These days I constantly find myself wondering where is our home going to be in this next chapter of our Happily Ever After?! Being a Daughtry fan, his song "Home" has played again and again in my mind. I keep hearing, "I'm going home, to a place where I belong." Well, I have to wonder, where is that?!
This journey has taught me that Chaz and I can make any place for our girls into a home. We made a Fisher House our home for over eight months. Now we take them back and forth between what has been our home for over five years and a little apartment (that is literally half the size of our house) in the big city. The girls have handled all of this so amazingly well. Chaz and I have taught them that your family is what makes a place a home. I am very proud that we have blessed them with that very important lesson so early in their lives.
Within this next year we will have to decide where will we live for our next chapter, which will be the longest chapter of our healing. We plan to be in that home for at least 10 years. We want the girls to go back to school, dance, Girl Scouts, whatever they want to do. We want them to have a normal childhood again. But where do we want to build that home?! The answer is we don't know.
Maryland, DC and Virginia are out of the question. We want a simpler life. I have lived in Tennessee since 1982. Chaz was born and raised in Oklahoma. We want some of that simplicity for our girls. Since we will have many more opportunities in Tennessee and the VA system is way better in TN, we chose TN for the next ten years. So the good news is we've picked a state. I have many, many ties to Kentucky, but my heart is in Tennessee.
We have settled on Middle Tennessee because there are two VA hospitals in the heart of the middle. Chaz can be seen by a regular doctor, but we will need the VA for the rest of his life. We wanted to be within an hour drive of a VA because of his medical needs. Well that didn't help the decision because there are several great towns within an hour drive. Now we are scouting out locations but haven't really narrowed it down.
Chaz has served our country for over 14 years. He plans to medically retire, work on computers and be a stay at home Dad. I fully support him. He has been through so much and has finally had the chance to be the Dad he has always wanted to be. He has assured me he can achieve his goals anywhere. I know he is totally right. I am really excited for him. In the beginning of all of this, he asked me what I wanted him to do when this was all over. I told him be happy. I think he will be very happy wherever we go.
Me, well I think I have only gotten started serving our country. My college advisor called me a lobbyist all throughout my college career. That is what he wanted me to become. I am not sure if that is what I will do, but I can assure you I will continue to fight for our military families, all of our families. I will fight for all ranks, branches, injuries, all of them. I may not be a lobbyist, but I will always be an advocate.
This journey has taught me many very important lessons. I have learned when you come to the table with solutions to a problem people can't figure out, they will listen. Some times you have to slam their heads into a wall or climb to the top of the chain of command and make it rain down, but one person can make a difference. I have learned we have too many people who sit at desks too long and have no real idea what is going on in our world. I have learned the people that you think are so far out of touch, who sit at the top care so very much and they too have to navigate through the egos to get things done. But most importantly I have learned if you work with together to navigate the egos and check yours at the door things will get done.
I know I have to live in a community where I can make a difference. But where is that?! I have to decide if I want to be a big fish in a little pond or a very loud little fish in a very big pond. Regardless I have to just keep swimming until I lead my family home.