“SJ has some advantages that a child who maybe doesn’t have ties to the military may not have,” said Lt. Col. Tasha Lowery, who instinctively smiles whenever she mentions her son. “We like to highlight the benefits of being able to move and see different things and meet new people … this is our life in the Army after all.”
Life in the Army started long ago for the Lowerys. Life in the military started in the Marine Corps Reserve for Tasha. She enlisted in 1999 out of Blackstone, Virginia, and decided to cross over to the Army in 2002. A Bend, Oregon, native, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Shawn Lowery entered military service in 1996.
The couple met at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where as luck would have it, they deployed together soon after. A relationship blossomed for the two during this time. Shortly after the couple tied the knot, they would welcome their son Shawn Jr. the following September.
A child changes the dynamic of all relationships, but for a dual military couple, the change can be a bit different. The Lowerys are in a unique position, both being in command positions.
Tasha serves as the commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. Shawn is the special agent in charge for the Criminal Investigations Division, Fort Hood.
“In command, a lot of the time it’s 90 percent work and 10 percent Family,” Tasha said of her experience as a mother in charge of the battalion. “Both Shawn and I both knew this would be the case being in positions of command, and I think SJ understands that as well.”
With such a high demand career field and even more demanding positions, the Lowerys insist on making the time they do have with their son mean the most.
“The quality of time becomes more important than the quantity,” Shawn explained. “We make sure to make all the time we do get to spend as a Family, and especially with SJ, count so that he can have these special memories.”
The juggle of time spent at home and balancing their work lives was a learning process, made easier by Tasha’s mother, Lucy Jones, who they both refer to as the glue.
“We are beyond fortunate to have her live with us,” Shawn said. “There is no way that everything would flow as smoothly as it does without her, she makes all the difference.”
Through five permanent changes of stations, missions, trainings and several late nights, Jones has been at the helm helping make life easier for everyone in the Family.
“The only time that I wasn’t with them was when they deployed to Germany,” Jones said. “But when they came back, I moved with them. From the time he was born, minus a year, I’ve been here.”
The Family recognizes that their experience with having a military child is not the same as everyone else’s and admitted that they have been fortunate to not have had to deploy since their son was born.
“We have not had to experience that part of the dual military parent life yet,” Shawn said. “The last time I had to be away was when I went to school and he was two. It was easy then because he didn’t miss me. Now it would be a different story.”
While there is no road map for parents raising children in the military, Jones offers some words of encouragement.
“Reach out for support. Don’t be afraid to say I need help. Community means everything,” she said.
The sacrifices that all men and women in uniform make is apparent in the sometimes numerous deployments, long work days and late nights, and moving to new locations and starting over. Their children also must adjust to these lifestyle changes, but there are benefits that they get to experience as well.
“He’s resilient and gets to meet different types of people everywhere he goes,” Jones said. “I think it’s an experience that grows maturity because they have to learn to adjust because every couple of years we’re moving. That’s something that’s really important, learning to adjust to different circumstances, different people and different places.”