“I could re-join the Army,” he told me one day. We had been trying to figure out what he should do career-wise. What change he should make.
“Hmm…I don’t know about that,” I told him. “I’m not sure about that, we have a kid now.”
Back then, I couldn’t imagine a reality where I was home with my son and my husband was far away for months at a time. It just didn’t seem real. That type of life didn’t seem possible.
I laugh about that now. I think about all the solo parenting I have done over the years and what I thought was impossible, was very possible.
And that is one of the biggest things about military life. One of the biggest lessons you will learn. That you can do what you thought you couldn’t.
Maybe you will PCS overseas by yourself with a toddler, never having imagined that your first flight to Europe would look like that.
Maybe you will go through your first deployment in a brand new state, one you never thought you would ever visit, let alone live in, so many miles from home.
Maybe you will encounter the most difficult of days, and get through to the other side, wondering where you found the strength.
I strongly believe that through everything you go through as a military spouse, there will be a lesson there. Lessons you might not see right away. Lessons that might take some time to understand.
As hard as the deployments might be, you find ways to get through them. One day at a time.
You find your people, even if that takes longer than you would like. Even if that means having to say goodbye later on. You find people who will become your best friends, and you can go through this life together, even if you are miles away.
Even after 15 years, I still have my super frustrating days with the military. This summer, trips were canceled because of Guard duties. I kept trying to tell myself that this was all apart of this life, but doing that is easier said than done.
In between deployments, with no moves on the horizon, life can be pretty “normal” sometimes. You can get so used to military life just going along with your own life, without too many hiccups.
Your spouse gets home at a regular time, you enjoy the weekends together, and life just goes on. And then…orders come, or you hear rumors of deployments, and you are reminded that this is a military life. That you are a military family.
There is so much deployment advice out there. From staying busy to making friends, to trying not to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes all of that will work, and other times it won’t.
You might find yourself struggling more than everyone else. You might find yourself wondering how you can get through the next week of deployment, let alone the six months you have left. You can find yourself wishing for another type of life.
I get inspired by seasoned spouses. Those who have been doing this even longer than I have. They have so much wisdom for those of us in the weeds.
They have been there, pcsing with small children, back to back deployments, and always having to say goodbye to people they care about.
They have been there and can comfort and support when you are feeling down or unsure how the future will go.
Not everyone’s military journey looks the same. We all will go down different paths. But the military community is here for each other.
While not everyone you meet during this life will be supportive, I assure you most of us will be. We can lend a helping hand or a listening ear. We can tell you what worked for us, and what didn’t. And we can help each other through.
No matter how long you have been a military spouse, no matter how many deployments you have to go through or how many PCS moves you will make, remember, this is your military life.
This is the path you are on and you are stronger than you realize. You might not always feel that way, I certainly don’t, but time will show you that you are. The military life isn’t always easy, but it’s yours. Every step of the way.