Kylee knew those feelings all too well after her husband joined the Air National Guard.
In August 2018, Derek left for basic training, leaving behind two little ones and Kylee, who was going through a high-risk pregnancy.
As it goes with the military, they had less than two weeks to prepare for Derek to ship off to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio when he got training orders.
Kylee was in her third trimester and expected to give birth the week of his graduation.
Feeling lonely was an understatement.
Kylee missed Derek’s basic training graduation.
“My doctor wouldn’t let me go to the graduation, so my wonderful parents took our two boys down to Texas,” recalls Kylee. “It was hard. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through.”
Derek missed Kylee giving birth.
Their healthy little girl, Lainey, was born on October 23 at 11:29 am.
She weighed 7 lbs, 5 oz. and was 19.5 inches long.
Her father met her a few hours later on FaceTime. A few weeks later, he held little Lainey for the first time.
Despite his wife’s risky pregnancy, Derek still had little contact with Kylee while away.
The Sandboxx app connected them quickly to get Derek the news Kylee went into labor.
“There was no other way to get news quickly to my husband while in basic training,” she says. “He found out two days after I had gone into the hospital through a Sandboxx letter.”
An MTI then allowed her husband to call to make sure she was ok.
“He couldn’t have done that if it weren’t for this amazing app and sweet MTI,” she says.
Whenever Kylee had a free moment, she would send Derek messages through the Sandboxx app.
It made life so much easier, she says.
“Derek always loved getting the pictures and updates! I normally was busy and had my hands full with our beautiful children that sending something snail mail would have taken forever,” says Kylee. “But with the Sandboxx app, when I had a free minute at night, I would write Derek. It was super convenient for us.”
While Derek trains for TACP in Texas, his family is living in Oklahoma. Kylee credits close relationships with friends, family, and Jesus for giving her strength along the way.
After her third child’s birth, Kylee’s parents stayed for almost a month to help out.
“They were there for me every step of the way,” says Kylee. “Thank the Lord for amazing family and friends, because I don’t know if I would have been able to do it without them.”
Although the transition into military life has been tough, Kylee says the experience has taught her resilience and to speak up when you need help.
The emotions can be overwhelming, but there are people who are going through the same feelings, even if it does feel isolating.
“My advice is when you ever feel lonely don’t keep those feelings inside. Let a best friend or family member know,” she says. “Share with people the honest truth of what’s going on. I didn’t hide how hard it was being the only parent of two young boys and being at the end of my high-risk pregnancy.”
For parents who are adjusting to the single parent lifestyle, she advises finding a tribe. Getting connected to a mom group or military wife/mom group helps build a sense of community, she says.
She didn’t find hers until months after her husband was gone.
Her husband is still training at Lackland Air Force Base, and due to an injury, will be there a bit longer than expected.
Kylee and her kids miss him every day, and it’s a sacrifice that can be hard to explain to little ones.
She recommends the books “Over There” and “Home Again” by Dorinda Silver Williams to help kids understand a little better about why their parents are gone so long for work.
They may be too little to fully understand now, but Kylee is excited for the day they’ll truly get the meaning of their dad’s work.
“I can’t wait till our kids are old enough to explain to them how proud I am of their dad and the sacrifice he not only made for this country and our family, but also the sacrifice our family made for this decision of being in the military,” she says. “I’m super grateful for the Air Force. It’s taught both of us that you never can take anything for granted. Being apart has grown us as individuals and impacted our marriage immensely.”
Kylee adds, “We both have become stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s never easy, and we both constantly say this is for our future as a family and the training is only temporary.”
Feature Image Photographed by Visually Bias Photography