It finally happened! I was just sitting at a table at a very military supportive event and someone popped the question! Now, you may think that, having been married for 15 years - the question should have been popped long before now - but sometimes it takes a while for the question to come up!
"I feel so sorry for you, being married into that lifestyle (THAT, I presumed was the military)! Don't you just hate it?"
Don't I just hate it? It took me a few minutes to get my jaw off the floor and regain my equilibrium. Hate it? Don't I just hate being military? So, I gave the answer I've been practicing in my head for the past 15 years...
Hate it? How could I hate it? Both my husband and I are proud to be doing something so tangible for the country's security. Not many people can wake up each day knowing they are off to 'defend the country from all aggressors, both foreign and domestic' - then go to bed knowing that in some small way, they've worked toward that lofty goal! I'm thinking we're over-achievers in the military. I live with people who believe in the good things - flags, 4th of July, values, decency, work ethics, all those things on the great Marine adds we all love to watch during football games! Seriously, they all believe in that - and it makes for a great life!
I love bringing my kids out to different parts of the country (world) and showing them that people all over are good, well-adjusted and nice - and that there are bad apples everywhere. I love that they feel comfortable moving about and can adjust to many situations and handle stress exceedingly well. I loved the adventure myself as a kid!
I love the opportunities that I never would have gotten if we'd stayed in one place and never moved. Never seen the Scottish Festival in Alabama, the 4th of July in our Nation's Capital, Reagan's funeral procession, snow in the Rockies, the snowy-white beaches of Destin FL, and even experienced the Sauerkraut Festival in OH! Lord knows I'd never have exposed them to temperatures below -20 in MN and have them know that you can't go out for recess when the temperature dips below this because your flesh will freeze (really, is there a need for anyone to know this?). How would they find out about the little electrical boxes outside hotels (and everywhere) in the Dakotas, if they didn't go there? Would they have ever seen the Alamo or been interested in history without touring Jamestown? How would they know how to be a discriminating wine taster without the trip to Napa Valley (oh, wait, that was me!) What about the Marine Life museum in Monterey?
But all that time with your husband gone - they say! Yes, it bites (Andi, can I say that?). It stinks being a single mom - whether it's for a day, a week, months or way too many months! It's true. Being without the one you love for any length of time sucks! Knowing he/she is missing key moments is incredibly hard. There's no sugar coating that. But, I've also found that support from the community at large is really HUGE and I've learned to reach out for it. I've found that when my husband is gone, it makes my friendships closer. And when he's home, he revels in my ability to handle it 'all'. I love supporting him and knowing that he knows we'll be okay and able to handle it. It's part of what makes milspouses so special!
Please, don't feel sorry for me or mine! We've got so much to be thankful for and so many things we've been given through this military life and experience. Moving is the fun part of the military life. I've loved living the life of a migrant worker! It's all in support of the bigger picture - and we both love that picture and share a common vision. That's pretty cool whether you're a military or civilian family.
So, how do you answer when the question is posed to you?