As some of my readers may know, tomorrow is Military Spouse Appreciation Day! In honor of this I thought I would write a little bit about my experiences as a Marine wife. If you'd told me five years ago that today I would be married to a Marine, living across the country from my loved ones, I never would have believed it. In fact, I said at one point that I did not want to get involved with a military man because I didn't think I could handle this life. Obviously God knew better what I could handle and had other plans for my life. You truly cannot help who you fall in love with, and after 4.5 years of marriage, I could not be happier! But that is not to say that this life does not come without challenges, the following are some thoughts on some of the unique topics that the military lifestyle seems to be known for:
On being thanked/praised: If you're a military wife reading this, I am sure most of you have gotten comments like "I don't know how you do it!", "Thank you for all that you do!", and so on. While I always appreciate these sentiments and they do mean a lot (especially in the midst of a deployment), to be honest, sometimes I'm not entirely sure how I am supposed to respond. After all, I feel like I'm merely doing what all wives should do- being faithful, supportive and loving my husband unconditionally.
On deployments: What kind of 'military spouse' post would this be if I didn't mention deployments? Let's just put it out there honestly, they suck!! I try to keep things positive on this blog and not dwell on this deployment or missing my husband...and I do the same on Facebook as well. Sometimes I wonder if this makes it seem like I don't miss him as much as I do, every single day. But in the end, my husband knows how much I love and miss him, I tell him daily and that's all that matters. To me, it goes without saying. Moving on...this is my husband's fourth deployment, the third together, and saying goodbye never seems to get easier! I truly believe that any wife who tells you they don't have their bad/sad moments at one point or another during a deployment is probably not being entirely honest. It's hard being separated from anyone you love! When you have children and are left to be their one and only caregiver, it's even harder. For mothers in general, there are no breaks, no sick days but when you are a military wife going through a deployment, this is even more true! Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. I have found myself many times during this deployment repeating in my head "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". This verse has truly gotten me through this so far. (You can read my thoughts on this here!) But with all things, I think it's important to look at the positive side of things, and I can say that this deployment in particular has been a growing experience for me. I have been forced out of my comfort zone and made it through more than I would have ever imagined I was capable of. I still by no means consider myself to be a strong person, but I have learned that for my son, I am stronger than I knew.
On changes: Semper Gumby=Always Flexible. If you are one who needs to have a plan and stick to it...you will find that the military will try and beat that out of you quick! Ha! Actually, we've been pretty lucky as far as moving goes- my husband has been at the same base his entire 8 years! (Though we have moved due to deployments!) But that is not to say that it has been without change, and because we have a child with autism, this can be the most difficult aspect of the military life. (And not just for us, 1 in 88 military children are affected.) Negative behaviors, loss of speech, losing progress on the potty, sleep troubles, etc...I've seen all as a result of changes- though not all military related. Like I said, it can be tough, but we have come to expect that if there is going to be a change, we are going to have some challenges and we deal with them as they come. As for anxious little me, I have had to (try) to learn to plan for the best, but expect for those plans to change so that if things work out as I hope, that's awesome but if they fall through, we were planning for that too! This is still a challenge, but one that I'm working on!
On being proud: I know there are some wives out there who are annoyed by wives who display 'Proud Military Wife' sentiments on their blogs, social networking sites, screen names, etc. If you're one of these people, this paragraph is not for you! Because I am so very proud of my husband, not just because he is a Marine, but because he is an amazing person and is great at what he does. What wife would not be proud? I had the great honor of taking part in promoting my husband to SSgt last year, after only 7 years in the Marine Corps. (I was told this was pretty impressive!) It is those moments, seeing all that he has accomplished and the respect that his fellow Marines have for him that make me proud, not just to a be a Marine wife, but to be HIS wife!
I had originally planned on writing about a few more topics (stereotypes, base living, etc), but I feel like this is a good stopping point. If this is something you would like to see more of or had other topic ideas you would like me to cover, please feel free to comment or email and I might make this a regular!
On a related topic, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday afternoon to receive an email that I have been nominated to be part of Circle of Moms Top 25 Military Family Blogs! I'm not sure how the nomination came about, so if it was one of you reading, I thank you very much! What an awesome compliment. If you would like to see my blog make this list, please click on the link below to vote for me! (You can vote once a day until May 25th!) Thanks in advance to all who take the time to vote!!