Friday, April 15, 2011

Staff Sergeant Jericho J. Belcher

Being with child, I get asked a lot of questions. How are you feeling? When are you due? Have you thought of names yet? Do you know who the father is? I don't mind them. It's fun to talk about babies and get advice. A couple of topics that bring the biggest reactions and most follow up questions are 1) I am quitting my job once the baby comes and 2) Jericho is getting deployed to Iraq later this year. 

I will tackle these topics one post at a time [sorry this is longer than I planned]. First, Jericho's deployment. I will tell you what I know at this point. Jericho is getting deployed to Iraq for an amount of time that has yet to be determined, but we're expecting less than a year but more than 5-6 months. The baby is due on or about August 5th. On or about July 24th, Jericho goes to Texas for 30 days of training prior to going to Iraq. He will leave directly from Fort-something in Texas for Iraq. There is a possibility that he may be able to come home for the baby's birth. There is a possibility that the baby and I may fly to Texas when they do their big send off to Iraq.

What will Jericho being doing? I find that when I say "Iraq", it creates an image of him being dropped into the front lines of a battle-ridden Iraqi city, machine gun in hand, camo-painted face, writing letters to me by dim lamplight while he stares at my faded, sepia-toned picture and nursing a gun-shot wound in his shoulder. Totally not what's going to happen. First of all, there's nothing really going on in Iraq anymore. It's all in Afghanistan, where Jericho will NOT be. And as Jericho pointed out, you're more likely to get shot in Charlotte, NC than in Iraq right now.

Jericho is part of a transportation unit in the North Carolina National Guard. He drives these. Aren't they sexy? I once asked Jericho why he choose this particular kind of army unit to join and he said, "What little kid doesn't want to drive a really big truck around?" It was so cute. This time around [he did one 13-month tour in 2003], he's a Staff Sergeant which means he'll be a passenger giving orders. But Obama says we're getting out of Iraq, right? Exactly. Their unit will be stationed in Kuwait and traveling to and from Iraq to move big stuff out of Iraq [mainly tanks].

I told Jericho I was excited to send him lots of mail and pictures and care packages. I asked him what kind of cool luxuries I could send him. He reminded me that he'll be stationed in Kuwait where they have Pizza Hut, Burger King, Taco Bell, Starbucks, among many other American luxuries in the middle of the dessert, including phone and internet access to call me every five minutes [too much?]. The US base in Kuwait is much like any other permanent military base in the US or anywhere else in the world. While at the base, he'll probably be eating better than I will. Fortunately, the safety aspect of Jericho being deployed is not of major concern. Sure, I'll still worry but not like I would be if his assignment was in Afghanistan or if he was infantry.

Those are the logistics of Jericho's deployment. Now on to the emotions of Jericho's deployment.

Last year when we talked about having a baby and deciding it was time, we knew that Jericho's deployment would be an issue. As the months went by and no sign of baby yet, I was really scared that the baby wouldn't be born until after Jericho left for Iraq. I was sad and scared and confused. At some point prior to knowing if I was pregnant, it was if one day I woke up and all panic, fear, sadness were completely gone. Jericho and I are only part of this equation. Heavenly Father knows what our life holds and that whenever this child comes to us, it's going to work out and it's what Heavenly Father has planned. Children are always a blessing. I'm not saying it won't be hard. I'm not saying I'm not going to cry a lot and get lonely and worry about him. But I know it's doable and this is what I'm going to do. Without consciously asking for it, I've been extremely blessed with faith in our situation. Or maybe it's avoidance and denial...

Another reason I know I need to be calm and resilient in this circumstance is for Jericho. I know he doesn't want to leave so why should I make it any harder on him by kicking and screaming and whining and making him feel even worse? Of the two of us, I will have an easier time while he's deployed. I will be safe in our home, with our child, with family, with church every Sunday, with real food, with air conditioning, with friends. I remind him that I'll miss him but focusing on the negatives is pointless. He's only here for another three and half months and I don't plan on spending my time with him as a whiny, annoying wife.

