The second installment recapping the road to Germany, as I’m calling these posts 😉
David’s Visit & Saying “See You Later” to our pup Lily
In mid-September, just a few days before our household goods were packed up, Andy’s brother David came to visit from Arizona. When it became clear that we would no longer be taking Lily to Germany, David quickly offered to keep her for our 3-year assignment. As if Andy and David didn’t look like twins (everyone on Instagram agrees!), like Andy, David was also in the Army. In fact, his injuries in Iraq were one of the motivating factors for Andy to join the Army a few years later. Although it was heartbreaking to decide that staying in the States would be best for Lily, David’s similarities to Andy made us confident that Lily’s adjustment would be easier. Likewise, we felt that David would enjoy Lily’s company as well… Word on the street is he’s already spoiling her as much as we did 😉
Rehoming pets or leaving them with family during an overseas tour is often a taboo topic. Even I have said, “I would never leave my pet behind if we got stationed overseas.” Hi, yes, I am, in fact, eating my words. While I agree that pets are for life, time has given me the wisdom to see that it’s not always “black and white” like I previously thought. Sometimes, people have to make hard decisions in their lives. It may not be the decision you’d make, but judging their choice is easy… until you’re in their shoes and it’s you making that decision. That’s as much as I’ll say on this topic. Don’t @ me with your unsolicited thoughts on our decision, thanks in advance 🙂
Farewell Party/Last Day at Church
The weekend before our last days in Iowa, some of our local friends threw us a farewell bonfire. It was a wonderful evening hanging out with friends, roasting smores, and just enjoying each other’s company. Our time in Iowa was so difficult, but we were really blessed with good friends. During our first winter in Iowa, I felt so lonely and often prayed that we would make new friends soon. Those prayers were answered through our church and the friends we made through our small group. Some of our favorite memories from the past 3 years include volunteering with AWANAs, Night to Shine, an elderly widow taking me to lunch when Andy was TDY for 2 months, MOPS, game nights, Bible studies, and the sweet family who welcomed us into their home for the holidays that we spent apart from our own families. The majority of our favorite memories in Iowa are due to our church and the friends we made through it.
As I sat around the campfire at our farewell party, it dawned on me that 4 or 5 different families/couples had moved away before we did! Moving to a civilian community, I naively assumed that Andy and I would be the transient ones and everyone else would stay put, but that wasn’t the case. We were one of the last “original” families from our small group to leave the area! Nonetheless, we’re so grateful for the time we had in-person with our Iowa friends.
Drew’s Last Day of Daycare
If there’s one thing I miss immensely about Iowa, it’s our daycare. Drew’s daycare was a huge blessing to us and came at just the right time in our lives. The ladies that took care of him felt like “other grandmas” to us, and honestly, I didn’t cry at all whenever I had to drop him off, not even on the first day! But when it was time to say goodbye to “Drew’s daycare ladies,” I cried. Not just because I will miss their help in caring for my son, but because I know Drew will miss them as well.
One Last “MEPS Run” to Camp Dodge
“MEPS Runs” are the 5+ hour roundtrip drive from Mason City to the nearest MEPS office, at Camp Dodge (a National Guard base) in a suburb of Des Moines. Andy made that long drive multiple times a week to take potential and future soldiers to MEPS so he was thrilled to never make a MEPS run again. His very last drive to Camp Dodge was actually with his wife and son, though! We needed to return a very expensive item at their (very tiny) PX before our big move, so we drove all the way there just for that. While there, we stopped by their little museum, which was closed, but we were able to see the static exhibits outside. Drew loved seeing the artillery and tanks. He kept screaming “Mamamama!” at the anti-aircraft gun… Either he wanted to show it to me or it’s his new mama now, haha! He cried when we left which broke my heart because he never does that! Good thing he will have lots of new toys at our base in Germany!