While brainstorming about what to write blogs about, I wanted to find a way for my readers to get to know some of the awesome people who I know. The best way I could come up with was an interview series.
This week’s interviews all have a military connection. Meet my friend Sara. Sara and I met on MySpace through our friend Kim. Sara is an army wife. She got to know my good friend Lisa who was featured in yesterday’s blog when she moved from Yakima, WA to Ft. Hood, TX.
Name: Sara Caraway Kowalski
Blog link: http://armywife1208.wordpress.com/
Age: 34…almost old enough to be offended by giving out my real age! lol
Location: Fort Hood, Texas
Relationship Status: Married since December 27, 2008
Occupation: Mother and Army Wife Extraordinaire
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Dealing with children who rarely listen and putting up with the frustrations that come along with the Army life. I’m a married single mom, that is the easiest way to put it!
You’re new to the Army Wife world. What are the biggest difference between being a civilian wife and an Army Wife?
Well first and foremost the Army comes first and everything else comes second. It is something that I am still trying to get used to. As a civilian you only spend time away from your spouse because one of you needs or wants time away with the Army separations are part of the job description. I find that I have distanced myself more from friends and family back home because they don’t understand exactly what I’m going through. Unless you actually are a military spouse you will never truly understand what one is going through.
What is the best part of being a military spouse?
Friends who become family very quickly. I feel closer to my friends that I have made here than some of those who I have been friends with for years. The extreme pride I feel for my husband when he puts on his uniform each morning.
Your husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan, and he’s been gone for about a month. How are you coping?
Mark has been gone for a little over a month, although it feels a lot longer. I was a wreck when he first left but I am starting to get a routine down which make things a little better. I seem to have thrown myself into my kids and working on the house more than I have since we have been here. I don’t want my kids to feel like their mother can’t cope just because their dad/step-dad isn’t around.
How are your children handling it?
They really seemed to struggle at first. They were asking on a daily basis when he was coming home and now that he has been gone for a bit they have eased up on that. Although my 6-year-old still tells everyone she meets that her daddy is in Afghanistan killing the bad guys. It isn’t exactly what I want her telling people but she knows her daddy and his friends are making it possible for her to go bed at night and sleep safely.
What are the toughest times not having your husband home?
I think it is hardest when something needs done around the house that he would normally take care of. The front porch light burnt out two days after he left and I just cried. It sounds silly because it’s just a light but it caused my first mini-breakdown. The nights are hard too because we normally hangout watching movies and things after the kids go to bed and now there is just me here. I also hate sleeping alone and even when one of my kids crawl in bed with me it just isn’t the same.
Do you find yourself glued to the news stations?
Actually I promised Mark that I wouldn’t do this just for my own sanity. I watched CNN for a few hours one day and found that I could learn more accurate info by just talking to my hubby.
Do you have a huge homecoming planned for him?
I don’t have anything set in stone for his homecoming. I know that I am hiring the photographer who took our family pictures to photograph the homecoming but that’s all I have for now. I would rather do something small and simple with just us and the kids rather than something huge.
What advice do you have for a new military spouse?
Don’t get mad at your spouse for things they can’t control. Your plans will always get screwed up by CQ, Staff Duty, or late nights for no reason. Learn to be laid back and to go with the flow, you will be much less stressed. Nothing in the Army makes sense, they sooner you accept this the better off you will be. Febreze does NOT cover up the Army smell…you will eventually learn to like it, you’ll even miss it when/if your spouse deploys.
What got you interested in blogging?
I accidentally clicked on the most popular blogs on Myspace one day a few years ago and one of them caught my eye. I read it and I was hooked on reading them. I eventually started my own just to get things of my chest. I did it mainly for my friends and family. I started to get more and more readers that I didn’t know which made want to write more for some reason. I quit for a while because of getting married and moving, I’m slowly making some sort of comeback.
Do you feel that there are perks to having so many years between your youngest and oldest child?
It has it positives and it’s negatives. They aren’t very close because of the 10 year difference but since they are so spread out I can enjoy different things with each of them. I can play with my son, watch cartoons, and just be silly and with my oldest I have someone to hangout with or someone to go do things with. I can take her shopping or to the movies and not have to seem something rated “G”. Also with the huge gap I always have a sitter if I need it! lol
Tell me when you’re going to come visit NY with Lisa….
Oh I wish we could. I have never been to New York and would love to at least say I have been there. Sadly the Army doesn’t pay too well so I just can’t afford it right now. So when are you coming to Texas to visit us? You only have a limited time ya know, she is moving soon!:(
You got to have a video conference with your husband this week. What was it like? How did it go?
Do you feel like seeing him helped you miss him less? What were your feelings after?
It was amazing and depressing at the same time. We only were allowed five minutes each because there were so many soldiers who signed up. It went well and I didn’t cry like I thought I would…well at least were he saw (I waited until we were done). I think it made me miss him more because I was wanted to feel him so bad and yet I couldn’t.
You lived at Ft. Hood during the shootings here earlier this year. What was it like that day? What were you doing when you heard about it? How have things there changed since then??
I was working that day and got a text message from my husband saying there was a shooting and the next thing I knew he was texting me saying all of Fort Hood was on lock down. All I could do was watch CNN to see what was going on because all of the phone lines were busy. I finally made it home to an empty house because my girls were locked in their schools, the neighbor had my son and they were locked in the school as well. I sat on my couch glued to the tv and basically just answered phone call after phone call from people back home making sure we were all ok. All of my family was separated in different locations around post, which was the worst feeling because when something major is going on you want your family with you. When the finally opened Hood back up it was close to 9pm at night, my poor babies had been at school all day. I had a lot of questions to answer from my kids and had to deal with the fears that something or someone would come hurt them. My husband’s company had 11 wounded and 4 killed that day. So there is a constant reminder of that day when I’m at the company. My husband was actually supposed to be at the SRP building that day and was fortunate enough to need some medical and dental work done before they could stamp him as deployable. I never though that a bad back and a cavity could be such a blessing.
Do you have any questions for Sara?
Ask away, she’s got lots of time while she waits for her hero Mark to come home….