This blog chronicles the lives of the Caffee Clan: Brian, Kelly, Josh, Jason, Lauren and Katelyn as we navigate life as a large, loud family that lives on the verge of complete chaos! I'm Kelly, a 40 year old, a work-at-home-mom that dreams of someday being rich and famous. Uh huh, right! In reality, I love photography, healthy eating and cooking, my family, music and dancing!! I have a fetish for gross medical stuff, like unusual diseases or strange growths, and sometimes I wish I was a midwife. As you read, you might notice that I have an slight obsession with cleaning and germ-avoidance, but do not fret, I am aware and I am working on it. And I love making lists! I have lots of opinions about lots of things and this is what is represented here! I'm not always right (wait, I'm NOT??) but I always have something to say!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Retired!

And so it begins... the next chapter of our lives. Brian has retired from the Army after 21 years of service and though we are excited to see what happens next, it is definitely bittersweet. We had all of our family (minus some of my side) here for the ceremony and party and it was soooo much fun that I barely had time to get introspective about what was happening. Now that the fun is over and real life is settling in I'm starting to really think about the future.

We have been doing this Army thing together for 16 years! It's nuts! We met when he was a brand new E-5 that knew next to nothing about leading soldiers and I was an E-2 that knew next to nothing about being a soldier. An interesting combo for two people that are temperamental and strong-willed! In the end, obviously, it all worked out. That was in Groton, CT where we were both stationed as Vet Techs. When I first met him, I wasn't to keen on the fact that he was going to be in charge of me - I had a hard time taking instruction from anyone during that time in my life, but I came to realize that I had a lot to learn and he was a good teacher. I also realized that he was a bad boy and I really like bad boys! Haha! Fast forward 16 years and here we are, 4 kids, 14 moves and 1 retirement later. I can't believe I will never see him in his dress uniform again or that tomorrow will be the last day he ever puts on his ACUs. I'm feeling this weird mix of utter delight and melancholy - is there a name for that?

As these last few weeks have gone by, we have talked about our journey and I asked him what his biggest regret was about leaving the military. I was not surprised to hear that it was the fact that he has never deployed. I know that sounds crazy and we both know how incredibly blessed we have been to have never gone through that kind of separation, but I get it. I know that feeling because I was in the Army, too. The feeling of wanting to be there, to do what you have been trained to do, and I know that if he had wanted to, he could have found a unit to deploy with, but he didn't because he puts our family first. He gave up his own desire for us. I am so grateful for that! And also a bit guilty, of course! I have always wanted him to get the most out of this experience, so I feel as though I have held him back because I didn't want him to go. I wonder what his path would look like if I wasn't there to influence him. Ah, enough of the wondering! This Army life has been so amazing; we have lived places we never would have otherwise and had experiences that a lot of people will never have. We are so lucky to have been able to travel and explore all over the world. We have made awesome friends along the way. Part of me is having a hard time giving up the nomadic lifestyle, but as I watch our kids  make friends that they won't have to say goodbye to and we start to feel a part of our community, I am realizing that it was time for us to settle down. Our future is here, in this little town, in our lovely house, all of us together - no more TDY's, no more moves (EVER!), no more worry of deployments or upcoming schools or promotions! My biggest worry right now is what color to paint my walls!

In all seriousness, I am so very proud of my husband! I'm in awe of his loyalty and his servants' heart. I am blessed that he chose me to tag along on this adventure - as cheesy as it sounds, he is the love of my life and I can't imagine myself without him. We have had plenty of milestones in our marriage, we have practically grown up together - retirement seems so "old"! Our parents are retired! I am praying that he can find a new job that he loves as much. And that he has some rest in the next two months as he is on terminal leave - he sure deserves it! I want him to fish and sleep in and grow out his beard and play and enjoy this brief moment of no responsibility! I am beyond proud of him!

 Congratulations, Caffee - I can't wait to start our new adventure! Love you always, you are my favorite!

3 comments:

  1. so sweet!!! We are 2 years 7 months from that point in our lives!! And I will miss it! I absolutely LOVE military life.

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