When your husband is deployed on the aircraft carrier in line for a strike against Syria and someone posts to your Facebook, “At least you’re not dating a Marine, THEN you’d have something to actually worry over.”
Like, what the actual fuck?! Are YOU in the line of combat right now?! Fuck you, for talking to a worried wife like that. Who cares what branch my husband is in? He’s out there serving his country, in a time of chaos, unlike YOU.
And my husband is deployed. :(
Missing so many great things during this deployment, but I know we will make up for it when he comes home. Just eight more months…
Perhaps you have seen this photo. On Facebook maybe or on a military blog, in an email.
In the picture, to the right, Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Paul Carpenter’s dog tags dangle from his dusty boots. A small Bible, bookmarked with his wedding announcement, rests on the floor beside them.
To the left, a camouflaged cap is propped on the edge of a framed picture of Andrew, or Andy, as most people knew him. He is dressed in his fatigues, smiling widely.
Lying in the center of the photograph, sound asleep on his father’s folded fatigues, is 2-week-old Landon Paul Carpenter. He was born March 18, a month after his father was killed in Afghanistan. It was his second deployment.
Descriptions attached to the photo, which recently has blazed across the Internet, typically invoke the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the families who love them.
Andrew’s 22-year-old widow, Crissie, doesn’t mind that this is how others interpret the photo. Not at all. It’s just not why she asked photographer Marcia Truitt to take this particular picture of her newborn son.
“I knew that Landon would never be able to get a photo with his father,” Crissie said in a telephone interview from her home in Dickson, Tenn. “Andy couldn’t hold his son for the photo, but he’s still in it. I wanted to capture this moment, for Landon to have this closeness with his father.”
Crissie met Ms. Truitt, who owns Inara Studios in Nashville, after another military widow with a young son gave her the photo session as a gift. Ms. Truitt was nearly eight months pregnant with her first child when Crissie showed up with baby Landon and a box of her husband’s belongings.
“It was the hardest photo session I’ve ever done,” Ms. Truitt said in a phone interview from her studio. “She brought that huge box of his things. One by one, we pulled out his Gideons Bible, his dog tags, his shirt and boots, his photo …” Ms. Truitt’s voice trailed off, and she took a couple of breaths.
“It was really hard to do. But that was the way to honor her husband, to honor Landon’s dad. And despite the sadness, it was also a celebration of a life.”
Crissie said she loved the photo and immediately wanted to share it with friends and family.
“I love to post photos on Facebook, so, of course, I posted this one of Landon. I had no idea so many people would want to share it.”
Within days, a military blog asked for permission to post it, and Crissie readily agreed.
“Before I knew it, the photo had 100,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and thousands of comments.”
Crissie never intended to publicize the photo to strangers, and she thought long and hard before agreeing to talk about it with me. In the end, she decided to share the back story of the photo in the hope that publicizing the picture of Landon more widely would help Americans better understand the sacrifices of everyone in the military, including the children who are left behind. Ms. Truitt generously has allowed us to share the photo with readers for free.
It’s the kind of picture that can change your day.
“I know people have looked at this photo with a different impression than what I intended,” Crissie said. “For many, it tells the story of the ultimate sacrifice Andy made. I’m OK with that, because that’s certainly true. I want them to see the sacrifice that a ton of families have made. I’m not the only spouse to lose a loved one. If I can help others to see this, then I hope that God will use me.”
Crissie paused and then apologized as she started to cry.
“I would do anything for my husband to still be alive. I’d live on the side of the road in a box if he could be there with me.”
“I hope dads who can hold their children … realize how lucky they are. I hope everyone who sees it turns to someone they love and says, ‘I love you, and I’m so thankful I still have you in my life.’ “Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Oh the tears.
omg can’t even finish this
- Open when you need to know how much I love you: write reasons why you love them and fell in love with them
- Open when you’re mad at me: apologize for something or talk about what you would do if you were together to make it better
- Open when you miss me: talk about a memory; or make up something you could do together
- Open when you’re lonely: talk about what would happen if you were together at that moment
- Open when you’re happy: write things to make them happier and talk about why it’s important for them to be happy :)
- Open when you’ve had a long day: what you would do to help them relax
- Open when you’ve had a bad day: what you would do to make it better
- Open when you’re sick: same as above
- Open when you’ve left me after visiting: talk about how the distance is worth it and that every time you are together is perfect and will be even more perfect the next time!
- Open when you can’t sleep: give them a soothing memory of the 2 of you to think about while they close their eyes
- Open when you’re horny: i don’t need to explain this one..lols
- Open when you’re imagining our future: talk about something you both will share in the future; marriage, kids, vacations, holidays, etc.
- Open when we can’t communicate with each other: tell them everything you love about them and why; that is all that matters
- Open when you need a reminder of all the things I love about you: self explanatory
- Open when you need motivation/encouragement.: tell them you are proud and why; tell them all of their achievements and why thats amazing
- Open when you need to laugh.: tell a funny story about yourself that they don’t know or a funny memory that you both share
- Open when you’re bored: tell them a made up story; a memory; a fantasy
- Open when we’re fighting (and it’s you’re fault): tell them you forgive them and that you love them no matter what
- Open when we’re fighting (and it’s my fault): say you’re sorry and that you love them
- Open when you need a kiss: add a hershey kiss
- Open when you miss America: put in pictures of their family, their town, their favorite spot, make a place that is special to the both of you
- Open when you need some lovin’: take a piece of paper and lay it on a flat, hard surface and grab some lipstick; put A LOT of the lipstick on and kiss the paper as it lays flat; now they will have a bunch of kissies from you!
A Navy wife just asked on a Facebook page if there were any other Chief wives who had young children for her kids to meet, and all HELL is breaking loose hahaha. I get where the other women are coming from, because does that mean that children of lower rankings sailors aren’t good enough for her kids to play with?
But, I genuinely don’t think that’s where she was coming from. I think she just wants someone who is in the same situation as her, just like it’s easier for bootcamp-SOs to talk to other bootcamp-SOs, and SOs who are dealing with deployment tend to stick together, and even for me, I feel more of a connection to the wives who are with a man the same rank as my husband, because I know they are in about the same place in life.
Of course, at the end of the day I don’t CARE what rank your SO is, because THEY wear the rank, not us spouses. It’s just an ongoing battle, I suppose!