Monday, June 6, 2011

What is life like in the military?

Military life...

Well, I have many friends who are not in the military who ask me all of the time "How do you do it?" or "What's it like?". It's funny, before we joined I had so many ideas of what military life was like (enter my mental picture: Josh, in a really tight military outfit, running around baptizing people while getting shot at, me at home with Bella wearing an American flag around our shoulders shouting USA!) Ok, that was a weird mental image.... Something is wrong with my mind! Either way, here's a few things I've learned thus far...

1. I have never been more proud or patriotic than I have been since Josh joined the navy.

The men and women of the armed services make HUGE sacrifices when they are home AND when they are deployed. Just because a service member is not deployed, it does not mean they are always home. Some guys/gals are probably home less on a shore tour (meaning they are not deployable). They send them out for weeks at a time to serve short term in and out of the US. In this regard, their spouses are never surprised when they find out their loved one will be gone for a few weeks or a month. In the non-military world, husbands and wives would find this tough (being apart for a few weeks at a time) and I'm sure lots of planning would be involved. In the military, you just do it and move forward. It's not like you enjoy your husband or wife being away, it's just that no amount of complaining helps the situation. Their job entails that they are on call and their jobs are ever changing with the state of our world/war. Change is constant, that's for sure!

2. When I meet someone who constantly bashes the war...

Ok, I understand that the war has been long and hard and, not everyone agrees with our role in various countries. I really have to bite my tongue though when I hear someone bashing our troops or complaining about the war in general. Don't you think we would all love our service members to be at home 24/7? The fact is, we are out their protecting and serving and a war is still going on with people getting killed by terrorists daily.... It makes the spouse (here at home) feel like, "Oh, so what my husband or wife is doing is not important to you?". Then I think, "Well, why do we just bring them all home and next time we confront terrorism, you can take care of it in your own way". I'm sure the terrorists will love to just sit and chat at a coffee shop and talk about peace with you:) Just a thought! Like I said, I know war is not easy and it has taken quite a toll on the US and everyone involved.

3. The military can be confusing and wonderful at the same time.

Sometimes you feel like they don't care about your family or aren't listening. It takes a while to get appointments scheduled and that can be frustrating. Sometimes you go to see 4 different doctors who don't know you and have to look at your file from the beginning to get caught up. That is not always the case though. In fact, they really do listen and care but, the most important thing to them is your spouse, the one who fights for our country. They really do take care of our guys (in fact, when you are in line at the commissary they will let men/women in uniform go ahead of spouses or family members at times). They will also serve them faster in medical facilities. They really do take care of the service members family as best as they can. With Bella's various tests, CT scans, EEG's and Early Intervention/ABA Services....I'm pretty sure we would be broke (if we weren't in the military). They pay for medical 100%--barely a dime is pulled from our pockets for her care. For that, I thank you military!

4. It is not an easy life, but it is a blessed one.

Moving your entire life every 2-3 years can take a toll on a family. You get really good at organizing, de-cluttering and packing/unpacking. You buy furniture (and keep in mind its size and shape) and be sure it can fit in any sized room. Base housing can have small rooms so a huge sofa can mean trouble:) Then there's the curtains....well, one size does not fit all in the world of curtains. Oh and forget trying to keep your furniture from being scratched in the moves...those are battle wounds I guess:) It's a blessed life because you get to re-decorate houses often (which I love). You get to make new friends around the country which is hard and great all at the same time. You really have to be scrappy (a term I love)--you have to be open to putting yourself out there in the friend world, even though you know you will not settle where you are for more than a couple years.

5. Men in uniform really do look good. Sorry, that's just a true fact! Oh and they are all over the place around military bases. So, single know where to go:) I found one that I like, his name is Josh and he's a hot Chaplain!

6. It's hard to complain because I'm not the only one around here that misses their spouse...

When I look at my life I always try to be positive and put it into perspective. There are wives all around me with husband's deployed, some with longer deployments. They don't need me to complain and remind them how hard it is (or to remind them that my husband is home currently). They just need love. Most civilians would not EVER want my life but that's ok:) It's where the Lord placed us and I feel it's our calling right now. Do I hate it sometimes, YES! Oh, and when you do talk to a military wife who's hubby is deployed, don't spend the whole time going...

"Oh that's terrible"
"Do you just cry all day?"
"You have such a hard life!"
"How do you wake up in the morning?"
"You poor thing!"
"Is he in danger?"
"How many days do you have left--wow, that's a REALLY LONG TIME" :)

Ok, those are all true statements at times and I am thankful for all of the people who thought them:) I know I would say the same thing to someone (before military life) but....when a spouse is deployed....those are hard to hear sometimes. It just reminds them of how much they miss their spouse.

Better things to say to someone with a spouse deployed would be...

"How is your spouse?"
"What are some of your favorite things to do--lets go do them!"
"Do you want me to watch your child so you can go walk in the grocery store alone (wink)"
"How can I pray specifically for you"--prayers are felt, believe me!
"How are you doing?"
"Thank your for your sacrifice to our country"--- that's the best!

**I found the busier I was, the better so.... keep that spouse busy! Rejoice with them in the good days, cry with them on the hard ones:) Pray continuously!

So those are some random thoughts about military life thus far. In all reality, I'm just a baby wife... aka we haven't been in long enough for me to have earned *top military wife status* which can be earned through numerous deployments/moves ect. But, I have been through a few things and figured this might help others think through what military life is like....

Annie (aka Chaps wife).
Oh, and the best day ever is in this was fresh breath of happiness holding my man! I forgot all of those hard days at this moment:)

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