When I say old, I don’t mean age…just the length of time I’ve known them. 🙂 This afternoon, one of my oldest friends and matron of honor (though she’s not at all matronly) moved into town with her husband and kids. Her husband got a job here recently, so it was a quick move and until a couple of months ago, unexpected. I’ve been slowly meeting new people since we’ve moved here, but it’s still a feeling of relief and happiness to know that I have people close by that I for sure can rely on. My husband’s ship is gearing up to start sea trials again…which means he’s going to be gone for weeks at a time up until his next deployment.
I chuckle now when I think about how many, many years ago I used to think it would be so romantic to be the wife of a service member. There’s something about a man in uniform, right? What was I thinking!? Yeah, there’s nothing romantic about it.
For example, moving from Florida to Virginia alone in my last trimester of pregnancy was hard. I was working full time, plus monthly obligations to the Army Reserve. I had to choose and secure our apartment long distance. Arrange for the movers. Clean our old apartment. If my husband had seen me almost 8 1/2 months pregnant, sorting through stored teaching supplies and military gear, lifting/carrying/dragging furniture to the dumpster, squeezing a solid wood desk in my compact car…he would’ve freaked out!
You have to be a strong, independent, committed woman or man to survive being the spouse of a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman. I’m leaving Coasties out, cause they don’t count. Just kidding, just kidding! The Coast Guard is very important too. I think. 😉
Anyway, what is incredible is that some women move across country alone and pregnant and have several older children with them. It was just me, and it was hard enough!
I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been deployed, and I’ve been the one home, waiting. They are both very difficult, in very different ways. Honestly, I think it’s harder to be the family member. In my experience, when you’re deployed, you have very specific responsibilities, and that’s all you have to worry about. You get in a rut. Someone cooked my food, cleaned my toilet, and even washed my clothes. I didn’t worry about paying bills. My parents back in the States had my power of attorney, and they paid any bills I had. They even filed my taxes. All that concerned me was my public affairs job, day in and day out.
When my husband was deployed, he did wash his own clothes, and he cleaned. But I paid all his bills. I deposited checks for him. I renewed his vehicle tags and base stickers. I took over all his responsibilities outside of the military. I basically ran the household, and I missed J terribly.
I don’t talk about all of this much, because I don’t want to make it seem like I’m just whining or throwing a pity part. That’s not my intention at all. I’m just thankful for the people in my life who I can rely on if I need help!
If you know someone who has a loved one in the military…show them support, because it’s far from easy.