29 May 2010

The Military Wife

Once again, I'm slacking. The past few days have just been so busy. So here is another one that is not my own. It's a good one though.

Military Wife (Author unknown)

Moving... Moving... Lots of Moving.
Moving far from home.
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog -- all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house;
Moving curtains that won't fit;
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends;
Moving toward new friends;
Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.

Waiting... Waiting... Often waiting.
Waiting for housing.
Waiting for orders.
Waiting for deployments.
Waiting for phone calls.
Waiting for reunions.
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home, for dinner...AGAIN!

They call her "Military Dependent", but she knows better: She is fiercely In-Dependent.

She can balance a check book;
Handle the yard work;
Fix a noisy toilet;
Bury the family pet...
She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes;
Sell a house;
Buy a car;
Or set up a move... all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
She reinvents her career with every PCS;
Locates a house in the desert, the Arctic, or the deep South.
And learns to call them all "home".
She MAKES them all home.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty.
They leap into:
Career alternatives,
And friendships.
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short, but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:
They connect over coffee,
Rely on the spouse network,
Accept offers of friendship and favors.
Record addresses in pencil.

Military Wives have a common bond:
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands;
His commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a "JOB"
He has a "MISSION" that he can't just decide to quit.
He's on-call for his country 24/7.
But for her, he's the most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign:
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long- distance link to keep them informed;
the glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments:
She wants to wring his neck;
Dye his uniform pink;
Refuse to move to Siberia;
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days,
A travel brochure,
A long hot bath,
A pledge to the flag,
A wedding picture,
And she goes.
She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?
You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man,
who puts duty first,
who longs to deploy,
who salutes the flag,
and whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her military husband,
She will remain his military wife.
And would have it no other way.

26 May 2010

The Making of a Military Wife

No lie, I've been pretty busy today and haven't had a single moment to stop and think about much of anything... Hopefully, tonight I'll be able to sit down and write, but if not, here's a blog for today. I got this in an email and thought it was too cute not to share!

When the good Lord was creating Wives, he was into his sixth day of overtime.

An angel appeared and said, "You're having a lot of trouble with this one. What's wrong with the standard model?"

And the Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be completely independent, but must be sponsored to get on post; have the qualities of both father and mother during deployments; be a perfect hostess to 4 or 40; run on black coffee; handle emergencies without a manual; be able to handle flu, birthdays and moves around the world; have a kiss that can cure anything from a child's torn Valentine to a husband's weary day; have the patience of a saint when waiting for the Unit to return home; and have six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her hand slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands... no way!"

And the Lord answered, "Don't worry, we'll make other military wives to help. Besides it's not the hands that are causing the problem, it's the heart. It must swell with pride in her husband, sustain the ache of separations, beat on soundly when it's too tired to do so and be large enough to say, "I Understand" when she doesn't, and 'I love you' regardless."

"Lord," said the angel, touching his sleeve gently. "Come to bed... finish this tomorrow!"

"I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something unique. Already I have one who heals herself when she's sick, can feed three unexpected guests who are stuck in the area due to bad weather, and can wave good-bye to her husband, from a pier, off a runway and understand that it is important to his country that he leaves."

The angel circled the model of the military wife very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

"But tough," said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this woman can do or endure."

"Can it think?"

"Can it think? It can convert 1400 to 2 p.m."

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. "There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model."

"It's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear."

"What's it for?" asked the angel.

"It's for joy. Sadness. Disappointment... Pain, loneliness and pride!"

"You are a genius," sighed the angel.

The Lord looked somber and replied, "I didn't put it there."

25 May 2010

Being scared means you have something to lose...

The past few weeks have been full of ups and downs. Mental, physical and emotional. I feel like my body has physically healed. I’m back to beating it up with CrossFit workouts daily. Mentally, I think I’m in a better place. I have a better idea of where I stand as an individual, of what I want and what I think I deserve. But, emotionally, well… that’s still a work in progress.
I really can’t put my finger on what started this rollercoaster ride. Just one afternoon not too long ago, I realized just how unhappy I’ve become. I wasn’t sure if this unhappiness was to be blamed solely on me, on him, on his job and the life it creates for us… I wasn’t sure.
I’ve spent a lot of time just thinking about things, talking to a friend and trying to talk through it all, figure out what some of these feelings mean and if they’re solid feelings or merely passing fancies.
I’ve questioned whether or not I have what it takes to be an Army wife. If I really can handle 20 more years of this.  
Today, out of nowhere, as I was walking across the Wal-Mart parking lot, it just hit me. I don’t want to be simply civilian. I’m not saying being a civilian is a bad thing. But it just seems so simple, so commonplace in comparison to what my life has been revolving around. That realization alone was enough to make feel like yes, I really can do this. I really do have the strength necessary to support a man in his position. I really can do all the waiting.

