When someone joins the Military, they don’t sign up for 20 years right away. Usually they sign-up for 3-4 years and then re-enlist every 3-4 years for a while. They do eventually get to a point where they can re-enlist indefinite. But until that time they really do get a choice about if the Military is in their future or not. When my husband re-joined the Military in 2005, we told ourselves we would try it for three years and see how it goes. Despite a long 15 month deployment, my husband re-enlisted for 5 years in the Spring of 2009. We felt it was the right thing to do at the time.
Now we are getting closer to him having to make a decision about his future in the Army and we are finding it is not an easy decision to make. There are a lot of factors to consider. For one, can we as a family really keep going through deployments like we have been? This every year or even every other year thing is not good. It is possible that things will die down a bit and he won’t have to go as often in the future but I am not holding my breath.
We have our son to think about. How will Drew handle future deployments? How will I be able to stay strong acting as a single parent? The one thing that I felt during JRTC was that I need the support of my husband in dealing with our son. I can get all the outside support but when it comes down to it I need him. If he is overseas and I don’t really have much of a chance to communicate regularly with him, how will I be able to handle that? Would years of going through that tear me down?
Then there is the money issue. The Military is a steady paycheck with healthcare. My husband didn’t go to college and doesn’t really have another career waiting for him. He is in the Infantry and that is where he has all his training in. Should we give all that up to figure something else out? Ideally I would make a full-time income from home. That is the ideal and what I am working for. But what if I can’t do it? What if I fail at it? It would be a huge change for our family. For the past 8 years I have been the one to be in charge of the kids, the meals and the house. Right now it seems ideal but what if it really isn’t? What if having him home so much and having him take over everything I have been in charge of for years throws us for a loop?
There is so much to think about. So many pluses and minus on either side. I don’t want my husband to be in harm’s way. I don’t want him missing parts of my children’s childhood but what if staying in the Army is the best choice for him?