When I was a growing up, I said I’d never marry a first responder or a military guy.
Why you ask? I didn’t want to have to open that door one day to be told I’m a widow. It might sound pretty shallow or petty. I realized as I got older and wiser that, well, anyone had a chance of that happening…
Then, I met him.
No one had prepared me for the day I fell in love with him. We dated through six deployments, which piggy-backed over a period of four years. Yes, six deployments in four years. During that time, I was never able to go to spouse meetings. It felt like I never knew which was right side up. I remember getting calls at 3-4 a.m., having to sit up in my bed in the dark to stay awake while “talking about our days.” Though he often couldn’t disclose what he had done, where he was, or for that matter, exactly when he was coming back. It was generally about me, and how tired he was. It wasn’t always the easiest. He always promised me that he’d never go more than 6 days without calling. Those were the LONGEST 6 days at a time, and for some deployments it was all I had.
Then the day came when we finally got engaged, which meant his command considered me close enough to attend the spouse meetings. Time passed and I became his wife. It was summer of 2010, and I was in New York visiting my aunt during her cancer treatment and my phone rang while he was out on deployment. A woman has gut feelings, and this caller ID didn’t give me a good feeling. It was local and from the command. I was told “there have been casualties, and we are calling to confirm that he’s ok, but there will be a lock down of all communication until all families are contacted.” SCARIEST. CALL. EVER. And one I hope I never get again.
My husband has lost so many friends during our history together and even before us. Our holiday dinner grace always include those dear friends and their families, and a generally happy day, just for a moment, turns into a very solemn table but makes us all grateful for the hands we are still holding.
Being a military spouse isn’t easy.
We have to deal with the fact that our active duty spouse is OWNED by the United States of America. The government says “JUMP” and they say “HOW HIGH SIR?” It means we often get to play Mom AND Dad, taking care of daycare drop offs, doctors appointments, boo-boo’s, all the bathtimes, book times and bad dreams. Pretty much single parenthood, but with a spouse REALLY there… just not “present.” Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me saying “our life is harder than yours.” I’m just simply saying “I get it”—it’s not easy. And WHOEVER you are traveling through life, military or not, you deserve to hear “job well done!”
However, this message is directed to my fellow military spouses….
I want you to know, you are not alone.
There are so many of us that need that pat on the back. We sometimes don’t get it as often as we need. Life can feel so overbearing when your spouse is deployed. When you’re chasing after your little ones or when she wakes up every morning and asks “where’s Daddy?” and every day it’s the same answer (“baby, Daddy is at work”), knowing at 5 p.m. they aren’t coming home.
But look at what you’ve accomplished!!!! YOU’RE DOING IT. Every morning you’re waking up and doing it all over again…and SUCCESSFULLY!!! I’m so honored to be considered a part of the “spouses” club.
BE STRONG. BE INDEPENDENT. TAKE EVERY DEPLOYMENT WITH POSITIVITY.
Your spouse is SERVING OUR COUNTRY. It’s such an AMAZING job. You should not only be proud of your spouse, but proud of yourself! YOU are sacrificing yourself, your family to stand next to someone who’s prepared to give their life for our country. What an absolute amazing family to be a part of. YOU’RE the glue that keeps things together. And I just want to take a moment to say
Just another military wife,