Wednesday, March 6, 2013

As a military wife....

 
The past few days I have spent catching up on Season 6 of Army Wives, in preparation for the new Season premiere this Sunday.

Let me start by saying that I don't agree with almost 90% of the show, there are so many discrepancies and so many inaccuracies that it makes my head hurt.....but I enjoy it for it's entertainment value, and because even though it's not an accurate portrayal of real military life, there are other things that stay true to it's core.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because I have a lot of friends who are not military and who do watch the show, and they always ask me if it's really like that, or they get confused and say they watched the show and now they know how life is for me.

Thing is, first and foremost I'm not an Army wife, so it's kind of funny when my friends from South Africa still get it wrong and I have to remind them again that I'm Air Force not Army lol

I DO have a lot of Army wives as friends, as well as Navy and Marines.  Even though branches differ in many things, military spouses are the same everywhere, we go through very similar situations, we suffer, we love, we hurt, we deal with ups and downs and we're resilient.


As I watch the show, some things stand out more than others.

One episode in particular struck a chord within me, because I'm not only a military wife, but I'm a non American military wife.   I go through the same things that every other wife does, but with the added heart break of leaving behind my country, my family, my friends, my whole life and moving across a continent to a place I did not know and where I had no one.

It's tough, it's really tough because I went from having a support group to being completely alone, in a new country, without friends, pregnant and with my husband away.

Now I'm not saying this to make anyone feel sorry for me, because truth is, it has made me strong, it has made me who I am today and it's made me extremely independent.  I face adversity, I face trials with a strong faith and the knowledge that I'm a military wife and I'm among the best women out there.


I had no idea what I was getting into.  All I knew was that I fell head over heels in love with an Airman and I would move across the ocean for him.

Quickly though I became aware of what being a military wife entailed, and to this day, I can tell you that I'm still learning to accept some things.  It's not easy to know that your life is not in your control and that you are never number 1 on the list, but rather number 2 or number 3, sometimes number 4.

Mission comes first.  Always and forever.

You smile when you don't feel like smiling.  You say you understand when you don't.  You learn to go with the flow, you learn to be self sufficient, you learn to be independent, you learn to put your needs last, you learn to support your husband, you learn all about OPSEC (operations security), you learn that sometimes your husband is deployed with not a lot of time beforehand and you learn that you are not allowed to know where he's going or where he'll be for the next 6 months.

You learn to be mom and dad, you learn to fix cars, you learn your way around tools, you learn that officers and enlisted don't mix, you learn that medical care is really not that great for military families, you learn that Motrin is the cure for everything, you learn to pack as a professional, you learn all about inspections and those dratted oil spots in the driveway, you learn all the terms that are part of your daily life, such as FOD walk, BAH, BAS, TDY, PCS, EPR, MPF, LES, COLA, CONUS and so forth and so on.

You learn that you will count on your fingers the amount of times that your husband is actually home for the holidays and you will also count on our fingers the amount of times that your husband has been able to be there for your child's first day of school, or parent-teacher conferences.

I live my life a day at a time, taking everything with a grain of salt, knowing that no plans and no leave is concrete and can change at the drop of a hat.  When Roxy on the show says "I'll figure it out", it's like she's talking for me, I say that all the time.  When something comes up the best way to deal with it is to calm down, take it easy, sleep on it, think it through and you WILL figure it out.  Trust me!

I do it for my family and especially for this man who stole my heart.


So when I watch the show, many things stand out, many things I can relate to with the wives, other things make me laugh because they're so Hollywood-ized.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that unless you live as military wife or are around the military in some way, watch the show and enjoy it for what it is....entertainment, and when in doubt about something, ask someone who lives it because they'll be better equipped to tell you how it REALLY is.

I'm proud to be amongst the ranks of the military wives, we are silent, but we're strong and when all is said and done we will be taking care of and living along side some of the world's bravest men and women, and for that I can tell you, there is NOTHING more worthy. 

