So here it is. My first blog. Why is it only my first blog? Well, I'm a guy, and like most guys, I don't communicate my thoughts or feelings unless it is absolutely necessary to sustain life. I am, as they say, a man of few words. I never have been much of a writer either, so let me warn you now. My writing is consistantly choppy and non-linear. I switch between thoughts a lot and tend to end sentences abruptly, or run them on forever. Bear with me. So here we go, my Seinfeld blog. It's about nothing and everything all at once. It's about the thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis. It's about..... well, let me get on with it already. I am serving my third tour in Iraq and more importantly my last tour. I have been here for a little over a month and I can already tell that this is going to be the most difficult deployment of the three. It's not hard because of what is going on here in the giant sandbox. It is hard because of what I am missing out on at home. It all goes back to 2003. That's when I joined the Army and it's also when I married Paige, the woman of my dreams. Now I don't mean the supermodel running on the beach in a string bikini woman of my dreams. I mean the woman that all women should strive to be. Don't get me wrong, Paige is absolutely gorgeous. She is the most beautiful woman in my world, but that is not why I asked her to marry me. I married Paige because she is kind, tender, loving, and thoughtful. I married her because I can count on her, I can trust her, and I know that she will love me, support me, and stand by me when I need her the most. She is, like I said, the woman of my dreams. Unfortunately I deployed to Iraq shortly after we wed. It was a hard year in the desert, but it was a year spent looking foward to starting a new life with Paige. I really wasn't missing out on too much because we hadn't really started anything yet. I was home for a year before I deployed to Iraq again. Paige got pregnant about three months prior to that and I spent the next six months anxiously awaiting the day that I would be able to go home to welcome our baby girl into this world. Paige went into labor the day that I got home for leave and Jillian Grace Shepherd was born the next day. It was awesome, but I found myself unable to fully enjoy the moment knowing that I only had a couple of weeks before I would return to Iraq and complete my year long tour. Fortunately for me, most babies don't have any significant "firsts" until they are around six months old. Jillian was just starting to sit up on her own when I returned home from my second deployment, and I got to see her crawl. I got to see her first tooth, and I was there when she took her first steps. I am so thankful for all of this. Fast foward to 2008. Our second daughter, Emma Cate Shepherd was born on Valentines Day of this year. She is beautiful just like her sister and her mother. This is where it gets hard. It's hard because I have already missed out on so much. I wasn't there when Emma started crawling. I wasn't there to see her first tiny little tooth, and I will most likely not be there when she takes her first steps. Jillian is three now. She is learning so many new things and really starting to develop her very own unique personality. Paige says she's just like me. I take that as a compliment. What make me sad though, is that she's at that age where she knows I'm gone, but she doesn't really know why. I find myself wondering how she will react when I come home on leave. Will she jump into my arms when she sees me, or will she shy away, uncertain of what's going on? What makes this even worse is that I will only be home for a couple of weeks before I have to leave again. Will she feel abandoned? Will she think that I don't love her anymore? Hopefully she won't think any of these things, but I can't help but wonder. What about Paige? This is her third deployment too! She is at home without me, trying to manage the bills, raise the girls, and take care of me (with care-packages), all while going to school full time. I can't complain though. She is doing a great job! Thank you honey. I Love You! I wish I could be there to help her. After all, it is a man's responsibility to take care of his family. I am looking foward to the day when I can be home for good. Then I can take care of my family. Then the hardest times will be behind us.