Life Lessons – Military Appreciation Month:
*Are you happy at the moment?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: Every day has its challenges, but I try to see the silver lining as often as possible.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16 year old self now – what would it be?
Don’t worry that you don’t have a boyfriend; you’ll end up getting married long before several of your friends. Give your parents a break—you’ll be a parent some day and wish you gave them a little more respect. Oh, and when you go to Europe next year, be prepared, because it will be a life-changing adventure!
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I’ve learned to laugh at the little things (like baby poop everywhere) and I’ve learned how to fall even more in love with my husband.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I’d like to figure out how to balance being a mom while having a little bit of a career on the side.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
Listening to my daughter giggle. If I’m having the worst day, listening to her laugh can literally turn my frown upside down. There’s something so innocent and delicious about a baby’s laughter.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Prayer and dark chocolate covered almonds.
*What’s your biggest regret?
Letting a few close friendships fizzle out over the past few years.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I hope to teach my daughter that home is wherever she is. She’ll call many addresses home during her life, with family members spread throughout the world, but I want her to know that places don’t define a person. Her home won’t be defined by a physical place, but by where love is.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I’d like to pay attention more. I tend to zone out sometimes, and I’d like to focus on things instead of thinking about my own selfish thoughts.
*Aside from motherhood and marriage, what are you most proud of in your life?
I’m proud that I accomplished a few of my goals in my 20s. I was published in a national magazine, I worked as an assistant editor, and I lived in another country not once, but twice.
*When were you happiest?
I was happiest living in Italy. I adored our little town and loved the life we made there. Being able to walk around and not worry about our safety was such a joy. Italy is where my daughter was born and where we became a family of three; I enjoyed living there so much. Plus, the amazing gelato, pizza, and wine wasn’t too shabby, either!
*What ten words best describe you?
Oh my, this is the hardest question out of all of them! Relatable, creative, passionate, snarky, honest, spiritual, engaging, caring, stubborn, practical
*What’s the most important thing you want civilians (or public) to know about Military families?
I’d like the public to know that as much as we want to be seen as “normal” families, we’re really not. While a lot of people go away on business trips for work, our spouses leave the country—sometimes with very little to no contact — for months at a time. They don’t come home for the holidays, they don’t come home for the birth of their kids, and sometimes they can’t even come home for emergency situations. It’s much harder than we’d like to admit. As the spouse (and kids) left behind, we like to put on a front that says, “Hey, I’m strong; I’ve got this.” And sometimes we are strong, but sometimes it’s really, really hard. If you know someone going through a deployment, don’t ask what you can do to help — literally do something. Offer to mow their lawn or give the mom a break for a couple hours so she can get a hair cut or a pedicure; suggest going out to dinner with them, or better yet, invite her and the kids over for a home cooked meal.
That one gesture can be so refreshing.
Jessica is the voice behind Jessica Lynn Writes. She’s a mom to an adorable, bright-eyed little girl, a globetrotter who collects funky mugs, Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses, and digs truck stops, and an Air Force wife currently living in Georgia. When she’s not posting pictures of her little one, you can find her sharing snapshots and tales about their European adventures, journey around America, good eats, military musings, and whatever else pops into her head.