By Deanna Caroon
Caserma Ederle- Vicenza, Italy
Time flew when we were living abroad! Our first home was in a beautiful village about an hour away from Venice named Balzano, Vincentino. We lived in a 3-bedroom apartment surrounded by cherry trees, and beautiful gardens. There was a catch though. We lived on the second floor of the “apartment building” if you want to call it that. It was our landlord’s home. It was 3 stories, and they occupy the 1st and 3rd levels, and our apartment was on the 2nd level. The “apartment” all had doors, and they were closed off, but it was strange. We were basically living in their home. They allowed us to use the “garden”, this is what they called a yard, and what my daughter called a yard for the first years of her life. It felt odd though, to take her to play in their garden or to use it for BBQs with friends, which we did a couple of times, I always felt guilty, but they always assured me it was OK! We absolutely invited our landlords over, and they graciously accepted and hung out with all our American friends, it was a hoot! I loved learning about their culture, as did they about ours! The Mom, and matriarch tried to teach me how to make gnocchi one night, and we would eat dinner with them often! It was amazing! Everything they did was like a work of Art! Just beautiful! From the way they would host a dinner, to the making of the gnocchi! They would bring us fresh fruits and vegetables from their garden, and check in on, me when my husband would leave for deployment to his many TDYs (training)! I felt like I had a little family away from home. We did not speak each other’s native languages, but we still did our best to communicate! They made our time there beautiful! I will never forget that beautiful family.
Aviano, AFB, Italy
After a few years, my husband’s Unit would transfer to Aviano, AFB, Italy, and of course, we were along for the ride. This would be the first Air Force Base he would be attached to, even though he was in the Air Force. It was located at the bottom of the Pre-Dolomite Mountains, and it was gorgeous! When making a military move, usually you stay in military lodging, while you look for a home, so we arrived, and my mother-in-law met us there! No sooner did we get there, than my husband would receive deployment orders! I was a bit in shock but put on a brave face to support this brave man whom I love so much!
I had been feeling nauseous for some time, and just knew in my heart that I was pregnant! I was having an internal struggle though! We had just arrived in a new location, we were still in a hotel, and Kev was due to leave later in the day for his deployment! I am not one to be at a loss often, but I was at a loss! Should I risk telling him, giving him the joy, and potential worry of an early pregnancy? Should I take a test? I mean I already knew. I am so in tune with my body… it’s ridiculous! So, I came clean with my mom-in-law! She said to get a dang test! He needs to know!! We ran to the store and grabbed 3! Each one immediately popped up with a positive sign, as I knew they would. We both cried and then it was time to tell my warrior!
It was crunch time, and Kev was leaving in a couple of hours! How would I give him this amazing news? I had no option, no way to do it special, so I just called him! I said “Babe, I need to tell you something” He sounded so worried, I will never forget it! Of course, his mind went somewhere bad! So, I just blurted it out… “I am pregnant !” The phone went silent for a moment, then he said are you sure? We had been trying for quite some time, and were getting worried at this point, so this news this amazing news honestly, could not have come at a better time. I now know it gave him something to get him through this deployment! My sweet, handsome man rushed home, brought me flowers, spun me around in a tight embrace, and kissed me like he had never kissed me before! We had made another life together! Jesus, I love this man with everything in me!
A few hours later I would have to say goodbye to my handsome, brave husband, yet again. We were permitted this time to go onto the airfield and see him off at the base of the ramp. I was hugging him so tight, I never wanted to let him go! You must understand in these moments, you want to believe that your husband will return home, but there are no guarantees. So, you hold on as tight as you can, make this kiss linger as long as possible, and then hold a brave face, so they do not know you even have these thoughts. I know he had the same thoughts by the way he squeezed our sweet Taylor, our baby girl, and kissed my stomach! I looked at him and said I will see you soon, and I love you. You must hold onto that image for months while they are gone! The image of their face, the feeling of their touch, embrace, lips on yours. That is the job of an American Hero though. I knew marrying him I had to share him. I just never knew how hard it would truly be.
Finding a Home
Reality set in after Kev left, that I would have to find our home, and move in, my mother-in-law would be gone, and it would just be Tay and I doing this alone in a foreign country. This could go one of two ways, fall apart, or step up! I was pregnant, with a toddler on my hip, depending on me! So, I chose the latter! We found a beautiful 2 story townhome at the base of the mountains, about 15 minutes from the military installation. I look back now and wonder how the hell I did some of the things I did! It was not long before our household goods arrived, so we made our townhouse a home! We made a few friends! We even traveled back to the United States so everyone could see Tay while Kev was gone. Baby bump, toddler on hip, and globe-trotting, I was making it happen! I made one promise to myself as a mother, I never wanted my children to be affected by this lifestyle, to be hurt, so I tried my best to make sure they still saw family and stayed busy. I also taught them what it meant to be a hero, to have gratitude, and to love people. They are seriously my greatest love and accomplishment. I know in my heart they will go on to do great things and become amazing humans.
The Defense Department Celebrates the Military Child in The Month of April. So in honor of my military children, I painted “The Dandelion”, and “Wishing on Dandelions” which is the official flower of the military child.
If you are a military Spouse and need assistance a few resources I found helpful along the way are below.
-The USO- (Click below for more information) I have utilized their services while traveling abroad and in the United States in airports! They are amazing and have many resources for military families and spouses.
-Military One Source – (Click below for more information) Fantastic resource and a one-stop shop of information in my opinion!
–Nurse Advice Line- ( Click below for more information)I have used this service many times to guide me in finding resources and doctors in my area. The nurses are amazing!