For Kelli Watson, being a military wife is a responsibility in itself, but being a mother to four children on top of that can make for some challenging moments in life.
"When our first born was a week old, he went overseas for 6 months," Watson says. "And then the week he got home, we got pregnant with the second one. So, that's what its been like, crazy."
Then came child number three and four! She says at that point, she and her husband, Lt. Col. Britt Watson, realized being near family was especially important. That's why Britt has chosen a career with the Air National Guard, so he and Kelli can be close to family and so Kelli can have someone to rely on for help when Britt is away on a mission. She tells us the 60-day mission Britt returned from last week really wasn't that bad though.
"It was different this deployment because the past deployments he was overseas, but he was able to go sightseeing," she says. "But he was he was on a ship, so they could go scooba-diving, go eat out sushi. I mean, just have fun and I was at home with a newborn and I struggled then."
Jenny Ziemba says she couldn't be more proud of her husband, Lt. Col. Craig Ziemba, and the career path he has chosen. But she says day-to-day life can be a little hectic sometimes, as she usually doesn't know Craig's daily schedule until the night before. Then of course, there are deployments. She says while there are fewer of those now, it's still never easy.
"But being in the Air Guard here in Meridian has been a huge blessing for our family because he's definitely deploying a lot less in the Air Guard than he did when he was in the Navy," Jenny says.
She says during the first five years they were married, Craig was gone for between two-and-a-half and three years of that time. But when he is away, it's up to Jenny to look after their 11-year old son, who is home schooled.
"But sometimes not having daddy there at the end of the day to help, you know that can be hard," she admits. "But he's very supportive of what his dad does."
Thursday night, in part 3 of our series, we focus on how the Ziemba and Watson families are treated by members of the community. Part 3 airs Thursday evening at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. on Newscenter 11.