Air Force with the purpose of going to school. Becoming a nurse anesthetist was his goal after nursing school. Travel nursing was supposed to set us up for that, but by the time we figured out the financials of school, we already had two kids. Thus, the military. Sean joined in 2009 when Titus was just a wee bitty thing.
We moved to Texas and Sean deployed the following January. He started working on his packet for school as soon as he got home. By the time the call came out to turn in his packet, he was also up for deployment again. The race was on: deploy or go to school? It all came down to which piece of paper could be processed first. The deployment won, so we packed up our stuff and moved into the motorhome for the remainder of our time in Texas.
That was August of 2011. August. In Texas. In a motorhome. With three children.
If you can't fathom how we managed, you can see more of the living space here.
Once Sean deployed, our plan was for me and the boys to move in with my parents in SC knowing we'd be headed for Maryland as soon as Sean got home from deployment.
As the time approached, we put our motorhome in storage and packed up all of our earthly belongings for long term storage. Moving out of our house in TX and into the motorhome, we'd already stashed 95% of our stuff in a local storage unit.
The truck had not left the parking lot of Uncle Bob's Storage(no...really) before Sean got a phone call. There was a chance his deployment could be canceled as his acceptance to USU had come down at the same time as his deployment letter. He'd been preparing for them both simultaneously not knowing what would come of it all in the end.
We decided to stick with Plan A and headed for SC. Half way there, while celebrating Thanksgiving/Christmas with Sean's family, he got the final call: Deployment canceled. Plan B was that I'd still go to SC with the kids and he'd bunk with a friend(Mark, pictured below) for a few months.
It worked out okay in the end, but it was rough on this guy in particular. Sean sent him George Brown, Class Clown books and they read them together via Skype.
Sean was also able to visit for his 32 birthday which broke the five months up a bit, but the good-byes were still rough.
Tito's third birthday marked the end of our time in SC.
And his face marked how I was feeling inside knowing I was going to TX to pick up Sean. He and I made the trip from TX to SC, just the two of us. It was awesome and much needed. We had no idea how little time we'd have together for the next two and a half years.
And then we moved into the cutest, little house in Rockville, MD.
We were so amped to get started. Real life hit pretty quickly. We saw very little of Sean that year. Yet, going back through the pictures, we did a lot. Sean studied harder, read more, and slept less than ever before.
I got up with the man
every most mornings and made him breakfast and packed his lunch. The smell of Trader Joe's garlic aioli mustard will now forever take me back to Phase 1 days in my kitchen in Maryland.
He didn't stop being a dad. He didn't "make time," he gave all that he could to the boys...and then some! Through the entire program, he was dad first, student second. I can't think of a single Sunday that he missed taking us to church.
Obviously there was still time for some things...
We managed to go on a few dates;
take in a couple of the sites in & around DC;
and even hang out with friends/fellow students. The extras were seldom, but they did happen.
& then Jude was born. This picture sums it all up beautifully.
We were all drained, but Jude's arrival didn't make life any more chaotic than it already was.
When he was a week old, we traveled to Ohio and found our house.
When he was six weeks old, we left MD for OH.
Phase 1 ended on a pretty high note.
Our family the day before his first day of class(Phase 1)
Our family on his last day of class(Phase 1).
Entering Phase 2:
Well, we found an awesome house in a not-so-awesome area in Dayton, OH. We thought we could breathe a big sigh of relief. Sean had made it through the hard part and we could coast down the hill towards graduation. And then reality hit for a second time. Phase 2 brought care plans and putting into practice everything he thought he knew. For the first several months, Sean was staying at work until 7 or 8 p.m. Then coming home and writing care plans until 2 or 3 or 4 a.m. Then going back to work at 5. By the time he was on out rotations, life had settled down a bit. No more care plans meant getting at least a few hours of sleep.
I had to take him something at work one day and he popped out of the OR in his scrubs. This was the day that it all felt real.
I have so many more pictures to share from the last year and a half, but I'm tired.
Looking back, it did not go fast. It was not easy. It was not without it moments of panic and strife and struggle and anger.
I'm thankful we're done. He's done. He ended this getup with a 3.73 GPA, an extra kid, and a wife that still shares his last name.
Was it worth it? Yeah, I think so.
I couldn't be prouder of the guy and I am so, so excited about what the future holds!