In 1992, I was a single mom. I had graduated from college with a teaching degree in 1989, sometimes working up to three jobs, and moved to the town my best friend lived in, which happened to be the town my husband was from. It was my best friend that kept trying to set me up with Terry, but having been friends with her since we were four and not having a very good track record with her “setups”, I declined. Loved her, didn’t love her taste in men! We met organically and after our first date, were not apart a single day until we married three months later. We married in 1992 and had our son in 1994. My daughter became his daughter, and he has never once referred to her as “step”.
I was five years older than Terry, but he was more mature than most guys I had dated up to 10 years older than him. He was only 22, yet he owned his own home already and paid all his bills. Coming from a family that didn’t encourage college education coupled with his experience in school, the highest goal he could imagine, at that time, was working for the best-paying factory in the town. Eventually, I encouraged him to pursue the dream he once shared with me, of becoming a law enforcement officer. Meanwhile he did all the dad things, coaching little league being one of them, both softball and T-ball.
He worked for few years in both of our hometowns, but with the desire to move to a bigger city and have more opportunities, it soon became apparent that joining the military was the only way to accomplish that. So at 29, an “old man” to be just joining the Army, he signed up on the condition that he get assigned to Hawaii. At that time the Army was negotiating MOS or PCS, and we got Hawaii. He went to Basic and AIT in Fort Sill, OK, and I moved our little family there for two months during the summer so that we could be together as much as possible.
After graduation, we moved to Hawaii. We spent four glorious (at least for those of us not in the Army) years there.
During our first year living on an Army base, 9/11 occurred. We experienced first-hand how scary it is to be a part of the military when something like that happens.
It is unfortunate that I have to mention that at this time our daughter was sexually assaulted, pressed charges and testified against the two soldiers, who were court-martialed and are now registered sex offenders. This is relevant because it is the reason that sex-offender compliance checks are so important to my husband, and this relates to the reason he lost his job.
In 2005, my husband was Stop-Lossed and preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. In the preparation for deployment, they re-evaluated an injury to his back he had suffered during basic training, and determined that they were unable to deploy him. He was medically discharged from the Army and we moved to Texas.