Category Archives: Relationships

Home: From a Military Wife’s Perspective

brit twenter block

There are a lot of things I’ve learned so far as the wife of a servicemember.  Among the top few things I’ve discovered are: 1) expect criticism for being a Marine officer’s wife, 2) even the biggest, baddest Marines turn to mush for an adorable puppy, and most importantly 3) the definition of “home” isn’t what you would expect.

Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter
Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter

I would say that without a doubt, my most texted/ Facebook messaged/ Skyped phrases have to do with missing someone/ missing KCMO.  My friends, family, and town where I grew up are all 1000+ miles away, and that’s something that I am constantly reminded of.

Back in 2011 before I had started “officially” dating my (then future) husband, he was gearing up for OCS Juniors.  I bid him a cheerful goodbye for six weeks, wrote him a couple of letters, and welcomed him home a few days after he flew back in.  Kansas City was home.  My mail was sent there,  I lived at my mom’s place, and my driver’s license proclaimed that my address was there; it was irrefutably my home.

Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter
Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter

In 2012 we got engaged.  He was resting for a year, studying for OCS Seniors, and putting the muscle back on that he had lost at OCS Juniors.  My home was in Liberty.  I paid rent there, my fiance called it “Brittany’s house” when talking to other people about where he was, and I was buying kitchenware and the like to try and make it “mine”.  Although it was a suburb of the city where I had lived my entire life, it was still definitely my home.

Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter
Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter

The year went by quickly, and before we knew it, it was the summer of 2013: time for OCS Seniors.  Saying goodbye was infinitely more difficult this time than it had been back in 2011.  I wasn’t saying goodbye to a friend, I was saying goodbye to my best friend and future husband.  I stubbornly held him in my arms, planting a disgusting amount of kisses all over him before unwillingly allowing him to leave me.

We wrote letters, I drew him little cartoons, and he called me every Saturday and Sunday after the first three weeks.  I had a big dry-erase board on my refrigerator counting down the days until I would see him again.  This time, I was going to drive the 1000+ miles to watch him graduate, and I tried to distract myself with the planning.  “Okay, did I print my hotel confirmation?  Where’s my packing list?  Has his graduation gift arrived in the post yet?  For f***’s sake, I still have x amount of days to go!”

Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter
Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter

Finally, the day had come.  I drove 17 hours straight through eight states to my hotel.  The next day, his parents (who had flown out, obviously proving that older generally = wiser) called me, saying that they were driving to my hotel to pick me up and take me to see him on base.  It was Family Day, and we could spend the next six or so hours with him.  I got a call from room service after a bit, with the desk attendant saying that someone was there to see me.  I grabbed my purse and rushed down the stairs, my throat dry and my heart full.  Halfway down the staircase, I saw him.  He was standing alone in the lobby, with the biggest smile stretched across his handsome face.  It was like something straight out of a movie…  I ran to him, beaming, and landed exactly in the right spot; my head tucked under his chin, lips grazing his collarbone, fingertips pulling his shoulder blades into me as if we could never be close enough.  That is home to me.  Nothing in my life has ever been as clear as that moment.

Sitting here writing this over a year and half after that day, it still holds true.  We are not living in KC.  We are without our family and the friends we’ve known for years.  All we have is each other.  And really, isn’t that what marriage is about?  Being with your best friend, no matter the time, place, or situation?

On the nights his training pulls him away from me for awhile, I’m reminded that homesickness can happen for a person just as much as for a hometown.  That feeling like you’re displaced; like you’re in a part of the world that you wouldn’t otherwise choose for yourself.

At the same time however, I must remind myself that I did indeed make this choice.  It was 100% my decision to uproot myself and follow my husband wherever he may lead me (or wherever the Marine Corps may lead him).  I have no obligation to be where I am today.  But then of course, I also do.  In my mind, there isn’t really an option to go back to Kansas City.  It isn’t my home anymore.  My friends may be there, spare bedrooms awaiting, my family may be anxiously asking about “coming home”, but all-in-all, it doesn’t matter what zip code is on my ID.  No matter which city I’m in, I’m home as long as he’s with me.

Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter
Personal Photo/ Brittany Twenter


Welcome Aboard: Living with Alcoholic Parents

shelby thompson block

Growing up, everyone has problems. Granted, some are worse than others, but everyone has their own demons to keep them up at night.


I was forced to grow up rather quickly because both of my parents are alcoholics.There were many times when I had to be the adult in the situation. Like on my 15th birthday, watching my dad get dragged off in handcuffs for getting his 9th DWI. Or when I was trying to get some sleep for school on Monday, but my mom called me at 2am because she crashed her car and needed me to go pick her up. It really sucks, because when you are little your parents are supposed to be there for you. You think that they are always going to be there to help you if you need it, and they are going to walk right beside you and teach you right from wrong. As a child you don’t plan on your parents leaving you and having to teach you these lessons from behind bars, and you never imagine that you will see them break. I’ve seen the breaking point of both my parents, and those were the worst days of my life.

Dont Like It

I have always been a “daddy’s girl”.  He has always been my best friend. He used to get me whatever I wanted, we went everywhere together, and we always had so much fun until he would get sent back to prison (which wasn’t a rare occurrence). I will always love him with all my heart, but there eventually came a time where I realized that he is not as good of a father as I had made him out to be. He isn’t here for me when I need him the most. He may be just a phone call away, but that is a call I have to wait for since you can’t call into a prison.

Since my dad was always gone I resided in my mother’s house. Up until recently, she denied having an alcoholic’s behavior, but after recent events and being evaluated by a professional, she has since updated her thought process.  I have been forced to move out of her house due to the circumstances.  (I will definitely be sharing these crazy stories, but I will save them for another day.)

Growing up not knowing if one of your parents was going to make it home one night because they decided to drive home drunk kind of forces you to have an optimistic attitude. Hope for the best but expect the worst is my life motto. If I would have sat in my room and made myself sick by thinking about what COULD have happened, I would be a miserable person.



I couldn’t do that. Even though my dad wasn’t always around, he always made sure to remind me that I needed to be a happy person because I had so much to be thankful for. And I really do. I don’t live in a mansion or drive a Mercedes Benz, but at least I am alive and healthy. I have tons of people around me who love me and support me more than I probably deserve, and I am very grateful for that because sadly, not everyone can say that.

This is my life. Welcome aboard.



Editor’s Note:  If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with alcohol/ substance abuse, please visit for information on where to find help.


The 5 Golden Rules of a Great Relationship

amy byrne block

Relationships may be full of “movie moments”, but by no means are real relationships as perfect as you or Richard Curtis would like them to be. No, sir. Because life in movies is all blinding white teeth and endless costume changes, doors flung open right on cue, and kissing in the rain. In real life, people are crooked and strange and three-dimensional, doors never open at the right time, and kissing in the rain just makes your mascara run. Boo.

Real life relationships are full of petty arguments and watched clocks. Real life relationships sometimes mean sleeping with your back to one another; they mean PMS, TMI and unscripted DMCs. But they are also infinitely better than watching two impossibly perfect, half-baked characters smooch as the credits roll. Because they belong to us, and — in the right partnership — they add a whole extra, wonderful dimension to our lives.

Personal Photo/ Amy Byrne
Personal Photo/ Amy Byrne

There is no guarantee that any relationship is going to work, but setting the right conditions helps enormously. Here are AHW’s five golden rules of relationship etiquette; feel free to carve them into stone, proclaim their divinity, and/or repeat them with your S.O. on a daily basis.

… Or just, y’know, practise them.


  1. Be rational. Learn to articulate your troubles without passive-aggressive eye-rolls and name-calling. Learn to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and think — really think — what he or she is getting at. By all means argue, but learn to argue well. The key word with relationship rationality is “learning”: it’s often the hardest part. But once you figure out how to stand back and assess a situation objectively without flying off the handle, you’ve essentially cracked the secret code to a successful relationship. Boom.
  2. Be grateful. Gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving! My mother-in-law famously said that there are two things you can never say enough: “thank you”, and “I love you”. Start being grateful for all the little things your partner does, notice them and tell them so. Those little messages, the cuddles in bed, that times he bought you take-out because you didn’t feel like cooking, the cheap Chipotle dates where you laugh so much that guac snorts out of your nose: say “thank you” for those things and really mean it. Tell your S.O. that you’re grateful for their presence in your life. The power of positive affirmation is greater than you think.