I LOVE that Jericho serves in the military. He rejoined the National Guard for the future benefit of our family. [And come on, who doesn't love a man in uniform?] He is extremely responsible and focused and having financial security has been a tremendous blessing, thanks to his dedication. This is only a short period of trial in our lives and one that military families go through on a much more regular basis than we ever will. And with even more kids at home! 

My greatest point of worry is embarking on first-time parenthood more or less as a single mother. Although, I don't truly know what I'm getting myself into. If I truly knew, I probably wouldn't be this calm. But calm is what I need to be so I'm considering my naivete a blessing. I'm blessed to have family close by and a wonderful network of women/moms/friends. Some of them within walking distance. They may not know how much I'll need them in a few months, but they'll find out soon. Even if it's just to sit in their house to be around lots of people [I don't do alone/quiet time very well].

That's the big stuff we're preparing for this year. I get a little sad when I'm counting down the days to when baby is born and realize it's about the same countdown for when Jericho leaves. It will be a very bittersweet time in our lives but one that I know will be filled with so much love and excitement and we'll do our very best to bring our family closer together.


  1. bahaha! "you're more likely to get shot in Charlotte, NC than in Iraq right now." We live in Charlotte and I feel like that EVERY day! Charlotte is soooooooo ghetto! Good luck with everything, I'm sure it'll be hard, but like you said, you have a great support system to help ya out!

  2. Kelley, thanks for sharing. I had been wondering how everything was going to work out and how you were feeling about things. If you ever get lonely, I'd love to talk to you over the phone or by email...I mean I would even if you weren't lonely either, but I think you know what I mean :).

  3. sniff, sniff...that's my awesome daughter:) Jericho is an amazing guy and we feel so blessed to have him in our family. The world could use more like him. We love you guys!

  4. WOW. Do you know where you will be giving birth? I should be around if you need a person near by to support you. I had no idea that Jericho was being deployed! Your naivete is a blessing :-) But you'll rock motherhood with him and without him XOXO

  5. Great post. Even though I am probably not in your top ten people to call when you need help, I just want to let you know that I am here to help in what ever way I can, Kelley, when you need it.

    And I'm so glad you know who the father is. :)

  6. Just so you know, that last comment, by "turkeyboy" was actually written by me, chelsea. I know that Scott wouldn't mind helping you, either, but I don't think he's even in your top 50 people to call for help.

    Unless it is with your taxes.

  7. Oh my goodness Kelley, you are one strong woman! Not that I ever doubted that :) I read your post to Vince and his first response was, "Well, you should fly out there and visit her while he is gone, or she should come here and visit!" I love the way Vince thinks! And I love that our baby girls will be the exact same age! You just might get a visit from me and baby ________. Name still undecided.

  8. I am prepared to be your best friend EVER. Ha ha. Just kid proof your house I guess... =) You're one tough cookie, Kelley.

  9. our door is ALWAYS open to you and there is never a lack of noise or people around here either. :)

  10. You have such awesome perspective. As a whiny baby wife who puts up a fuss when her husband leaves on business for a week, I can tell you from experience it is easier with a child - somewhere to focus your attention. The proverbial "reason to be strong" if you will. I am proud of Jericho and all my relatives who serve in the military and I am proud of their brave families! My brother Brad was in the National Guard in Kuwait in the mid-90's and missed the birth of his first child and about six months of her life. I can't even imagine how hard. But thank goodness for brave soldiers!

  11. You are amazing. I think we should plan some card nights during this time. Mostly so I can see your little baby. But also to hang out.
    Another nice to have the baby to have a part of Jericho with you while he's gone.

  12. 3 years in Charlotte.... still haven't gotten shot... Jericho will be fine. Also, I'm just in love with the idea of you and Jericho being parents. How much fun is that? YAY!


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