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I’m excited to share Kristen’s letter today and actually this is the first of two she wrote. I will be posting the next one in two weeks!
You snuck up on us. I knew you were a possibility, but the day we got married you did not enter my mind. For the two weeks we had together I thought of you not once. I don’t like surprises and you sucker punched me with a phone call. I asked, “How did the briefing go.” There was no answer given but a deep inhalation of air on the other end and I knew.
I’m an honest person and I will tell you up front that you stink. I don’t like you and I miss him.
You took away my five visits to Georgia to spend time as newlyweds, but we continue to grow. Statistics show that our chances of staying together are doomed. It is my second marriage and I have two girls and he is gone with you. But you do not know us. When I say us, it is not just two cords bound together with love but three with God at the center and commitment at the core. We are stronger together because we have been apart.
You took away physical touch. I miss his hands. But we do not need touch to grow. What you did not know is that we have written letters since he was 19 and stationed in Germany. He is not just my new husband, but has been a friend for 16 years. We know about distance and letters and phone calls.
You wanted to show how strong I was. I did not need you to prove what a strong Minnesota woman I am. You have shown me that in my strength I can be weak. You have taught me to let others see behind the fake smile and see the tears hidden behind. I have learned to tell him how I feel and not keep it hidden. I have learned how to express my anxiety and I am learning to breathe.
You wanted my children and him to stay apart, but you have brought my children and husband closer. They talk and write. They share with pride where their step father is.
You took away my comfort and my security. You fill my head with the “What If’s”. But I have learned that I do not live in the Land of What If’s. I live here in the now. Every day is worth you. Every moment apart you bring us will bring us back together.
You have made others question why we got married. Why did I marry someone who lives in Georgia when I live in Minnesota? Why did I marry someone who would be deployed? Why didn’t we wait until his contract was up? At times you have made even me wonder why we didn’t wait. But you don’t know that we prayed. We prayed and God said yes. We are married because it was good. We were married because we love and everyday as his wife is worth it.
You tried to take away my support system because we have no knowledge of you. It is true, I do not have a support system who understands you or any friends who have been through you, but I have family. I have grown closer to the family and friends I have because even though they don’t know you, they love me and support me. I don’t hear from an FRG, but the husband keeps me up to date with information. In ways that you tried to take from me, blessings have been added.
I hear that once you are done it will be harder. They call it reintegration from what I read on the internet. But we won’t have reintegration; we will have integration 6 months after you are over. We have never lived together and will not know life without you. If it is going to be harder, know that I’ve always been one up for a challenge. The one thing you did not expect was that I know truth. I know that I have a hope and a future and that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Thank you for the opportunity to grow during a time that was unforeseen and unexpected. I never thought I would thank you, but we will look back on this time and be glad you are over, but we will also be able to look back at the memories we made, the letters we wrote, and the growing we did together. That being said, I will be extremely happy to see you go.
Kristin M. Kraabel
Kristin Kraabel is a 31 year old saved by grace child of God, wife, tattooed mom, full time Quality Control Manager and beekeeper. She lives communally with her children, grandmother, parents, and little brother in two houses. She was married to her husband for 2 weeks when the call came for him to deploy. She states she is just an everyday Minnesota mama and wife being “real” about life at