I am happy to have a guest post from Heather from HappyFitNavyWife.com.
Traffic on the freeway moved at a fair pace. As we headed north to Pennsylvania from Virginia (hoping to avoid the DC traffic snarl) I remembered a picture I’d seen on Facebook earlier in the day.
The instant I saw it, I had immediately wondered if Adam had seen it and how he felt about it. Now that he was sitting next to me in the driver’s seat, I asked, “Did you see that pic of your dad and brother?”
“Did it make you sad?”
His brother and dad stood proudly on the dock after a day of fishing of his uncle’s fishing boat. The both held up giant tuna fish they’d caught 40 miles off the Oregon coast. Adam is very close to his dad and brother, and I knew he would be bummed to miss out– again– on a special trip like this.
Sometimes the sacrifices of Navy life are hard to take. Maybe missing out on one or two things isn’t that bad, but over the years they add up.
This isn’t the first time Adam or I have missed out on family happenings:
Adam missed his brother’s wedding long ago (and apparently gave a very moving, tear-jerking video speech as best man).
My heart broke being on opposite coasts from my mom as she went through surgery & recovery for breast cancer.
Missing out is part of the deal when living on the other side of the continent.
But that fact doesn’t make it easier to take.
8 Simple Things That Motivate Military Members To Serve
So why does any Sailor, Soldier, Marine, Airmen or Coast Guardsmen make a commitment that rips them from family, sends them places they may or may not want to go, and controls their lives for a set period of time?
Every service member has his or her own motivation, and some may have many. Here are some motivations I’ve heard over the years, each one valid in its own right:
Pride in country- Love of the USA and all it stands for, from the American dream to all the freedoms we enjoy.
Chance to make a difference- Some people find the military as a way to do something meaningful and beyond themselves.
Retirement and providing for family- Though it can come at great cost, the benefits draw some to stay in 20+ years, knowing they can provide their families with healthcare and other privileges.
Job security- The unknown of civilian job security, lack of available jobs, and/or not knowing what they’d like to do for a next career impacts the decision to stay in for some.
See the world- Many love the idea of adventure, travel, and the unique opportunities and friendships the military can provide.
A response to world events- World events such as 9-11 can spur some to join. They want to be a part of resolving the conflict and bringing justice.
Vocational training- Some people join to get trained in their desired field, such as the medical field, law, and other needed skill-sets. They pay for their training with military service rather than cash.
Free education- Some join to cover basic college costs, whether via ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps), a service academy such as the Naval Academy or West Point, or through the G.I. Bill. As with the vocational training, they pay for the cost of education with their military service.
When I asked Adam if he was sad to miss the fishing trip, we were on our way to meet up with some long-time Navy friends. Adam met them while stationed on a ship in San Diego, and I met them both after we got married and moved to Rhode Island. We hung out a lot as couples while stationed in Newport, RI and kept up over the years.
We also had the chance to visit them in Hawaii twice was a treat– once it was just me and my then-5-month old during a deployment.
In Pennsylvania, we cherished our time catching up over BBQs, country farmers markets and a trip to the bakery.
Even though as a military family we miss out on many things, we have the joy meeting amazing people and having friends all over the map. Despite the sacrifices, we gain a lot. And I feel great pride watching my husband achieve his goals and gain fulfilment in what motivated him early on in his career.
Though we have those moments that we realize we’re missing out– again– I know if we had it all to do over again, he’d make the same decision to join… and I’d still marry him.
What did I miss? What motivates you and your service member?
Heather Goffrier is a Navy wife of 6 years and mom to a spunky 3-year-old girl. When not blogging over at HappyFitNavyWife.com, Heather enjoys Bible study with girlfriends, family adventures, and traveling as often as possible. She loves sharing about her experiences as a military wife & mom as well as her love of health. You can find Heather on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.