You never really know how much a person who serves in the military sacrifices until you experience it or watch someone close to you go through it. I will briefly describe how I met the Wood’s Family and share the beautiful homecoming of Cody Wood. Jenna Wood is wife to Cody Wood (a U.S. Coast Guard who just returned home from serving two terms in Afghanistan) I was a DGL for Valley Baptist MOPS ministry and Jenna was assigned to my table for this 2015 MOPS year. I knew that Jenna had a daughter Ila who was three and that she was currently expecting her second baby this year, and that her husband was currently serving overseas, that is all I knew about her.
Shortly before the new MOPS begin I was told that Jenna had been placed on bed-rest toward the middle of her pregnancy, Jenna was alone, with a three year old who needed her care (anyone who is a parent knows how hard it would be to cope with bed-rest and have a toddler to tend to) and all I could think was that her husband was so far away. Jenna never complained, she was always strong, positive and understanding of her situation. Jenna welcomed me a stranger into her home, trusted me to babysit sweet Ila along with other amazing MOPS Mom’s from our ministry
( thank you ladies for loving on Jenna during Cody’s leave, thank you). I would go to her apartment and pick up Ila so she could rest. We would talk about Cody often and I asked a lot of questions about how she felt doing this alone? How Cody was holding up being across the world unable to be there for his family physically? she said this was just a decision they had made and they had to get through it. I never realized how much a person sacrifices being in the army until spending time with Jenna. They cannot be there psychically for their loved ones, they miss the birth of their children sometimes, they live in extremely dangerous situations, they go without clean clothing, a warm- cooked meals, they miss dropping their kiddos off on the first day of school, they miss birthday’s, anniversary’s, and life moments, and never know what tomorrow may bring. I truly will never understand fully what Jenna and Cody felt during their time apart but I know I felt for my friend. The moment she went into labor and had to Face-Time the birth of their son so Cody could experience it, even via Ipad screen (which is amazing, technology has come so far) she was so strong despite her husband not being there to hold her hand and talk her through labor, she just had to get through it.
Jenna adapted to being a new mother of two those first few months all alone until Cody was able to take his leave. I admire her so much for her strength and ability to keep it all together, never once breaking or having a pity-party. You have to be strong when you’re a spouse to someone serving in the military.
I was asked to photograph Cody’s last home coming from serving in Afghanistan and decided since it was Memorial Day this would be such a perfect blog post. The night Cody flew home his connecting flight to San Francisco was cancelled, he rented a car and on the freeway it broke down in the storm California was experiencing. Cody ended up getting a tow back to the airport and sleeping on airport chairs until he could catch a flight home. What a mission to get home but he finally did God willing.
The Wood’s family is off to a new location (Families in the service move every few years) I am not sure when we will see each-other again but I am so thankful that God placed Jenna at my table. I have grown to admire her family immensely and will truly miss them. Wood’s Family thank you for allowing me to capture these intimate moments, I love you guys and you will always have a special place in my heart. Lastly to Cody and ALL Men and Women who have served and are actively serving thank you a million times for your service, I am forever grateful.
Happy Memorial Day.