Y’all ever looked at your life and realized it’s totally different from what you imagined it would be as a child? That’s me, with this MilSpouse life. It has taught me things about myself that I wouldn’t have chosen to learn. While I know I am not the only MilSpouse to have realized this, I will say it was a hard pill to swallow. The crazy thing is discovering this has actually been really rewarding.
How to Be Okay When You’re Alone
The first and honestly hardest thing I learned was how to be alone — I mean really alone — and still be okay. Not having my husband home or kids to keep me distracted in a new place forced me to learn this relatively quickly. I won’t lie, the MilSpouse blues have visited me and overstayed their non-welcome more times than I would like to admit. I learned to be okay sitting in silence. I discovered I love natural light filling my home. I re-discovered reading, taking walks and finding new hobbies. I would even get my nails done on base. Learning how to pour into myself helped me keep my peace (most of the time), especially when things became a little hectic with a home full of kids ranging in age from an infant to a teen.
How to Relinquish Control
Another thing I learned that I want to call attention to because I still struggle with this today is how to relinquish control. As military spouses, we always hear and might even say, “Plans? What are those? The military doesn’t care about our plans.” As someone who is a planner, this one was especially hard for me. I learned it’s okay to make my plans but also to be prepared for the military to change them. That sentiment was put to the test when we got late orders to transfer from Virginia to California and I was 36 weeks pregnant upon arrival. We hadn’t established maternity care, found a home or gotten things ready for a new baby. When it was all said and done, I delivered our daughter three weeks after we PCSed to California. Everything I planned for went right out the window. We had a home that was full of boxes but in the end, it all turned out okay.
How to Rely on My Military Family
Something I thought I would never be able to do was rely on my military family. Truthfully, I’m so glad I did. I’m sure you have either seen the meme or heard the joke, “I know I just met you, but do you mind if I put you down as my emergency contact?” We laugh at it, but we also know it’s a fact. I experienced a pregnancy complication with my last child while my husband was out to sea. I put off going to the hospital because I was afraid that they would admit me, and I had no one to pick up my children from school and daycare. When I tell y’all my community rallied behind me and stepped up to make sure that my family was taken care of — it was incredible! I never felt prouder to be a part of this community and I’ve never been more grateful.
How to Count on Yourself
Last but certainly not least, I learned I can count on myself. I am capable of doing hard things and making it all happen. Whether that is forced resourcefulness or not, it’s real. I never thought that I could leave everything I’d ever known and move somewhere I didn’t know a single soul. Yet that is exactly what I have done — over and over again — in support of the person I love. So, while I stand by my previous statement of not choosing these experiences for myself, I’m good with who I have become as a result. I’m kind of in awe of myself and something tells me y’all should be in awe of yourselves, too.