My Wal-Mart parking lot epiphany was enough to silence all the doubts that I’ve been having the past few weeks. It was enough to make me realize that my unhappiness is a “me” thing. Taking him out of the picture would only add to that unhappiness. So, it’s not him, his job or our lifestyle. Which means it’s something I should be able to tackle and fix on my own, without leaving him, but with his help. All of this gives my heart so much peace.
My mind of course followed that initial thought: that I didn’t want to be simply civilian. Why not? Why wouldn’t I want to be with a man who’s home every night in time for dinner, who doesn’t have to worry about missing 9 months at a time out of his children’s lives, who doesn’t risk his life to do his job? Why wouldn’t I want that? Because of the pride. Yes, pride. I take a lot of pride in saying that I belong to a soldier. A simple explanation of his job lets anyone with a brain know that he’s not your common G.I Joe. This only adds to that pride.
He loves his country enough that he’s willing to sacrifice his life for it if necessary. And nothing was good enough until he was the best. He’s the best at everything he does. Right now, he’s in a school … and he’s not the best and it just infuriates him. He’s one of “those”.

So, why would I want to be with a man who works long hours, who leaves for weeks at a time for schools and training, who deploys to war torn countries for months at a time, who puts his life on the line every time he actually does his job? Because anyone can take the easy way and find an accountant or doctor or whatever… Because anyone can deal with a few week long business trips a year. Anyone can do the civilian life. But not just anyone can handle the military life.
It takes so much patience and courage and flat out strength to love a man who wears the uniform that defends our country.
I am so proud to be one of those women who stand beside one of those men.
I’ve also realized that it’s okay to have doubts. It’s okay to be scared. It’s normal. If you’re not scared, you’re lying or dead. And being scared means you have something to lose. So I’m okay with it. 

23 May 2010

Adjust Your Expectations

 “I know... I know you didn’t wake up this morning expecting this was how your first day was gonna go. You thought you’d get to re-attach an arm or observe brain surgery; instead you helped save the life of a deer. You can bitch and complain about it, or you can adjust your expectations. 'Cause like it or not, you are stuck with me and I’m the kind of doctor who lets little kids convince her she can do the impossible. Oh! Plus, when I woke up this morning, I thought today was gonna go a lot differently too. I thought I was gonna get the good interns. Instead, I get stuck with the duds! So I'll have to adjust my expectations as well.

Here’s the thing… expectations… they always let you down. And military life is the epitome of let downs. It’s very rare that things actually go according to the ORIGINAL plan. Plans have to change about 50 times before things actually happen. I’m starting to think that’s some kind of unwritten military law or something.
I don’t like change; I don’t like having to be flexible. I don’t like uncertainty. But all three of those things are at the very top of the list of the things that you get with the military.
Today, I found out about a change of plans. I won’t lie; my first reaction was to cry about it. I’d come to terms with the original way things were supposed to go. I wasn’t really happy about it, but I was dealing. But this new change, I really don’t like it. The feeling in the pit of my stomach got a little worse when I took a minute and realized that this exact thing is going to continue for the next 20 years—pause for effect—of my life. TWENTY YEARS. I hate when things like that sink in and then suddenly they feel so much heavier than before.
I’ve been trying really hard to find a silver lining for this new change. Especially when I sat down at the computer and realized I haven’t posted anything here in about 5 days. I really wanted to post something motivational or uplifting or something on a bit of a happier note than what I have posted.
So, here’s my silver lining: every time something like this comes up, I have to take pause and adjust my expectations. While this new change means another month apart, I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in that month. I just got back into working out—and I had to take a giant leap backwards due to my injury. I feel like I can accomplish a lot in that month physically. I’ve got a list a mile long of all these things I’ve been wanting US to do in and around the house. My new challenge is to see just how much of that list I can do on my own.
Is it the perfect solution? No. There is a great deal of disappointment that comes with change. With not getting what you expected. But here’s the thing expectations… they always let you down. 

18 May 2010

The Prayer of a Military SO

The Prayer of a Military SO

Dear Lord,

I stand among the silent ranks in the military of the United States of America. To the world, I might not seem like a big part of our military, but in my heart, I am with my significant other through every obstacle, test, and struggle he might face. I wake up in the morning and continue on with life, knowing he is miles away. It is my duty to stand by his side through thick and thin and although I might not be able to travel everywhere he goes, I do know that my prayers reach the hottest desert, the driest land, the deepest ocean, and the greenest plain.

Lord, as you look down upon my significant other, I pray that you above all-- protect him. Protect him from the physical harm that may be in his way. Protect him from the evil of other men’s hearts. Protect him from the thoughts that plague his mind day in and day out. Protect his eyes from all of the turmoil and evil he sees on a regular basis. Protect his heart from wrath, anger, and bitterness.

Lord, give him peace, rest, comfort, and guidance. Remind him that he is protecting our great nation through sacrifice, the same kind of sacrifice You made for our souls thousands of years ago. Give him the peace that You are with him and that it was You who trained his hands to battle and his fingers to fight. Give him rest as he goes to sleep at night, knowing that his life is in the palm of Your hands. Let him take comfort in knowing that you are in control of everything.

