Blogger Biography: Cheryle is a 10-year military spouse who has lived away from her husband longer than they’ve been under the same roof. Now that they are transitioning into the retirement stage, a whole new adventure has begun. There will soon be more time to spend at the lake, with their three children and their first grandchild. Retirement doesn’t mean you leave the military family behind because once you are a part of the military family, you are always family. Her husband’s military civilian job will keep them close to the family long after retirement.
While volunteering as an ombudsman, I had the opportunity to witness new sailors going through the indoctrination process when arriving at their new base. The look on their faces sometimes told a story of feeling lost or just in need of a little basic information. It was my job to inform them about the family support program and how I could help make their transition easier. I only wish there had been an induction presentation for me, and all spouses, to ease our transition into the Navy. Here is my story of how I was inducted into the Navy, my husband’s style!
I have learned over the last 10 years that marriage to MY sailor is going to bring me LOTS of unexpected surprises. A perfect example is when, after only three months of marriage, I accompanied my husband to my first military ball. I had no idea what to expect.
As we walked into the large Texas convention center, we were surrounded by dress blues and formal gowns as far as the eye could see. This was very intimidating to a newcomer. First they took our picture, and then he took my arm as we strolled into a beautifully decorated ballroom. I felt the way Cinderella must have when she arrived at the ball.
As we weaved our way through the tables, I had no idea what was about to transpire. Nervously taking my seat, I maneuvered my gown as lady-like as possible while my husband began the introductions. My mouth became noticeably dry as he introduced the high-ranking gentlemen at the table and stopped with the person seated to my left…the admiral. What a way to induct a spouse into the Navy…by sitting her next to the admiral at a formal function. No dipping your toes into the shallow end and easing into the chilly water! Just one big SHOVE into the deep end saying “Here you go honey…sink or swim!!” Thankfully, the admiral managed to make me feel at ease with each word she spoke, and I credit HER for the real induction that gave me the strength and empowerment to be a Navy spouse.
There are plenty of ways for a new spouse to ease into being a military wife. The way my husband chose to induct me ended up being the spark that ignited my interest. It made me want to just dive right in. I highly recommend trying to get involved in your spouse’s military career in a way that best suits your talents and interests. One way to get a sense of empowerment is to get to know the way EVERYTHING works. Don’t just rely on your spouse to know about your benefits, deployment preparations and all the family programs that are offered. Talk to other spouses or a unit ombudsman and discover what resources are available. Even reading The Blog Brigade is a great resource! Being well-informed will enhance your years of military life. I think you’ll be surprised how rewarding it feels.
Back then, I did not understand some of the sacrifices the individuals in that Texas conference center had experienced. Right now you probably think I’m referring to the members in uniform, but I’m talking about their spouses. I would not trade a single experience being a Navy spouse, and now I feel like a toddler being dragged kicking and screaming from grandma’s house saying, “No! I don’t want to go!” For me, retirement does not mean I’m leaving the Navy because once you become family, you’ll always be family, and now my blood runs….Navy blue.