When you choose to take on this lifestyle there are a lot of things that come with it. Something most people will never understand is that your definition of family changes. Family is no longer defined by blood but by the people who invest in your life. These are the people who stay in touch no matter how long its been since you have been “home”, the ones who ask how you are even when everything seems fine, and the ones who show up.

What I’ve come to learn is that next to my immediate family, military wives are quick to take on this role. I was skeptical at first but I think I speak for all of us when I say that it only takes one to change your mind, and maybe even change your life.

For me her name is Madison.

At our first duty station I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed  and ready for married military life. Before I had even arrived she had scoped me out. Seeing that I was transferring on a Facebook page she messaged me letting me know that she was excited to have a new friend and would love to meet up with me for lunch after I got settled. She will be the first to tell you that we are an unlikely pair. Madison was 20, married with a 1 year old (Reese), pregnant with another on the way (Rhett) and at this time babies were not even on my radar. I thought she was crazy and she thought I was strange. At any other time we probably would have crossed paths and continued on with our lives without ever thinking twice but God had a much bigger plan in mind for us.

Within the next few months we would make the 2 hour drive to each others homes every few weeks when our husbands were both gone and we slowly discovered how similar we were. I am convinced that what solidified our bond so fast was our love of Jesus and our mutual obsession for the Bachelor #SeanandCatherineforever. She would bring Reese to my house and I would bring Luna to hers, eventually I acquired a pack-n-play and she added a doggie crate to her decor. We would stay up late and watch movies, talk about where we our dream stations were and share our love for Jesus.

In normal military tradition when things go haywire or there is an emergency your husband is never home. I swear it happens EVERY time just ask any military spouse.(cue every military spouses “amen” here). So last year when Luna became incredibly sick of course Dean was on duty. Luna was and continues to be an incredible source of emotional support for me when Dean is away and I never knew I could love a dog in that way so when the vet told me that she needed surgery or she wouldn’t make it I was crushed. I had never been away from her before so driving home alone was awful. When Dean didn’t answer his phone my next call was Madison. I needed a friend and she was just that. She was there for me in one of the saddest moments of my life and i’ll never forget that.

Within the next month she was getting closer and closer to her due date and so the trips came to a weekly basis where I stayed for longer periods of time just in case! I even remember when her contractions started to come closer together and more intense because Luna wouldn’t leave her side. Luna even followed her into the bathroom when she had to pee.

THEN on March 11th at 8:22am while I was feeding Reese breakfast MY GODSON Rhett Acker Wilson was born!



When I brought Reese to the hospital to meet up with Madison and Cole I was so overwhelmed and proud of her and to this day I’m so glad I was able to be apart of Rhetts birthday.

God is sometimes funny in his plans, but its amazing to me how he knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Madison was the exact friend I needed in ways I never could have predicted. Still to this day she is a constant reminder to me that family is not defined by blood.

Most people know this but in addition to her accomplishments as a wife, a mother, daughter, and friend, she has also overcome a diagnosis of Leukemia once and she will do it again. In the midst of this sickness her faith is unwavering, and though she is the one with a worldly weight on her shoulders I am the one who is growing in my faith watching her live a life after Jesus, one full of immense strength and optimism. Im so grateful to have this example of joy in my life, and SO blessed that my godson has such a fighter for a mom. Even when her schedule is packed with doctors visits and kids to take care of she is constantly calling to check up on me. She always asks about my kids (dogs are kids right?), wants to know how Dean is adjusting to his new job and filling me in on how she’s feeling blessed that day. Have I mentioned how incredible she is? The ONLY time I have seen her southern sass come out was when her mom told her she was going to cook all paleo meals for her and she had to give up string cheese and chicken nuggets and she STILL called me to tell me that she felt guilty about being mad at her. [side note: Tracy you are amazing, no wonder Maddie is such a great mom]

Im looking forward to the day when this cancer is just a whisper of her story and we are sipping cocktails in the sun celebrating each others victories and laughing about how fun life is with our husbands.

“For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord’, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

To donate to Madisons Cancer fund choose any of the following links

To shop through her Stella and Dot fundraiser

To shop through her silent auction

To shop through her t-shirt fundraiser or to donate


One thought on “Madison

  1. Hi Kathleen and Dean. We are starting a website that will house a network of information for all coast guard families as they are preparing to PCS, or create their dreams sheets. It will have links to all forms, websites, etc. But we are also wanting to have blog posts about areas, and would like to have people go to the site, and add their “2 cents” about any particular unit/cutter, etc. We are trying to link fellow Coast Guard members and their families in the best way possible.

    I was wondering if you would be interested in having any of your blog posts attached to our site. I have read some of your content, and it seems as though it would fit perfectly. We would feature your blog of course, and have a link directly to you as well.

    Let me know what you think!

    Thanks so much,
    Melissa Cook


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