While praying for the love of my life, I ask that you bless every person he comes into contact with. Bless the leaders of the foreign countries, bless those that want to harm him, bless his faithful troops that surround him, and bless the leaders of the United States. So many wonder why I pray for blessings to be upon these people, even those that do evil, and that’s because I know that we should pray for our enemies and those that despitefully use us. You are caring, loving, considerate, tender, gentle, and forgiving. I know if you are blessing them, Your spirit and characteristics will be upon them. I pray that every person that my significant other meets will know Your peace, faithfulness, and love.

Lord, keep my family together during these tough times. I stick by my significant other’s side because I cannot imagine life without him in it. And truth be told—I’d rather have him in my life and not have him here, than not have him in my life at all. I know distance will try our relationship and some days, it will not be easy, but I ask that you always remind us of our love and why we started this beautiful journey together in the first place. Give us the grace to be faithful to one another and the patience to withstand the tests that will inevitably come our way.

And last, I humbly pray for myself. I know it’s clich├ęd, but what I sincerely want is for You to grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

We trust in You.


17 May 2010

A Place For Everything & Everything In Its Place.

One last post for today... Last one, I promise.

I want to know what you want to read about.
I started this blog because I felt like I just needed to do... something. I write. I've been told repeatedly that it's what I'm good at. So, I want to write about this huge piece of my life that sometimes feels like it's taking over: the military.
I think just writing what I'm feeling and what's going on in my head is okay. But I also want to write about things people want to read.
I know a lot about the Army and a little about the Marines. And if I don't know the answer, I will get it for you.

So, I want you to use this particular blog/entry as a place to leave your questions and comments. At least until I figure out how to put a Question/Suggestion box on the Home page.

Behind every soldier...

Behind every soldier… there is a girl.
She is with him in heart and soul.
She goes through everything that he goes through.
She feels his pain, his sorrow, his joy, his longing and his devotion.
Every minute they are apart her heart aches, but she smiles.
She is a model for other girl. They watch her and wonder, “How does she do it?”
She is the picture of everlasting love and fidelity to her soldier, his cause and their country.
She is his rock, his support, his best friend and his lover.
Her job is the hardest and most painful thing she knows.
It is also by far the most rewarding.
Their relationship will weather storms, cross miles and reach indescribable heights.
Not because of who they are, but because of the love that they share. A love that is patient, honest, true and kind. A love that transcends the distance, that is deeper than any ocean, more abundant than all the stars in the sky. It is a love that is perfect in all its flaws.
Behind every soldier… there is a girl.
I am that girl.

I’m sitting here in my kitchen, staring out across the vastness of my backyard. The rain has been pouring for the past 20 minutes or so. My yard has turned into a jungle. It needed mowing a week ago. Sitting here, I feel like I can actually see the grass growing and I just want to cry. Up until now, dealing with his absence was tolerable. Ok, even. I’ve learned that sometimes a little space can be a very good thing. It keeps me from taking him for granted and makes me appreciate him so much more when he is here.
But today, his absence hurts. Physically, emotionally. I’ve got an injury preventing me from being the super self-sufficient person I usually am, especially when he’s gone. I can’t do much of anything. And of course, I don’t have it in me to ask for help. I just keep hoping tomorrow will be a better day. Except, I’m not getting better, just frustrated…
I think even worse than being so completely frustrated is not wanting to tell him how I’m feeling. He’s trying to study and focus on this stupid school. –Ok, It’s not stupid. It’s something he needs. But today, in all my frustration, it’s stupid.
My mind, of course, wanders to the future and all the separations to come. We’ve already spent more time apart than together.

People ask me how I do it. How I deal with him always being gone. It’s simple: I just do. I get up, I put on a smile & I try to remember that it’s temporary. But some days… I don’t. Some days I just stay in the bed because that’s easier than pasting on a smile & pretending it’s okay. Most people try to understand this. But the few that ACTUALLY get it, well, they drag my ass out of bed for Mexican food and margaritas.

Today, I’m sitting here in my kitchen, watching it rain, feeling completely helpless because I’m not able to do the things I need to. And I’m angry. Why did this have to happen the day he left? Why can’t it just get better so I can get on with my life?
I’m mad at the Army for sending him to this school. I’m mad that he had to drive 8 hours to get there and couldn’t stay with me. I’m mad that it took DAYS to figure out what was really wrong with me. I’m mad that I’m not getting better. I’m mad that my neighbors aren’t telepathic and haven’t already mowed my yard for me. I’m mad that he starts another school a week after he gets home from this one.
Today, I’m just mad. But I have to keep reminding myself that I can make it without him. That I will get better and I will get things done. I’ll get through this.
And as I sit here, mad, I ask myself one question: Is he worth it?
Yes. A thousand times, yes. There is no other answer.