Let me tell you a little about me: I grew up in the same city from the time I was born until the time I graduated high school. I moved 2 times, once after my Dad died when I was 11 and one time in high school when we moved to another town that bordered my hometown –and that was traumatic! I thought I was going to stroke out then and there. There was NO WAY I was going to go to another high school and I didn't. I used my sister's address so I could remain in the same school. As a teenager I thought that was probably the worst thing that could have happened to me. After high school I moved to another town in Texas not too far from my home town to go to college. After my first year in college I moved to Wyoming to work on a dude ranch for the summer, and that is when I got the 'bug'! Up until this point Texas was all I knew - I had only taken one airplane ride my ENTIRE life (to California after my father's death), and I had been to Oklahoma, but come on who counts Oklahoma as a 'destination'? From there I moved to New York to be a nanny and I went to school part time. Since my time in NY I haven't looked back - I was hooked on traveling. Up until this point I would have NEVER considered living any place but Texas permanetly. I was Texan through and through. If someone had told me back in the day that I would be a military spouse in the future and would be moving every two years on average I would have laughed in their face and told them that they didn't know what they were talking about. Fast Forward to today, 20 + years, 13 moves, 6 states, 2 countries, 4 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 2 tarantulas, 4 hermit crabs, several water crabs and too many fish to count later, Hubby is going to be the one trying to convince me that it is time to retire from this life. I love *almost* everything about military life. First and foremost I adore my husband. (And not just because he has been deployed for 10 months.) This is not to say we are perfect, because in fact we are FAR from perfect, but I still adore him nonetheless. I love exploring the place the Army decides to make our home for the time being. We try to see as many sights in the area as possible. I love meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. Since we have been an Army family for so long when we move to a new place we always have old friends to meet up with. So, at this point it really isn't like we are starting all over with each new destination. I've learn not to say good-bye to friends, but to say see you at the next duty station. So you see, I wasn't always the adventurous person that I am today.
To answer some of the questions above -
"Isn't it hard being a Military family?" No, not really. It is what you make of it. The way you live life is a choice. Sure we sometimes have a few more challenges than 'normal' families, but to us this life IS normal. We are a family and we have a strong bond. This life is a choice, if you choose to embrace this life then there is nothing you can't do! It is those that choose NOT to embrace this life that have a hard time with it.
"How can you move your family every few years?" Easy! The Army hires movers; it is part of the package deal! They come in and pack you up and they will even unpack you at your destination if you choose to have them do so!
"How do your children handle switching schools during the school year?" I've learn that moving during the school year isn't so bad and the majority of our kids prefer it. This way they can make new friends BEFORE the summer because as you know, summer is VACATION time, lots of families are gone for at least part of the summer making it harder to meet people! This is not to say that saying goodbye for the wee one's isn't hard because it is. There are always tears (and this is the hardest part for me), but thanks to technology kids are able to stay in touch with each other much easier than in the 'olden days' when letter writing and long distance phone calls were the only options!
"How can you handle your husband being gone for long periods of time?" This is relevant. I consider a year a long period time. Two-six weeks is a vacation from cooking and cleaning. I welcome two-six weeks in the field here and there. It does a marriage good. Seriously. When Hubby has been home too long and we start wearing on each other's nerves we know it is time for him to go to the field!
"How do you handle deployments?" One day at a time! I won't lie, deployments are hard. Being away from the one you love for extended periods of time SUCK. Parenting alone sucks. I would HATE to be a single parent. I am so thankful Hubby and I are on the same page (most of the time) when it comes to parenting! The kids and I stay busy during deployments. I volunteer more than normal during deployments. The kids have LOTS of sleep overs during deployments. Porch parties with girlfriends are a MUST! The beauty of deployment is that it makes you realize many things about yourself and your relationship - I have realized that I am a much stronger woman than I ever gave myself credit for and that I love my husband more than I ever thought possible. Plus, I'm the lucky one, I get to keep the kids during deployment - hubby is alone. I don't know if I could live without hugs, kisses, yelling, tattling and all the other things that come with a family for an entire year. Oh, and wine helps too. :o)
"You are so strong; I could NEVER be a military spouse." If this life chooses you and you embraced it, yes you could. In my experience military wives are just like other wives, you do what needs to be done for your family.
"I wouldn't be able to move like that - I need a place to call home, a place to have roots" Humph...we do have a place to call home, it is where we are living at the time. And as for roots, we have those too, ours just happen to dig further into the ground and spread wider than 'normal' roots. Our roots are our family values, morals, integrity, each other, our military community, our biological family and the way we give back to the community we live in at the time. Remember how I told you we have military family where ever we move to? Those are parts of our roots and like I said, they spread far and wide! We may not have one particular house to return to, but we do have each other to return to. That is home and that is where our roots begin.
