We believe stories are important - they connect us with other women who share similar experiences and help us feel as if we're not alone when life throws us a curveball. And as a military spouse - owned company, we believe in the power of sharing stories of fellow military spouses. The military spouse community is a unique sisterhood - they show strength with every relocation, deployment, and lost job; they’re resilient - making a new home and forming new friendships at each duty station; and they are fiercely devoted to the family and military hero they love. Despite the uncertainty and sacrifice that military life brings, military spouses face each new challenge with grace and bravery. At Charliemadison Originals, we're celebrating our sisterhood of military spouses through our Meet a Milspouse series - sharing one story at a time and giving you a glimpse inside their world.
GIVE US A BEHIND-THE-SCENES PEEK AT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY – HOW DID YOU BECOME A MILITARY SPOUSE (MILSPOUSE)? WHAT DO YOU DO IN ADDITION TO BEING A MILSPOUSE? AND A FUN FACT ABOUT YOUR MILITARY FAMILY?
My husband and I met when I was 7 and he was 10. We went to High School together and he would always try to get me to go out on a date. I never said yes, but that never stopped him from asking. He left for the Army when I was a sophomore in high school. I ran into him one time when he was on his hometown visit and had one phone call with him my senior year. I was supposed to send him my senior pictures, but never did because I had a boyfriend. He never let me live that one down. Four years into his Army career when he was home for Easter weekend we ran into each other at a local Mexican restaurant and five months later said “I do.” I knew that day when fate brought us together in our hometown that we were meant to be. 15 years later we always celebrate and have a Mexican meal on April 12.
I knew nothing about the military lifestyle and will forever be grateful for everything it has taught me and how strong it has made our marriage. It’s not always been easy, but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel makes it easier. My husband will retire this year and we are really excited about our next chapter. This will really allow me to focus on my passion and project to support military women with providing education, resources and tools on pelvic floor and core health. I was fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom to our girls for many years. Recently I have found my calling in a very ignored area of women's health and love advocating for my military sisters, both spouses and soldiers.
Fun fact about my mil family - All of our girls are named after U.S. Presidents, we have Mckinley, Madison and Monroe. My Presidents make our world go round and they are my biggest reason why!
WHICH MILITARY BRANCH DOES YOUR SPOUSE SERVE IN AND FOR HOW MANY YEARS HAS HE SERVED?
US Army - 19 years and he will retire this November. Can’t believe we are here and some days it feels unreal that we are at the end of his career in the military. Some days I wonder how we fit everything in and others I think we should be at about 40 years and not 20!
WHERE HAS THE MILITARY MOVED YOUR FAMILY OVER THE YEARS? WHICH WAS YOUR FAVORITE DUTY STATION AND WHY?
We spent my husband's career going between Ft. Bragg, NC and Germany
Ft. Bragg - Schweinfurt, Germany - Ft. Bragg - Vilseck, Germany - Detroit, MI
Being in Germany was my favorite! Between the food, beer and travel what else could you possibly need? If the opportunity ever presented itself I would go back to Germany forever and never look back.
I often joke that we were sent to Michigan so we could get a taste of what civilian life would be like to prepare us for retirement. This was never the plan, but here we are. This has been a very unique assignment and timing has been everything. I didn’t understand why we came here, but now I can see and appreciate the big picture. I very much disliked this place when we first got here, and cried and begged my husband to get us out. Not being surrounded by a military community and having your support system is tough!
One of my favorite things about the military are the instant connections and friends who quickly become family. I very much felt like an outsider when we got here and it was different from what we were used to. Now I see that this was a vital piece to the puzzle to make the transition from military life to civilian just a little bit easier. Our girls go to an amazing charter school and we bought our dream home on 10 acres and so far have 8 hens and a rooster named Hank.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A MILITARY SPOUSE? TELL US SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED OR HAS MADE YOU STRONGER BECAUSE YOU ARE A MILSPOUSE?
My favorite thing about being a military spouse are the friends I have made over the years. My chosen sisters that make this crazy life a whole lot easier even on the hardest days. Some of my best memories are gatherings where we all came together and shared a table and foods from all over the world.
Something that I have learned is that I am capable of doing hard things. Shortly after we got married we were sent to Germany and my husband left for our first deployment. He was gone for 15 months. I have looked back many times throughout this journey and reminded myself if we can do that, we can do anything!
WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing women! Women who are making huge impacts in the lives of others! Right now I have to give a shoutout to Wendy Powell, Maxine Harrison, Suzy Goodwin, Kayla Roof and Wendi Iacobello. These women all push me to be the best version of me and remind me over and over again that I am enough!
WHICH CHARLIEMADISON EVERYDAY REMINDER DO YOU WEAR ON YOUR WRIST AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT PARTICULAR BRACELET?
I have the Trust Your Journey Bracelet. I have had to remind myself of this over and over again throughout my military spouse journey and also while launching my business. I truly believe that my path is already paved, this beautiful bracelet is my constant reminder that sometimes I just need to trust the journey.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY CONNECTED TO WHAT MATTERS MOST, DESPITE THE UNCERTAINTY, FREQUENT MOVES, AND DEPLOYMENTS THAT GO ALONG WITH BEING A MILITARY FAMILY?
Living day to day and being able to handle that constant and unpredictable change around us has not always been easy for me. The more seasoned I got the more I was able to take a deep breath and roll with it. Reminding myself that my husband and my girls matter the most is what gets me though. Home is where the Army sends you and as long as we are together I am happy! Also, trying to remind myself that our path is already paved and although it may not make sense now, it will eventually. We have been through some hard things, but in the end it all worked out and we end up together as The Gammon 5, just the way I like it!
WE HAPPEN TO BE QUOTE LOVERS AROUND HERE – CAN YOU SHARE A FAVORITE QUOTE THAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” - Maya Angelou
Love this! Just always BE YOU!