Why didn't you tell me that as a new military wife I'd be violently pushed out of my comfort zone like a baby bird with no wings?
I remember sitting in the recruiter's office in 2006, patiently listening as a kind young man shared with my husband and I all the reasons making the move from established civilian life to military life would be a good decision.
In hindsight, some of what we heard was true and some was, well, a bit embellished by the story teller. That the transition from one lifestyle to another would be "fairly easy" was one of those embellishments.
Here's a little history. My husband and I both worked in the medical industry for several years prior to our family making our first military sponsored move.
We owned property and a home we helped build with our own hands. We had a beautiful four-year-old daughter who loved getting to visit her relatives just about any time she pleased.
We were, to a large degree, settled. We had as normal a routine as we could have hoped for when we married in 2001 and our life seemed, by all outside eyes, to be well rounded and rooted in budding long term success.
It was. Still, there was a sense of adventure and a drive to serve our nation that my husband could not shake.
Hesitantly, sitting there in the recruiter's office, I supported my husband's decision to take our family from the safe harbor we were living in and toss us to the roiling seas of the life of a military family.
He signed the paperwork. I told him I was proud of him and would follow him to the ends of the earth, just as I vowed on our wedding day.
Soon came the time for him to head to basic training and technical school. It was the first time our daughter would go without seeing her dad each night.
To say she handled it poorly is about as insulting an understatement as I can imagine. Yet it is the kindest way to say the transition was brutal on her.
It wasn't much kinder to me. When he boarded the bus to leave, I remember standing in that parking lot with our daughter. She was wondering why I was crying. I was a new military wife with no idea how to tell her it would be the first of many times she would go without getting to hug her daddy goodnight.
It was heart wrenching. I was unprepared for the severity.
For the first time I was playing the role of a single mother, relying on the family I had nearby for help navigating all the things still left to do before our new life could fully launch.
There was a home and property to pack, store, clean, show and sell. There was a move to be close to my husband during his tech school that needed arranging.
There was the weeding through of our civilian life and the liquidating of things we didn't absolutely need to keep.
There was figuring out how to resign from a job and pull our daughter from daycare without causing too much additional trauma.
There was one thing after another thing after another things that all seemed endless. It was an emotional onslaught, and to a very large degree I was dealing with it alone.
No one told me to prepare for those things. There was no seasoned military spouse in the recruiter's office to smile into my eyes and tell me how worth it the stresses were going to be. There was no one to pass me a card and reassuringly say to call if I had questions.
There was just this empty space between what life used to be and what it was becoming.
Since that initial experience our family has grown and developed in ways we otherwise might not have. We are now a family of four, touting one very independent and strong 11 year-old girl and one brave and fierce four year-old boy.
We have lived in three different states, learned to travel and navigate new places successfully, discovered the best ways to pack and unpack life in all those brown boxes.
We have met some truly amazing people who share a multitude of experiences with us and have offered us some of the most genuine love, care, advice and guidance. Individually, as a couple, and as a family we have grown in strength, faith, resilience, appreciation, empathy.
While I may never forget the difficulties that came about as a result of that question, "Why didn't you tell me," I will never stop thanking the heavens for the lessons I have learned and the friends I have made as a result of being constantly pushed out of my comfort zone and being expected to fly.
Ginger Curet is the proud wife to a strikingly handsome and humble active duty airman in the US Air Force. They are currently station in Alaska, braving the wilds and the cold and loving the experience. Ginger told us: "I love quotes and stories. I find that many times you can find yourself all wrapped up in the words of others. Here is a favorite of mine. It is one I share with my fellow military wives when they are fighting feelings of inadequacy and when I can clearly see they have more strength in them than they give themselves credit for. From former Disney Princess Jennifer Beckham - "She managed to make it to work but her supervisor, Tommy, asked what was wrong with her. “I don’t feel like a princess today, Tommy,” she said. His response: “Who ever asked you to feel? You were chosen to be a princess. Now go, wash your face, get a new attitude, put on your clothes, and go be Cinderella!”"