Blogger Biography: Cecelia H. Curtis is a marketing and communications professional with experience in the corporate, nonprofit and government sectors. She is also a proud military spouse. Cecelia’s husband of 11 years, Bryan, serves in the U.S. Air Force. Cecelia and Bryan currently live in South Florida, just outside of Miami.
“So, when are you planning to start a family?” If I had a dollar for each time someone asked me this question, I’d be an incredibly wealthy woman. OK, maybe not, but I’d surely be able to buy an incredibly nice pair of shoes.
The thing is, my husband and I already are a family in my mind. It’s been over 11 years since I said “I do,” took my husband’s last name, and drove away from my parents’ house in a moving truck bound for my husband’s apartment (my new home). Since then, I have affectionately called my mother-in-law, “Ma,” while my husband calls my parents “Mom” and “Pop.” My husband and I file taxes together, PCS together, travel the world together, laugh together, cry together and pray together. So, the idea that we have not yet started a family is just perplexing to me. We are not waiting to start a family. We are a family!
Of course, I know what people mean when they ask the “start a family” question. People want to know when I’m going to have a baby! So, I typically just say, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe soon.” (And, for the record, that’s the truth!) That answer works well in most circles, but in the military environment, it’s not always that simple.
Everyone loves babies, but the military community seems to really love babies. So, when I tell people in the military community that I don’t have children, it’s not uncommon for me to hear things like, “Oh, you mean you don’t have children yet,” or my personal favorite, “Well, what are you waiting for?!” I’ve learned to just accept it for what it is — a way to make conversation, search for common ground and share life experiences.
My life experiences may not include children just yet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything in common with military spouses who do have children. It just means we may have to work a little harder to figure out what our shared life experiences are. As we are getting to know one another, I might ask you some of the following questions. Are you from the northeast section of the U.S.? If so, you’ll find that we have that in common, and I hope you are prepared to discuss the difference between a hoagie and a sandwich with me. Have you lived overseas? If the answer is yes, please know that I’d love to hear all about your adventures while sharing a few stories of my own. Have you volunteered lately? If so, where? I want to hear all about how you’re serving the community and how I can help. Do you love to sing, ski, swim, jog, or travel? I sure do. So, let’s plan to do something fun together soon. Do you love your service member? My guess is yes, which means we have lots in common.
The military community is a traditional one, and I absolutely love that. Sometimes, though, our traditional community fails to recognize that service members’ families are not all the same. My family of two may not be exactly the same as your family of four or five or six, but that’s OK. This is part of what makes our U.S. military great — diversity. Despite various differences, our service members proudly serve alongside one another. And, their families — with or without children — proudly support them as they do. In this way, our families aren’t that different after all.