It’s not often I feel like I have to defend myself as a military spouse. I served my country too. I put on combat boots every morning, and spent more than 2.5 years of my marriage praying I’d see my spouse for a day or two in four/five months. I’ve cried in front of my command when they asked how I was doing, and I had to admit, I didn’t know where my husband was or if he was even alive. We would go to sea back to back for months and my husband was never sent to the same ship twice. I’d go weeks without an email and months without hearing his voice. No, I don’t often have to defend myself. But I read a recent article and it did touch my heart that some women have to deal with more than I do. I’ve been in combat boots and in heels waiting for a ship to pull into port. I’ve learned that my “free” medical which we have to pay monthly for, doesn’t always help when my child is struggling to breathe. That Skype is a blessing, not a right, and not often allowed. That shopping on base sometimes means they jack up the prices and even struggling to push a full cart with a baby, I’m expected to tip the bagger who doesn’t receive a paycheck. That spouses groups on base don’t always receive information either. We go months wondering what day our loved ones will pull in, only to find out they’ve been extended two more months. I’ve learned that sometimes sitting on the shore is harder than being away. At least when I was away I could pretend the ship was my whole life, that I didn’t have an empty chair at dinner and that there would be no warm body in bed (well my lab tried to fill that spot).
Sometimes it’s hard for me to relate to non-military. They make plans weeks and months in advance. Our plans always are contingent on if he’s in port, or if he doesn’t have to go somewhere. If there isn’t a broken plane or an inspection, or he’s on the same schedule he was yesterday. I don’t mind, you wonderful ladies in my life keep making plans! I’ll join you if I can, but I don’t always count on it.
This is the article that made me sad. I don’t often have to defend my choices. I choose to be married to military. I choose to support my spouse.