Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Do you ever think you know what you are getting into?

Military Spouses old and new. We are all out there. We come from pretty much everywhere.  Some of us have been married to the Military longer than others. Some of us have been in the Service before.Whether you are a Navy, Army, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard spouse, we all have a common denominator. We are all in this special club of being married to a branch of the military. Sometimes it almost feels like a secret club, were we should have a password and a secret handshake. Why? We all know what its like to move every 3 years, We have dwelt with deployments, once in awhile we have to fill out the mother load of paperwork, we learn the lingo and we get used to military screwing up the best laid plans. We get good at being independent, even though our ID Card says Dependent. We are good at being planted anywhere, and getting to know the area with in a month.Most of all we are good at finding others who are rowing in the same boat as ourselves. Normally we start off the conversation like.. " Hey We were just stationed there." And with that some of the best friendships have been made..

Now I have been Married to the military for almost 11 years. And when I first married into it, I had no clue what I was getting into. Now I know there are spouses out there that know exactly what they are getting to, whether they have served themselves or have been a child of a military member. But there is a good percentage of us that have no clue. I was one of them. Now I was fortunate to have met a wonderful woman,who had been married to her Sailor since he enlisted. So here I was 11 years ago, a foreign National (I am Canadian), who fell in love with an American Sailor and living in England. This friend was my guiding light. She gave me the rundown on what it was like being married to the military.The Pro and Cons, the usage of Acronyms, the paper work and what it is like to have kids on military medical. And with all that said and done, I still married my sailor. Now the interesting thing about that was I thought I could handle all of this. Um no. The first deployment that I had to experience was a three weeker. You want to talk about a hot mess.. Yeah I was that gal. I have the "Holy Crap, how in the hell am I going survive without him for three weeks?!" mentality. Well I pulled up my socks, and did. And at the end of it, I thought.. "Ok, this isn't too bad.. "Hahahaha Life was indeed laughing at me.His next deployment after that was during September 11, 2001. You want to talk about Anxiety and a bitch slap of reality. It was one of the worst feelings. Not being able to reach him and yet here I am in a foreign country watching on the BBC the twin towers fall. It is times like these where friends are a godsend. My friend and I sat and watched everything on TV, feeling helpless, but also wondering what this meant for us. The attack on the US, meant our military was going to get called up to do the jobs they were trained to do. Who knew within the 11 years of my marriage, I would be saying goodbye too many times to my husband as he went off to fight the War on Terror.

I never imagined that I would have to deal with this. Neither did my friend. So who did I know would understand my fears and emotions about this? My grandmother. This woman married my grandfather right before he shipped off to the War in Europe. She knew exactly how I felt. But with the technology we have today, makes being a military spouse a cake walk compared to being a military spouse of yesterday. I can't even image being away from your spouse for 3 or more years, relying on hand written letters and the occasional phone call every couple of months. The not knowing if your loved one was still alive, barely alive and MIA. I can't even fathom that. So when this woman gave me advice, I damn well listened to her. 1) She is my Gram and 2) She has experience with dealing with the emotions of it all. I relied on the advice from my husband's Aunt who dwelt with her husband being gone during the Vietnam War. Again another woman who had experience. War never changes.

I guess what I am trying to say is whether you are a military spouse that is new to this way of life or you are weathered spouse that has seen it all. We can all learn from each other. We shouldn't take each other for granted. Whenever there is a new spouse on deck, that really doesn't know which end is up, help them out. We spouses need to help each other out, because in the end we are all rowing in the same boat.