Guest Blog: What I Love About Being a Military Family
Blog Biography: Abbie has been living the roller coaster life of a military spouse for almost four years now. She is currently holding down the homefront with a wild one-year-old while her husband finishes up his first deployment. She loves to write about all things parenting and military, including how to make the most of this lifestyle while keeping your head on straight.
When most people hear that we are a military family, they give a sort of sympathetic response. Common reactions: “Wow, I could never do that”; “I don’t know how you do it”; or even “Don’t worry, I’m sure you can get out soon.” They understand that being a military family has unparalleled challenges and struggles. Here’s the thing though: I LOVE being a military spouse and raising my military family. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t curse the Army on frequent occasions. Of course I don’t like the fact that my husband’s life is often on the line. I don’t like the fact that he is absent for countless events and memories. Sure, there is a lot I don’t like. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I only recently even came to realize just how much I actually enjoy our lifestyle. Last year, my husband put in his papers for separation from the Army. It was a no-brainer. We had done our time and now, we thought, it was time to go back home and get settled. He could finally leave the Army! We were moving home to our families, to civilian jobs, to a “normal” life. We were excited… sort of. It came as a shock even to me that somewhere down deep, I was sad about it.
We packed up our house and moved back “home.” My husband had saved up terminal leave, which we spent visiting old friends, vacationing, and preparing ourselves for our new life. It didn’t take long, however, before we both knew we had made a mistake. After multiple sleepless nights, and hours of debating with ourselves, we knew what we had to do. My husband made a few desperate phone calls and next thing we knew, I was putting him on a plane back to Fort Bliss. With only a day or two of leave to spare, he was able to revoke his separation orders and resume his spot in the Army.
You can imagine the reactions we got. People thought we were crazy. They assumed we had fallen off our rockers and lost our minds. Bottom line: it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. My husband deployed to Afghanistan not long after that and left me here alone with our spitfire one-year-old. Is it hard? Um, yeah! Do we struggle? Of course. Do I regret our decision? Not for a second.
I can assure you, I am not a lunatic either. Like I stated before, I love being a military family. There is so much our lifestyle provides to us, I can’t imagine living any other way.
There are the obvious perks: unrivaled health care benefits, unmatched retirement plan, and commissary privileges to name just a few. The entire lifestyle itself is what intrigues me so much, though. What other career has you moving around the country or even the world every few years? Of course it isn’t easy constantly packing up your life and maybe I’m just still new and naïve, but I enjoy it! Every few years brings a new start, a new adventure. We love traveling, so you can see the appeal. We get to see new places, new climates, new cultures. I can’t imagine a more well-rounded upbringing for our son than traveling and meeting new people. We have to say goodbye to all the friends we have made, but we get to meet all varieties of new and different people. I get excited at the challenge of putting myself out there, getting involved, and opening up to so many other spouses and families. The best part? We are all in the exact same boat. The other military families know what we go through, they’ve been there, and they get it. It isn’t hard to make new best friends for life without even trying.
There is so much I love about this life, I can’t even being to list it all. I love the camaraderie, I love the dignity, I love the security. Above all else, though, I can’t imagine what we could do that could possibly give us more pride. And isn’t that what it’s all about? You have to find pride in what you do and there is no shortage of pride around here. My husband joined the military for one reason: he felt it was his duty. When you know it, you know it. That night when he revoked his separation orders, we knew exactly where we belonged and we weren’t looking back. I display the American flag, our yellow ribbon, and my Army wife title like badges of honor. This is the life for us, and we couldn’t be happier.