When my husband joined the Military in 2005, we had been married for a little over three years. We had a 13 month old little boy and we were trying to figure out what we should be doing with our lives. My husband had been in the Army before and knew it was something he could do. He didn't much like it the first time around but it thought that coming home to a wife and family would be much better then coming home to the barracks like he did before. We said we would give it three years and then decide what to do after that.
In 2009, after about 3.5 years of Army life, through a deployment and a half, he re-enlisted. We felt it was the right thing to do. He still wanted to stay in, I was fine with it too.
Now it is 2013 and for the last few years we have gone back and forth on it. A lot has happened since 2005 and we have been through so many ups and downs with the Military. Although I believe staying in the Military was a decision both of us had to make, if my husband really wanted to stay in and make it a career, I would support him.
However...he is ready to move on. He has started ACAP and we will be a civilian family again by the summer of 2014.
I am ready. I am a little scared but mostly ready. Ready to start a new chapter. Ready for a new type of life. We will be staying here in Tennessee, at least for the next few years. I would love to move back to the West Coast but it is a lot more expensive out there. We own a house we love here so we don't really want to leave right now.
We have a plan, we have a back up plan and we have some time to figure it all out.
I was telling my husband that 20 years from now we will look back on our life and remember our "Army years." The 8.5 years that we spent as a Military family. The deployments and struggles. The good times and the friends we made. Right now it feels like the Army is everything in our lives and it has felt that way for a long time. But in the end it will just be a short part of our lives. I am trying to remember that as we get ready for our 4th deployment.
Although he is getting out next year, he does have a deployment to get through. I see it as a huge mountain we have to climb to get to the other side. I worry about something bad happening when he is so close to the end. On the other hand, maybe knowing that when he gets home we will just a few months left of Army life will make it a little easier. I really don't know.
I think about how Baby J won't remember life as an Army family. My oldest two will but since he will only be 3.5 when Ben gets out, I doubt he will remember much about it. He will be the only one of our children to get a lot of time with Daddy in his preschool years. He will be the only one of our kids that never remembers missing his Daddy.
When my husband told me he was really getting out of the Army, I felt a big sense of peace. I am not really sure what after Army life will look like for us, but I am ready for it. I am so very ready to start a new chapter.