Have you seen these amazing photos circulating on Facebook of Carlee, an Army wife, who went on a Valentine’s Day date with a 6 1/2 foot tall teddy bear that her deployed husband sent her?!?
Well, I saw them and I just had to know more! Who was this girl? What made her decide to do this? And how did she get the guts to actually go through with it?
So I sent her a Facebook message letting her know that I would love to talk with her. I wasn’t sure how she would respond or if I even would get a response.
As it turned out, though, I didn’t have to wait very long for her reply. And the response I got completely blew me away!
You see, I didn’t recognize her name at first, but Carlee informed me that she had received one of the personalized care packages from my Military Spouse Ministry. Here’s what her message said:
I am sitting here in tears because you have no idea how much that means to me! You see, when my husband first deployed, a friend sent me a link to Servant Mama and said I should apply for a military spouse care box. I thought the idea was sweet and the prayers were much appreciated but I honestly didn’t hold my breath to receive any such box. At the perfect time (all thanks to God) a few months later a box arrived for me from one of your wonderful volunteers, filled with prayer and love from a servant’s heart. It touched me so deeply and I will never forget it. I would love for you to share my story!
Oh, how I love watching God at work!
So the next day, Carlee and I chatted on the phone. And I found out that this beautiful story started long before those fun Valentine photos were ever taken!
Carlee and her husband Adam have known each other their entire lives. In fact, their moms were friends and went to the same Bible study together while they were pregnant with Carlee and Adam.
I know- it’s so precious!
Carlee and Adam became close friends and Sundays became their special day together. They would always go see a movie, even if there wasn’t something playing that they really wanted to see. Then they would go eat at their special place, The Black Bear Diner, where they each ordered the same thing every time: fish and chips for Adam and chicken and waffle for Carlee.
Carlee and Adam finally began to date officially and he left for boot camp just three weeks later.
Boot camp lasted a lot longer for Adam than it did for most other people. He broke his foot and ended up having to stay for nearly eight months before he was able to graduate- poor guy! Carlee told me that it was during this time though that their relationship really deepened. It’s amazing what some old fashioned letter writing can do!
Carlee and Adam were married in March of 2016 and by the end of the year, he was gone on his first deployment.
Carlee says that during this deployment she has had “an unshakeable peace that can only be from God”.
She has also been blessed to have an incredible support system around her during this time. Although she doesn’t live on base or know many other military spouses, she’s thankful to have a neighbor across the street who’s husband is deployed with Adam.
Carlee also lives with her parents and that’s a big part of how this whole giant teddy bear thing got started.
You see, Carlee and Adam live in her parent’s garage. Obviously, this significantly limits the amount of space they have. Which is exactly why Adam thought it would be hilarious to send her the giant bear who came to be known as Roosevelt.
Adam sent Carlee Roosevelt as a combination of Valentine’s Day and anniversary gift since they will be celebrating their first year of marriage in just a few weeks.
As Carlee opened the box, the bear just seemed to grow bigger and bigger. It was love at first sight- Roosevelt, all 6 1/2 feet and 20 pounds of him, was the perfect gift!
As Valentine’s Day approached, Carlee was unsure of how she should celebrate the day. She spoke with her parents about it and explained that she didn’t want to spend the day sitting on the couch lonely, feeling sorry for herself, and eating a carton of ice cream.
So her dad she suggested she go a date with Roosevelt.
And that’s just what she did (after making some phone calls to make sure her special date would be acceptable, that is. Thankfully everyone she spoke with was happy to accommodate Roosevelt!).
Carlee says that she was so nervous that she was shaking. But she wanted to do this for her husband. She wanted him to be proud of how she spent her day.
The first place Roosevelt and Carlee went was to Black Bear Diner to share a huckleberry milkshake. Their milkshake was made extra special with the addition of whip cream, sprinkles, and a cherry, which isn’t typical there.
Their pictures were taken and their story was told numerous times. Carlee says the other guests seemed to find it amusing. She was just relieved to see they weren’t bothering anyone.
The manager of the restaurant came over to their table and thanked her and her husband for their service and sacrifice, which meant a lot to Carlee. The manager was also kind enough to let her know that her milkshake was on the house.
The waitresses checked on her constantly to ensure she was doing okay. Through her tears, she assured them that she really was alright.
The staff from the diner treated Carlee exceptionally well. They photographed the special occasion, gave her a berry cobbler to take home with her, helped her to the car, and even jumped her car for her when it wouldn’t start afterward.
After the car ordeal, Carlee and Roosevelt made it to their next destination- the movie theater.
Carlee says, “I took a deep breath. With my date riding piggy back, I sauntered through those doors, purchased my movie ticket, and left many people smiling as I fussed and fiddled to get Roosevelt into his seat”.
Roosevelt stayed for the entire movie and even stuck around to take part in Carlee and Adam’s special tradition of watching all the movie credits and saying the funny names aloud.
Once home, Carlee and Roosevelt watched the sunset, snuggled in their pajamas, and played some video games.
Carlee did all of this for her deployed husband. She wanted him to be proud of her. And I know that he is. In fact, we are all.
Carlee, you are an inspiration to military spouses everywhere. You showed us how to make the best of the situation before us, even when it isn’t ideal. Thank you, Carlee, for setting such an amazing example for all us!
PS- Click here to find out more about The Milspouse Ministry. You can volunteer to help send gifts or if you are a military spouse, sign up to receive your own. We are currently going through a transition process to become an official non-profit group, but we would love to add you to our waitlist! Add your name to my email list below to receive all the latest updates!