Oh did I type that outloud?
It might be that I have never been a true military wife and therefore I have no idea what it is like to say goodbye to the love of my life not knowing exactly how long he will be gone, when I will talk to him next, where he will actually be stationed…. Let alone, if I will ever see him again.
Maybe it is the fact that I would have to explain his absence to those two precious little girls… constantly asking “Where’s daddy going?” “Why does daddy have to leave us?” “When is daddy coming home?”
I wonder how I would do that….? What would I say? Would I take the time to explain it to them and comfort them? Of course I would… but…
Her valiant beaming smile and constant joy that silently but so consistently, ensures safety to her children… no matter the outcome. Yes, she is the pillar of strength and dignity.
Again, I stand amazed.
As a family unit – they spend as much time together as possible, even that final photo opportunity with an on-location photographer to capture those beautiful, non-posed shots…. Those intimate pictures that at a future date, will bring all the emotions of that day back to them, with just a mere glance.
She will take the time to address the issue of responsibility for God and country intertwined with her patience and mercy in providing continual comfort to little ones who simply don’t understand.
She will model Christ by leading them into a conversation with Jesus and thank Him for this time… this opportunity… to serve and to grow… as a family.
God’s will be done… Come what may.
She is a model for mothers everywhere.
She is the daughter of very proud parents and the woman every mother would want for her son.
She is amazing in all that she does. That ever-so-chaotic juggle of motherhood…
Church, house, family functions and play dates… For the oldest daughter that is…
Akiyah Faith Headrick – merely 3 years old. But a precocious little thing – active, joyful and full of life… just like her momma – with nothing but time on her hands to enjoy it all.
And this momma makes sure that every single one is met.
There are the multiple doctors’ appointments, hospital checks – and the emergency room visits… the feeding tube, the sleepless nights of rocking a restless child, the surprise seizures, the screaming and crying of pains that even the best momma can’t make go away…
And then there is the wondering of how much longer she might have her precious little girl…
That would be the youngest: Ms. Braylee Hope Brown and her diagnosis: Hydranencephaly – a rare neurological condition in which most of the cerebral hemispheres are absent and replaced with fluid. She is just 1-year-old… and her momma says, Praise Jesus, she wasn’t supposed to be here this long.”
It is the fact that little miss Momma is my little girl-next-door (literally) – crush on my son – idol to my daughter – me watching her grow up – daughter of my good friends Sonya and Bobby Jo… (Yes, that is his real name… and I dare you to say something to this mountain of a man)….
Little Miss Erica Headrick.
That pretty little string-bean girl who grew up in a double-wide trailer in a small little back-woods – Tennessee town, without the benefit of deep pockets or an entitled life…
This is my wonder of a woman…. My amazing new girl-crush of the week… rather, month… wish I could be more like her… My little Erica…
Who really, at the tender age of 22, is just a little girl herself…
I’m sure you have done the math. Erica was in high school when her first little girl, Akyiah, was born. But Erica was different from most young mothers: She did not see her child as some form of toy or play-doll…
She saw her daughter as a gift. A life that required her time, her energy and her love.
And gave her all she had.
She did not pawn the child off on me-maw and paw-paw. She did not go out at night with her friends or scream that life wasn’t fair. She did not blame the baby-daddy, family, friends, her small town upbringing or any other socio-economic stat.
She simply finished high school and took responsibility for her daughter.
And she did it with a vengeance. No regrets. No bitterness. No anger.
Listen to her speak. Watch her grace. See her mercy.
She is beauty and that kind of beauty comes from Jesus. And it is obvious how much she loves her Jesus.
And she is blessed. And if you don’t believe me, just ask her – She will be the first to tell you.
A military wife of just one year… Yesterday, Erica Brown said goodbye to her 26-year-old husband, Tyler.
He kissed his babies, put on his fatigues, combat boots and picked up his gun.
And then he left for work.
She is left to care for her little babies on her own for this season…
Somehow, I think she will do just fine.
This article was written with the permission of the family. All Rights are reserved. No permission is given to reproduce this article or any portion of it in any fashion whatsoever without the written consent of the author: Holly T. Ashley, or the subjects mentioned in this story. However, feel free to re-post and redirect readers to this story as is.
This story is true and accurate and the soul opinion of it’s author.
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On Tuesday, February 18 around 4:00 p.m. I had the opportunity to be a part of something I will never forget. I went to do a free photo session for a couple who had won my “Cutest Couple” contest for Valentine’s Day. I have had my own little photography business for close to three years and have done around 500 different sessions during that time, but never one like I experienced that day and to think I was not making a penny of money off of it. I had to opportunity to get to know Tyler and Erica Brown and their sweet children. We have known who each other are, but never really talked much. I had no idea what a strong, loving couple these two were going to be. Talking to them and capturing the memories I did just made my day. It was by far my favorite session I have ever done and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something so beautiful! Hurry home Tyler can’t wait to take those welcome home pictures. Erica, keep your head up and that smile on your face. You are beautiful on the inside and out and don’t let anything change that!
Oh! That is beautiful!!!! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing Ashley!
Beautifully well written post, and so, so true!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this sweet family!!
Everything you said in this piece is so true! Thank you for recognizing what an amazing person Erica is!
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