After a 10 year career in politics and then returning to school, Melissa Hafen is a brand new Army wife, stepmom to five and Kansan. Melissa attended Brigham Young University and then began her career in Washington as a legislative assistant on ...
After a 10 year career in politics and then returning to school, Melissa Hafen is a brand new Army wife, stepmom to five and Kansan. Melissa attended Brigham Young University and then began her career in Washington as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill. She spent time in the private sector prior to working for a presidential campaign in 2007-8. Following that adventure, she helped the Lt. Governor of Virginia in his reelection campaign as his Political Director. Through the hospitalization and subsequent death of her father, in 2010, Melissa discovered her strengths and passion lied in nursing. Prior to meeting and marrying her husband, she was in nursing school in VA. Melissa is also a big sister, an auntie, a dark chocolate connoisseur, an ardent lover of beaches and mountains, and a sewing novice.
Rollercoaster engineers are brilliant. They know just how far our anatomy can stretch and what speed our stomachs can take. They are masters of intimidation all the way from the views of the rails while standing in line clear up until you’re strapped in and about to go over that first steep climb.
In my limited time within the Army life, I’ve come to know that those in position of deciding your spouse’s next assignment are like unto those very same rollercoaster engineers. Perhaps hardened long-time spouses don’t chaff at the uncertainties. But, for me, a planner by nature, the ups and downs and never knowing what’s around the next corner are harrowing.
For a few months, I’ve felt a lot like our 8 year old on our first trip to Worlds of Fun this summer. She had just reached 48” and could now ride nearly everything in the park. Much like I tackled AFTB classes and read up on Army life in the beginning to get acclimated, she tore through that amusement park with wild abandon, ready to try any and everything she could. And, now through finding out where our next PCS would leave us, I was just like her on those big rollercoasters; smiling from ear to ear, but…. screaming my head off.
For a while it looked like we might go to Fort Hood and my hubby would deploy later that year for 12 months. I really felt an emotional breakdown. Luckily that was short-lived. Then, for a good long while, the plan was for him to deploy for 4 months while I stay here with the kids through the end of the school year. After his return, we’d move and our family would be all together again. Four months to be a single parent to 5 step kids is better than twelve months; this became my mantra. As much as I didn’t want to go through that period, I knew it could be a heck of a lot worse. My main fear was knowing that times would come when frustration with kids would set in and my haven, my soldier’s arms, wouldn’t be there to make it better. In addition to the frustration, I’d have the additional worry of him being in one of the most dangerous places on our planet.
But, Providence was listening to the prayers of this new Army wife stepmom. After a few months of mentally preparing for that last scenario, it turns out that my husband will not deploy this time around, and we’ll all move together around the holidays. That was the best news of my married life. This ride sure has made my stomach drop a few times. But, I’m still smiling.
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