Since this is such a hot topic I ask friends to tell me one thing they LOVE about being a military spouse. Here are some of their answers:
I love the lifelong friendships that I make at each duty station. ~ Crystal
That my husband is a bad ass. He would be anyway, but seeing him in camo with a gun. Mmm. He's hot! ~ Tori
I love the moving...not all the glasses I unpack...I love the friendships...I love the opportunities...dear Lord I could go
on.... ~ Suzy
I lived in the same town until I was 29 and I LOVE moving! Knowing there's a new adventure ahead every 2 or 3 years keeps me sane! ~ Carey-Leigh
I love the travel, our lifestyle, the power as a spouse that we discover as we grow (separations), we can move anywhere and convert a shack into a home, our kids talk about countries we visit not parks so much....I can go on
:) ~ Carmen
I love the moving and adventures of living in a new town. Each time we get orders I get excited to GOOGLE our new place and find exciting things to do...I love being proud of my husband and the sacrifices he makes for our family and Country. And...I love making new friends that become your family! Being from Fort Benning...I love the pride that a Military Community shows toward the USA! ~ Tracy
I love that no matter where I go, the "Sisterhood" goes with me. :) ~ LeAnn
I love that it shows you how much you really love your spouse. I think people throw marriages away every day...but when the love of your life leaves the country to go get shot at, you realize how much he means to you. And you realize how strong you are. Being in the Army has strengthened our marriage more than anything else could have. ~ Peggy
I like that it forces me out of my comfort zone, so I can be all I can be and I'm NOT in the Army! ~ Rachale
I love the adventure and the wonderful people I meet along the way! ~ Cyndi
The people I get to meet! ♥ ~ Becky
I love all the amazing friendships I have made. No matter what happens in your life, these are the women that will be by your side in a minute. ~ Michelle
The challenges we have daily aren't the obstacles so many perceive hem to be....the challenges are like a good spice blend, testing us and challenging us to think outside of the box! It's a blessing! And I would agree about all the
hubby things and the girlfriend "sisterhood." We've learned it truly isn't goodbye but until we meet again... ~ Roxanne B
I have the biggest family with homes all over the world! ~ Roxanne S
And to be fair I ask them what they dislike about being military spouse:
The waiting.... I love having my hunny by me. And I know it is his duty to go where they send him...I just hate
the wait (will always wait for him) but i hate that time more than anything. fear of the unknown i guess. ~ Loretta (Her hubby is about to do a 1 year unaccompanied - that is right, she can't go- tour to Korea)
I've found those people that I want to be old and senile with, but they live all over the flippin globe. How the hell am I going to get to all those patios? ~ Jefanna
Having to say good-bye, even thou it's short term because I know there is a Hello! on the other end! ~ Roxanne
Coming across a spouse who wears her husband rank! ~ Wanda
When non-military people forget that there are still people in war zones fighting or in danger, finding a new hair person/church every time we move, leaving good friends behind, developing new allergies, trying to hang the dang curtain rods in cheap dry wall... ~ Rachel
incessantly having to start over . . . and wives that complain the longest and the loudest, but when it comes down to it, they have NO clue what they are talking about . . . ~ Allison
Deployments. Having to leave good friends. ~ Becky
Moving to a place that I don't like or a place that is not on "MY" list of places to live. ~ Beverly
Unpacking glasses, hoping my boys are okay, missing fun friends....and leaving ideal weather.........the large amounts of money, that is not reimbursable to start up a new home.....condiments, some dinners out, cleaning supplies, etc...... ~ Suzy
"knowing" where you're PCSing next, only to have it ripped away and somewhere completely different given to you...not that that's happened to me of course..... LOL...and we always seem to find the city's BEST pizza about 3 weeks before we move...how does this consistantly happen??? ~ Cara
Wondering...will this be a door to door move or....will I actually have a house when we get there....hoping the school system isn't a complete failure....please tell me there's a whole foods or Trader Joes near by.....will I like my neighbor.....one more house with suck as* carpet.... ~ Nancy
Unpacking, saying good-bye, and dealing with your kids heartaches due to leaving friends behind--so hard! ~ Kelly
Curtains...I have 2 boxes of them! I just want uniform WINDOWS...is that so much to ask? ~ Jamie
Having to much furniture or not enough furniture depending upon the house that we are moving to, leaving friends, finding a good dentist and hair stylist, and having to interview for a new job (I really hate this part!). ~ Jane
My kids having to leave their friends is harder for me then leaving my own, routine changes, having to find quality athletic/sports for my kids to participate in (good gym for gymnastics, soccer league, piano teacher), shopping locations and feeling like the first day in high school when you size up who you will pal with:) ~ Carmen
So, as you see, this military life isn't so bad, and as for me, I wouldn't change a thing...wait scratch that....I wouldn't change much about it....