Christina over at Married to a Sailor is having a contest for mil spouses, and I thought I’d join in because it involves 2 of my favorite things: writing and military spouses. Your mission if you choose to accept it: write a blog post about what being a military spouse means to you. The contest closes tomorrow night, so go visit Christina and start writing! Here’s my entry…
Being a military spouse means different things to different people. Some spouses love their lifestyle and the experiences the military has offered them. Some spouses hate it and count the days until their husband’s return to civilian life. Where do I stand? I’m somewhere in the middle. And my answer will vary from one day to the next.
I haven’t always been a military wife. My husband and I shared 2 years together before the military jumped into the mix and turned our simple marriage upside down. When my husband’s military career began, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and if he knew, he didn’t share that knowledge with me. But despite my cluelessness, I dove headfirst into this new adventure. At the time, my husband was ambivalent about his career path, and I desperately wanted to escape a city I despised. We were stuck, undecided. And then the military swooped in and started making the decisions for us. That was fine by me.
Although nowadays I’m not always as enthusiastic about the major life decisions the military makes for us, we are still following the path it creates for us. I married the military 8 years ago, and during that time, I have both loved it and hated it. Because of my second marriage, I’ve had the exceptional opportunity to live overseas, form lifelong friendships, and discover my inner strength. But I’ve also had to endure the challenges of single parenting, the postponement of my own career, and lengthy and sometimes unexpected separations from my husband. Over the years, I’ve often wondered if I’d do it all again, if I’d so willingly marry the military if I knew then what I know now.
So what does my role as a military spouse mean to me?
It means I’m perpetually trying to find a balance between 2 opposing forces. I have to be flexible yet prepared. Adventurous yet practical. Adaptable yet grounded.
It means I’m a mother, but I’m also a father.
It means I have to be the strength for my family, yet I have to learn how to ask for help.
It means I may not have a career until my husband’s is over.
It means I may never know where home is.
It means I sometimes celebrate holidays and milestones without the one person with whom I most want to celebrate.
It means I have to be supportive even when I don’t want to be.
It means that most people will never understand me or my life.
It means I’m married, yet I’m often alone.
It means my closest friends aren’t close at all, but scattered all over the world.
It means I am considered a Dependent, yet I am forced to be independent.
But most of all, it means that I am an indispensable part of my husband’s proud service to our country. And in some small way, that means I am proudly serving our country as well.
So knowing what I know now, would I do it all again? Absolutely. Without a doubt. In a heartbeat. Yes.