Emily is a Navy wife writing about her experiences as blended military family and shared custody when one home keeps changing.“I met this handsome young man when I was 16 years old. We dated for a few years and then went our separate ways. Then, nine years later we ended up running into each other in our hometown of Cookeville, TN. Next thing you know, we were married within a year in 2012. Since then life has been somewhat of a whirlwind. Within the past 12 months, I have basically found myself married to the love of my life and headed out on the adventure of living the military life.
We are a fun-loving, adventurous family of four. My name is Emily; I am a registered nurse and work in the field of neurology. My husband, Justin, is a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Next is my amazing, carefree, and loving six-year-old stepson Grayson. Finally, last but not least, is our four-legged furry golden doodle, Bear.
As far as life goes for the military child, I will let you hear it straight from a child. Grayson says, “I know my daddy has to be far away sometimes in other places, because he protects the world from bad guys. I like coming to stay with my daddy because he is always moving and I get to make new friends. I cannot wait till I get older so I can be like my daddy and join the Navy. I want to be a pilot, firefighter, police, and help other people.”
There are challenges being in the military and having a child that spends time between two different households. All of us involved do everything we can to make it work. We have spent many weekends on the road traveling back and forth to meet one another. No matter how far away we move, or how long my husband’s deployment may be, we always make sure Grayson is first. If it means we have to drive overnight to pick him up, schedule an unexpected flight, or simply just chat with him on the phone or online, we always make sure we are there and available for him. I feel the military life has had a positive outcome on Grayson; he has become extremely adaptable when it comes to being with a new group of friends, daycare, or attending a new school. He is always willing to jump right in and introduce himself. He also gets excited when we get to pick new orders. We will soon be relocating to San Diego, California, and as Grayson puts it, “We get to go to the beach everyday.”
Through this year we have endured a major health scare, an active shooter situation, and my first time being this far away from family. All I can say is that I could not have done it without the support of our military family. Whether it is just someone to talk to, babysit, share a meal with, or just listen to me ramble, they have always been there. The military has put us through some challenging times, but it has also brought us closer as a family. It has given us the opportunity to see some amazing places, and meet people from all walks of life. Mostly it has allowed Grayson to see so much of the world, build his confidence, and make all kinds of new friends. He is only six and I cannot wait to see all the positive influences the military will have in his life as he grows into a young man. We could have not picked a greater life than that of a military family, and we are grateful for all the experiences, travels, and opportunities it has blessed us with, and look forward to many more.”