2. Settled down is actually kind of nice.
When Matt and I were dating, I told him point blank that I did not want children. I furthermore did not want to be tied down to a life of boring domesticity. I wanted to travel (I had just gotten back from a four-week tour of the British Isles). I wanted excitement and adventure ’round every turn. I did not — NOT — want to settle down.
Luckily, he wore me down. I’m not saying it’s not the right path for some people, but getting out of the Army was the best decision for us. Watching Matt in the morning with Natalie, I am so grateful that he is here. I am so grateful that he will never miss a birthday. Or Christmas. Or dance recital. He will be available to chaperone field trips and ferry her to soccer practice. He can teach her the intricacies of baseball and long division. And — when she’s older — boys. Because she will probably go to an all-girl’s high school, he will be available for those Daddy-Daughter dances that my cousins are so fond of now. He will be the one to teach her to make snow angels in Winter and how to execute a perfect cannonball dive in the Summer.
And although it’s so so important to both of us that she knows who he is, I am also grateful that he knows who she is. I don’t want her to be stranger to him either. My mom hasn’t seen her granddaughter since she was about 3 weeks old. Of course, she remembers Natalie. Of course she has watched her grow in pictures and, soon, will watch her on a webcam. But if you ask her, she’ll say it’s just not the same.
Army life is rewarding in other ways. I’m grateful for Matt’s involvement in Natalie’s life, that’s all. I feel blessed to have my family together and safe. I wouldn’t want it any other way.