Maybe this was the plan. You would get married, and they would leave.
Maybe this was never the plan. You have been married for five years, and now they are going to join.
Whatever the case might be, saying goodbye to your spouse going off to basic training is a big deal, filled with so many different emotions.
You might be sad, even though this was something you wanted to do too.
You might be worried, knowing that eventually, they might have to go to war.
You might be anxious, having to be alone for the first time since you have been together.
All of these feelings are normal and expected. They come with sending a spouse or even a boyfriend or girlfriend off to join the military. This season in your life is going to feel pretty complicated, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
So, to the military spouse whose spouse just left for basic, to the military spouse whose husband just left for Fort Benning, to the military spouse whose wife just left for Fort Jackson…welcome to military life.
You, as a military spouse have started a new journey. One your friends and family might not totally understand. One you might not understand.
There will be lonely nights, but there will also be love letters.
There will be days when you can’t help but cry, but there will be days when you smile with pride when you first see your soldier in uniform.
There will be times when you question if you are cut out for this, and there will be days when you know in your heart you were.
As a new military spouse, everything can feel so overwhelming. What is DEERS? Where do you go to get your first ID? When will you see your service member again?
Know that you don’t have to know everything right away. I don’t even know everything after 14 years, and there is still so much I could learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, which can also be a great way to get to know other people.
Stay busy. Whether it is during basic training, AIT, or a future separation or deployment. Staying busy is going to be the key.
Make friends. Be friendly, and be open to meeting new people. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you are going to need friends in your new life.
If you are not near a duty station, join an online group, and then when you do get to your first duty station, make plans to get out there and get to know your new community.
Don’t be afraid to cry and let things out. Military life means you might have to do that sometimes. Military life means you might not be able to always keep it all together.
So, to the military spouse whose spouse just left for basic, try not to second guess your decision. The decision to follow the person you love through this new life. The decision to become a military spouse.
There will be times when you will step back with wonder of all you have seen and done since your spouse joined the military. There will be times when you can support other spouses because you have been through it too. There will be times when things don’t feel so new and so scary. I promise.
If you have children, military life means solo parenting and basic training might be your first taste of that. The idea of being both mom and dad, even for a few months can be completely overwhelming. You might never have had to solo parent before, not even for a weekend.
But you will find that you will figure out how to solo parent like a boss. You might have to throw out some of your ideas, you might have to change the way you do certain things, but you will figure out what works best for you and your kids.
That might be pizza nights every Friday with a neighbor and their kids. That might mean putting off potty training a few months until your spouse is back home with you. That might mean having to rely more on friends and family than you are used to.
Basic training is going to be your first experience as a military spouse. This season is going to be hard for both of you. Remember too, basic training is not the same as regular military life.
Once your spouse gets orders to their first duty station, you will be able to move there. Sometimes this can happen quickly, and other times, especially overseas, it can take more time. But once you get there and start to get settled, your life will feel a little more normal.
If they are not deployed, or away at training, they will probably go to work every day and be home at night. They should have weekends and holidays off, and sometimes even a three or four day weekend during the year. There will be family time and time to be a couple.
This will of course change if they do deploy or have to go away for training. You might also be apart before and after a PCS and CQ means 24-hour duty. Keep this in mind when they do leave for basic and you are feeling like you will never be able to see them again or that your life will never include anything normal again. That simply isn’t true.
So, to the military spouse whose spouse just left for basic…know, you got this.
However long they will be away from you, you got this.
However difficult this new military life journey may seem, you got this.
You are strong enough for this life, even if you have to take it one day a time. You are strong enough for when they are away at basic training, and any future deployment or separation. You are strong enough and you don’t have to go through this alone.