When They Miss Stuff
Your service member doesn’t have to be deployed to miss stuff. This can happen at any time. Maybe they have a school to go to, maybe they have extra training to attend, maybe they have a 24 hours CQ. As military spouses, we get used to this…sort of.
We know they can’t be there for everything, we even know that had they not joined the military, their civilian careers could keep them from missing things too. If we are a national guard or reserves spouse, we already know that from experience.
When they miss stuff, we still get frustrated about it.
When they miss that first day of kindergarten, and you have to video chat with them about how it went later on.
When they miss driver’s training, and you wonder why you, the more paranoid parent has to be in charge of this.
When they miss your 30th birthday, and you know, even if you celebrate later, it won’t be the same.
Sometimes they will miss things, and it won’t bother you at all. You are used to doing this type of stuff alone. Have they ever been able to attend a parent-teacher conference? No, you simply stopped expecting that once your child got into the 4th grade.
But still…there is a part of you that wishes they didn’t have to miss so much.
There is a part of you that wishes that you didn’t worry so much that they will miss you son’s high school graduation, or sending your daughter off to college. That they would never have missed a birth, the first steps, or the first words.
That there would have been some way for them to serve in the military, and not miss anything important.
But you know that isn’t the world we live in. You know you have to do so much of this alone, even if your civilian friends never have to. You know this is just part of the military life.
You do what you can to include your spouse. You send them photos, and videos, and try to tell them about the event as best as you can.
You hope and pray that they will be there the next time.
That although they missed your 1st son’s birth, they will be there for your second. That even though they missed your 10th anniversary, that they will be there for your 15th. That even though they missed one birthday, they would be there for the next one.
We find military spouse friends that understand what we go through. Those who also potty trained alone, and started solids alone, and did so much of the early baby years without a partner in the house.
We connect with others who know what it can be like to assume that their spouse will be there for something and then at the last minute find out they won’t be. It would have been better to think they couldn’t come in the first place.
We have had to change birthday party dates, paid extra to change flight tickets, and even postpone weddings because they had to do something military related. We get frustrated, but we do what we have to do. We make the best of the time we have together and hope they will be around more than they are apart.
You miss things because sometimes you simply can’t be in the same place at the same time.
You have to decide which kid will have to go without, or who will have to deal with the disappointment of their mom or dad missing one more thing. You have to work to help your kids through the loss because they often don’t understand why their military parent had to miss something so important.
You listen to people say that parents need to be there for this, that and the other. But you know that your spouse had to be gone during that time, and there was nothing you could do about that. You make the best of that loss; you hope your kids will be okay and move on because dwelling on the fact that they were not there for the first few months of your daughter’s life, isn’t going to do anyone any good.
As a military spouse, you know your spouse will miss stuff. More than their fair sure. You do what you can to include them; you do what you can to stay strong, even if you want them there more than anything else.
You make things work because you have to, and you want to support your service member through this life they have chosen, through the good and the bad.
What has been the hardest thing for your spouse to have missed because of military life?