There's no denying that being a military spouse involves different situations than living life married to a civilian.
And, perhaps it's a result of my love for military entertainment like Gone with the Wind, Pearl Harbor, and, yes, even Army Wives, but over the course of my husband's nearly 10-year career, there are instances where I find myself laughing because of the distinct "military" feel they have to them.
Military spouse rites of passage, I call them.
My 6 military spouse rites of passage:
Rite 1: Boot camp letters. I have every single letter my husband sent me from boot camp, where he wrote about his excitement for our future and how happy he was to have me beside him on this journey. He had never even scribbled something on a Post-It for me before, yet now I had love letters in my mailbox.
Rite 2: First kiss after a separation. It was the lamest kiss in the history of ever, because he was nervous with the Technical Instructor’s still walking around and didn’t want to show too much affection, but it was magical. Pure, awkward magic.
Rite 3: Saying goodbye for a deployment. Romantic? You’ve got to be kidding me. I was certainly not Kate Beckinsale looking flawless on the flight line with only the hint of a tear in my eye, though that’s how I’d always imagined looking. Instead, I have picture-proof that I was red-eyed and puffy, walking into my empty house, with my husband on the way to a dangerous foreign country; my life seemed extra military. I truly wasn’t a fan at that point.
Rite 4: Saying goodbye while pregnant. Imagine Rite of Passage 3, except even more weepy, swollen and waddling. This was my, “Geez, could I be any more stereotypical military wife?” moment as I stood with my enormous belly on the flight line, knowing without a doubt that I would give birth to that baby without him by my side, without him there to witness us becoming a family of three. Just call me Denise Sherwood.
Rite 5: Giving birth without him. To be honest, I dreaded the day I gave birth to our daughter. I dreaded the heartbreak I would feel bringing our first born into the world without her daddy there to see her. But, it wasn’t heartbreaking. Did I wish he was there? More than I wanted a turkey sandwich after delivery (so, like, A LOT!), but he heard her cry, he saw her on Skype, the nurses all screamed, “Congratulations, Sgt!” to him when she made her appearance, and it was all-around one the most magical moments of my life. At least, until Rite of Passage #6...
Rite 6: Introducing his baby to him. Forget being so exhausted after birthday a baby that you barely have the energy to hold your eyes open, much less see your husband’s reaction to his new bundle. I had the opportunity to experience his pure joy when I handed him his 7-week-old daughter for the first time. I saw his eyes grow wide and fill with tears, and the pure love exude from them as he took in his daughter. I will never forget that moment as long as I live and its incredible, distinct military feel.
These are not moments that every military spouse will experience (obviously, our male spouses do not have the pleasure or ability to experience labor pains), but these are some of the moments in our military life that have made me step back and say, “Whoa, that’s like, movie-military stuff.”
These are the moments that I will look back on long after his military career is over and smile; smile for the beautiful moments and smile for the difficult moments we made it through.