So my advice to military wives who are newly married is to talk, talk it out, ask questions if you don't understand something, and always remember that it may be tough for us being left behind, but it's no walk in the park for our men who are out there in the line of fire.

There will be good days and there will be bad days.  There will be days when you will loathe the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and resent them for taking your husband away, for interfering in your family life, for dictating where you go.....there will be days when all you can say is "THIS SUCKS".

But the rewards and knowing that you are supporting your man in uniform far outweigh those cruddy moments.

I thank the Lord every single day for putting me on this path, I've learned so much, I've suffered, I've cried and I've also lived some of my most happiest moments in life.  I'm blessed!

11 comments:

NITA said...

Thanks for sharing this...too often we take the Military wives for granted when in reality you are the backbone and just as much a part of service to America...

Walking on Sunshine said...

Thank you for sharing. We just found last week that my hubby is leaving for his third tour to Afghanistan. He leaves next Thursday. Not much time at all to prepare and this came completely as a surprise as he's been off of active duty for two years. He's still in the reserves but we were completely shocked. Life will continue as you put it so beautifully. :)

Theresa said...

I grew up an Army brat and it is a childhood that only other military brats can understand. My father was in the Canadian Army and my husbands father was in the Royal Canadian Airforce. Our fathers had lengthy careers served in peacetime. Thankfully. I cannot pretend to understand the fear of having a spouse or parent deployed to a war zone.

I, like you, would not have changed it for the world. I still miss the "camaraderie" of my fellow army brat friends.

Andrea said...

That is just too neat what your husband does!! I am so super-impressed with the military. If I had known how noble it was, I would've wanted more of my boys to go in it. (just 1 did). I enjoy supporting my Catholic diocese of the Military.

And don't forget...the Coast Guard is a branch of the military..ha...everyone forgets, even our pres. didn't know when the Coast Guard was mentioned in an audience in Afghanistan. The Coast Guard needs money badly for their old cutters!

Anyway...thanks for supporting your husband. I know you have many sacrifices.

Liz said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. From a woman not married to or raised in the military but with several friends who have served or are married to those serving, it is probably harder to hold down the fort at home than to be the one leaving. I'm not saying that what they are doing is hard or praise worthy, because it really is, but you wives and kids get so little recognition for all you go through and have to go through alone and also all the worrying. I cannot tell you enough how important you are and your job is. Thanks for this little look into what it's like to be a military wife.

Becky said...

Sandra, this was lovely and so uplifting. I can't relate to your life style, but I know these same principles apply to so many of our situations. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Conny said...

well said, my dear, well said! :)

Sandrocas said...

Hi Sandra,
I teach a family with three girls, and their dad is an Army man. He is a great dad, when he's home, they live and love so strongly, they don't take a moment for granted. He was in Afghanistan a short time ago, and I asked his wife, who I've known many years, how do you do it, with three little ones? Well, she says, I couldn't imagine it any other way, we have a beautiful family together, and that is what we have to focus on, even if he's half a world away, I know why he's there, he's doing what he does for them! Wow, just wow. I am so in awe of her and her spirit, and they are more in love than many of the couples I know! In that way, they are so blessed. He's being deployed shortly, not sure to where this time, but I want to say, God Bless him(Kurt), and God bless you and all the families that live this life. May God keep you strong and safe!

Unknown said...

Amen!

Krista said...

I love your post! You are always so positive. I followed your blog for about 5 years and even on the bad days you find something positive to say.

As a wife whose spouse has never been in the US military but has been in God's army (as we like to call it) I can understand the feeling of being 2nd, 3rd, or sometimes even 4th in his list of priorities. My heart and prayers go out to you.

autumnesf said...

Well said friend. And for us we are right back to rotations in Saudi as civilians now. I swear I can't escape it!!! But you know it's different this time. As a civilian it's a choice instead of an order and for some reason it's just easier. I can't explain it. U guess the significant pay difference is helpful. Lol.