“I could never do what you do.”
Uuuuuuuugh. Cue me, sighing dramatically and rolling my eyes.
Listen, friend. Or Mom. Or college roommate. Or cousin. Or Great-Aunt Sally. Or check-out cashier at Target.
You could, and you would.
You would move. You would sacrifice. You would let yourself be pushed beyond the limits you ever thought were possible.
Your spouse is the love of your life and happens to be in the military; so that means you accept circumstances you never would have tolerated before you fell in love.
That’s how I keep living on through this craziness of military life. I keep on enduring for small, joyful moments, like when my two-year-old hears the garage door open and starts screaming and dancing because Daddy is home after weeks of training. Or when I roll over in the middle of the night and he’s there to hug, conjuring the familiar pang in my heart reminiscent of the many nights I couldn’t touch him because he was deployed overseas.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder they say. I don’t know if that’s true when the absences are so long and so frequent. But what I do know is that the absences make my heart stronger. It becomes more resilient. And I find myself more capable of things I didn’t ever think would be possible to bear before.
So I do. And as much as I complain and vent, roll my eyes and make feeble attempts to protest, I will. And so would you, if you had to.
Please understand that I know all of these things. I know my life seems to defy logic when looking at it from the outside. But my heart and soul know that this is what’s right for me and my family. So please don’t offer me a one-two punch to the gut when I already feel like I’ve done ten rounds with myself, defending my life against creeping doubt and crippling emotions.
My family is part of the one percent of Americans who experience the military lifestyle. I believe wholeheartedly that the majority of those who say, “I could never do it” says so not knowing how it makes me feel. I also think, quite frankly, that they say it because they don’t know what else to say.
To them, I say thank you for attempting to be supportive. But a simple rephrased, “how are you doing?” instead of “how could you be doing it?” would go a long way. We are proud to be a part of the one percent. And for all of the challenges we face, the life we lead provides us with happiness and rewards that are impossible to tally.
To those who say they could never be a military spouse, I am confident you would be able to face the same obstacles that I have if your spouse or son or daughter came home tomorrow and told you they had joined the military.
So if you ever find yourself on the precipice of joining military life, take solace in the promise that I will embrace you with supportive arms. I know you are capable of doing hard things. You will do it because, like me and many other military family members, you support those you care about the most in your life.
Tell us! What is the hardest thing about explaining your military spouse life to your non-military circle?
Kristine is a marketing professional by day and an army wife-blogger by night. When she’s not traveling, party planning or chasing after her toddler, you can find her on her couch with a good book and a glass of wine.