    Personal Photo/ Amy Byrne
    Personal Photo/ Amy Byrne
  3. Be honest. You might hide the whole truth because you think it’ll make your partner’s life easier, but being honest and open with each other about the way you feel is crucial. Do you feel like you’re being spoken down to, are you worried about your partner’s relationship with someone else, or are you just sick of dirty clothes lying all over the floor? Say something! If you leave the small issues for fear of not wanting to start an argument, your frustrations will only blow up into something more serious in months or years to come. It’s possible to raise issues and handle them in a mature and reasonable manner though … Refer back to Rule #1!
  4. Be loving. My husband and I joke about those tacky mantra canvasses that seem to be the cornerstone of the Target home decor section, but in all seriousness: you need love and laughter in a relationship, or what are you left with? Don’t be afraid of saying “I love you” — and often. Go to bed at the same time and fall asleep together. Hold hands. Have pun wars. Have sex, lots of sex! Understand what you can do to make your partner feel loved; sometimes the biggest gift you can give is quality time, and other times it’s a kind word or a soft touch. Be sensitive to that. Develop loving habits that suit the pair of you, working on what you both want and ignoring what you’re told to want. Make that — and only that! — the basis of your relationship. And never go to bed angry.

    Personal Photo/ Amy Byrne
    Personal Photo/ Amy Byrne
  5. Be selfless. Remember: you’ve made a commitment (whether it’s legally binding, or simply an implied sense of fidelity) to another person and, therefore, you should be absolutely committed to putting your significant other’s needs and desires at least on par with your own, and treat them with equal importance. This doesn’t mean giving up your own identity, but simply learning to care unconditionally for your main squeeze without resentment. Occasionally it will feel like an effort, and other times it will seem natural; if this feels like a constant struggle, maybe it’s time to reassess your priorities.

Growing Up Adopted

moira carder block

Growing up with the family who chose you is a lot different than growing up with the family that gave you up. Scientific facts show that the emotional connection between the heart and soul of the mother and child start the second the baby is held by the mother. You begin to build trust, endless love, and an emotional connection with them. If you are adopted, you frankly are given up, taken away, and you miss the importance of that connection. I knew growing up that I was adopted. When I became a teenager, I became curious about my birth family. I did searches on Google and different databases to see if I could figure anything out on my own. It’s kind of an awkward conversation to have with your parents, but when I finally asked, I was told my birth parents had died in 2002.

As you hit certain parts of your life, you start to notice that you don’t look like the people around you, you don’t act like the people around you, and you feel more isolated than other kids do with their families. Teenage years are the hardest, because the years of “finding yourself” are all about finding the things inside that make you who you are. But you can’t just look at the family around you to see who you get it from. I think for me, growing up knowing that my birth parents didn’t want me makes me a little more uneasy when people leave my life or move on to bigger and better things. Being an adopted kid has instilled a fear of loss in me because I don’t always have the best self-worth that everyone else has.

Sadly, it is a proven fact that the child abuse rates in children who are adopted are significantly higher than kids who are not adopted. A lot of the time it’s because the parents have certain goals and expectations for their adopted child as they grow into a person. If a child fails to meet these expectations or turns out differently than they had planned or wanted, some adoptive parents aren’t always happy, and tend to act out in more severe ways than they would with a natural child of their own.
Adopted children may also suffer from a loss of access to important medical or genetic family histories. This makes it very difficult to live without fear of living a shorter life due to things you’re at risk for. It makes a visit to the doctor’s office awkward as well. They ask about family medical history, and you have to sit there and be reminded that you’re different from everyone else. Although adoption agencies try to gather all medical records, it is nearly impossible to get it from all of your birth family.
Growing up adopted really helps you find the person that you want to be. You don’t have to be a certain person, and you definitely don’t have to be like everyone else. I feel special knowing that I’m a different color than all the other crayons in the box. Life definitely isn’t easier this way, and I’ll always be asking questions, but I’ll always know that I have God, and He has everything happen for a reason. I’ve been blessed with an amazing brother, loyal friends, and a future that is all mine. My world may not look much different from the outside, but it’s a black and white world to me.