How Does She Do That?
An interview with Pamela Brummett, wife of Kevin, and mother to three children. Living next to this woman was an inspiration, and an encouragement during some dark times. In this interview, she gives answers to what values she and Kevin have held to and instilled in their children in order to raise them to be successful, respectful, and compassionate.
Blackout was over, and I arrived home from Gold Star homes exhausted. Eight casualties had taken everything out of me and I went home to hug my children. Saying little, I called my neighbor Pam, our “neighborhood den mother”, and she immediately responded, “We’ll be right there.” Within ten seconds, her three elementary school children were busy sweeping my floor, dusting, washing dishes, and taking my children upstairs to play while she sat with me on the couch. That wasn’t the first time her family amazed me. During the heavy snows of Colorado, I would look out my window to see her 10 year old shoveling driveways for the spouses of deployed soldiers. One of my favorite stories was her recounting confronting an army wife at a movie theater obviously with someone other than her spouse. “You are ruining it for the rest of us!” she told them both. “You are making a huge mistake you will regret for years. Quit it, and go home.” I think she became my hero and my husband was definitely glad to have her on my friend list.
Titus 2 defines a mentoring woman as someone who stays busy at home, self-controlled, pure, kind, and a helpmate to their husband. That can be difficult to live up to, but after “sitting at the feet” of these women, we might just find ourselves paying it forward later. Spending time with the Brummett family, one quickly realizes they are the real deal. Pam and Kevin have been married for 17 years and have three children, Toby now 15, Cody (13), and Kaylee (10). Kevin enlisted into Active Duty Army in 1994 and after OCS, 8 PCSs, and 10 deployments, they are currently stationed in Lafayette, Louisiana. They humor their way through deployments, have a devoted marriage, stay actively involved in the children’s lives, and are constantly serving others. I thought I would share some of her wisdom.
Pam, how have you kept your sanity during the instability of military life?
When it comes to the familiar question, “how do you do it”, she laughed that she apparently missed “Option Day” when you’re offered a choice. “You just move forward, even if you don’t want to. You will go crazy worrying about what only God can control. God tends to remind me to either wait, or be responsible for what I already have. When it comes down to it, we are all together, clothed and fed, the kids are okay, and everything else will work out.”
Pam described dealing with various housing arrangements, sizes of homes, location to post, and school systems as challenging. Never promised the best, her family works together to make it “home”. It is with this positive attitude that she paints almost every home, throws extra into storage if necessary, and reminds her family that at least they are together no matter where they are.
How in the world have you developed such amazing kids??
“Teaching respect is a process, but it is something we have modeled and expected from the beginning.” The kids are encouraged to engage in extracurricular activities (boy scouts, swim team, etc) and daily chores to serve the family. “Rules and boundaries are an unavoidable part of life. After deciding that we didn’t want sassy, disrespectful children, I committed to replacing “no” with why I am saying they can’t do something. With each situation they are encouraged to make a decision based on their Christian values.” The Brummetts are committed to serving as a family. If they are fixing up furniture together for another military family, the children are told why.
During deployment, Pam and Kevin try to make the transition seamless. The family talks over the upcoming changes with appropriate honesty. Kevin is intentionally kept in the loop as much as possible and delivers discipline and praise over Skype. “When the kids were young, Kevin would miss important times when rules were caught and milestones reached by the kids. Changes happen during his absence, but we respect each other by being flexible. There were times when I had to respectfully pull him aside and let him know what had changed, yet not overwhelm him with all of it at once.”
Speaking of Kevin, how would you encourage other military marriages to stay connected?
“Divorce has never been an option for us. When you take that out of the equation, you work harder. We make sure to communicate what is going on in each of us and realistically understand there will be rough times. We have always been open to counseling for the times when we need a third party to help us.”
“Finally, I would encourage spouses to anticipate changes in you and your spouse over the years (and deployment). Embrace the changes and grow closer together.”