You can’t believe it is happening. Your spouse joined the Army. This is going to be their career. So many people have told you how scary military life is going to be, but all you can think about is that he is finally living his dream and that you want to be there with him as he moves forward with this career change.
You wonder about what this means for you. You wonder how about your life will change. You wonder how the next few years will be.
Your spouse gets their orders, overseas, how did we get so lucky? What will living overseas really be like? Will I enjoy living there as much as I think I will?
Finally, the day arrives, you say goodbye, you are not sure how you are going to make it through these months apart. You hope you will only be apart a month or two. So many worries going through your head.
How will you solo parent your toddler? Right now that seems impossible. How will you be both mom and dad to him? When you depended on your husband for so much ever since your son was born.
And time passes, and you think you have this military thing figured out. But deep down you know there is so much ahead for you. For both of you.
And more time passes, and he is still over there in Germany and you are still in the US waiting with your young son. And you have to wait some more, Christmas comes and goes and you are still waiting. Waiting on what? Paperwork of course.
And your birthday passes, and Easter is right around the corner. You start to feel like you might never join him. And then, you hear the news, everything has been approved and it is your time to go. The paperwork has finally be done, and you are approved to actually live with your spouse again.
After all that waiting and now all of a sudden you find yourself on an airplane, headed for your future, whatever that might be. What will it be like to be a military spouse? What will it be like to go through a deployment? So many questions go through your mind.
But then, your PCS is over, you have unpacked and are trying to find your way in a new community. You are trying to figure out where you belong. You always wanted to be a SAHM, and now, here you are.
And then the deployment orders come. You knew they would. You knew that is apart of the deal. But you are not ready, how could you be? How could you truly ever be ready to send your spouse to war?
You make friends, other military spouses who get it. You know you can get through this deployment together. You know you can handle whatever comes your way.
But you are pregnant again, and he might miss the birth. They told you they will send him back, but will they? Can a family member come out to help? Can you really give birth without your husband by your side?
And they don’t send him home in time, just three days too late. But you handle it, your mom was able to be there with you, and get your through. You conquered yet another scary thing. One of many that comes with military life.
He comes home for R&R. To be with you, your toddler and your new baby. You have an amazing time. But of course, the time flies by. Why can’t the deployment do the same?
He says goodbye, he goes back to Iraq, where he has been. Only a few more months, you can do this. You have done a few months before. One last kiss, one last hug.
And then months go by, but the end isn’t in sight like you thought it would be. Extensions are happening, the Surge, this will be a longer deployment than you first thought.
He won’t be back when you thought he would be. He will miss more birthdays. He will miss more milestones. Will your boys even remember him?
But eventually, after all this waiting, he is home, in your arms. Just in time. In time for another birthday, in time for Christmas, in time to enjoy life.
You are so thankful. He made it home. Not everyone did. You know this all too well.
And so life goes on, and you enjoy your time together. You move somewhere new, your boys get a little older, and you make new friends. And now, 365 days later, you are doing this deployment thing all again.
Saying goodbye, hoping and praying he returns. Being a solo parent. Depending on friends. Taking the deployment day by day.
And so your military life journey goes. From deployment to PCS. From making friends to saying goodbye to them. To the frustrations, to the moments you never would have had if he had never joined.
You married a soldier. A man who serves. He is willing to put on the uniform, to say goodbye to everyone he loves, to put himself in harm’s way.
And all these years later, you can’t believe what you have gone through. You can only look back and remember what you have learned. Through every deployment, every time apart.
And you hope that in the future, you can be just as strong. That you can help others get through their own military journeys through your words. That you can make a difference in the world and can be there for your boys, for your husband and everything that comes your way.
This is my military spouse journey, which may be a bit different than yours. Maybe you haven’t been through a deployment yet, maybe you have never been overseas. Maybe you kick solo parenting in the butt, and maybe solo parenting is the hardest thing you have ever had to do.
When your spouse joins the military, or when you marry them if they are already in, you are crossing over to a different type of life. You will experience things you never would have otherwise, both good and bad. You will learn from what you go through, and figure out ways to help others that come after you.
As a military spouse, you are a part of history. A part of the many men and women who have come before you and who will come after you. A part of something that can sometimes be hard to describe to other people.
While wars might look different, while times will change, one thing is always true…the military spouse life is a journey. One to love at times, one to hate at times, and one to embrace, with everything you’ve got.