Sunday, April 08, 2007

Army Wives

My husband has been in the military for 7 and a half years now. He is in the Air Force, and we have mostly enjoyed the adventures that this job has given us. It has taken us across the USA and over the sea. It has brought us closer together as a family, and separated us by half a world.

I am good at playing the martyr and have done my best to play up the deployed spouse card. Twice. But now that we are living on this Army base I am embarrassed to see what a whimp I have been.

These Army Wives are amazing. They are strong and brave. They are independent and they love with their husbands.

Living here has brought the war in Iraq a little closer to my doorstep. I guess I should have felt a stronger connection when my husband was drawing combat pay, and maybe I have blocked that out, but it seems so much more real here, where all the dads in our neighborhood are gone. For at least a year. And the base paper on Friday said that some will be gone even longer, now. My husband's longest deployment was just over 4 months long, and I have a feeling these ladies would be ashamed to call his last trip to Guam an actual deployment.

At church and at school, the vast majority of the mom's with kids the same ages as my kids, are living solo. And their husbands are in real danger every day. I don't know how they do it, but these ladies just keep on keepin' on.

So, my husband is TDY (military speak for a short assignment away from home, usually some kind of class) for a month (kindly stay away from my house all you PTSS victims, please) and I've been feeling a little sorry for myself - I mean, my husband is gone and I'm not allowed to complain about it to anyone, what with all the "I haven't talked to my husband for 3 weeks and he won't be home until August, maybe..." Sheesh! poor me... (I'm just kidding here, really I'm fine. One month gives me just the right time to get some projects done around here
but not get too set in my ways.)

But today at church I saw a mom that I really respect, sitting alone in the pew with her 5 kids. Just a week ago her husband was home for R and R (Rest and Relaxation - a 2 week furlough in the middle of the year-long deployment.) I saw them out running errands, and running on the track. They were really cute together. But he headed back out a few days ago. And today she had her game face on, and seemed okay, but there was such a difference from last week - like the weight she had been carrying was temporarily gone, and now she's got it on her shoulders again.

I wish I had a way to help, to bring the dads home, to give all those ladies a chococlate bar and a flower, to keep my husband home for the next go around, to bring world peace and to stop world hunger, to make everything OK. But I don't, so instead I will pray. I will deliver cookies and offer to babysit. I will smile and make a friend.


Toni said...

W- Don't feel 'guilty' that your hubby is gone 4 months at a time! Mine is gone 5 months a year. It sucks. The kids are more irritable and the eldest gives me more crap to deal with. Teenagers are FUN! Yes, it would be really hard if he was gone for a whole year. But as you know, you deal with it. I am grateful everyday that he joined the AF and not the Army- AF is way more 'family friendly' in my book. I am thankful for my close friends, we are always their for each other. Have to be. No military spouse has an easy life. We take the 'unwritten' oath.

So glad I found your blog too! What base were y'all at in Texas?

Deanne said...

We have a family on our street (the son is in Mae's class!) and the husband is in the Navy and in Iraq for a year. He just left this morning but was home for his 2 week r&r. He won't be back until Aug or Sept. I, too, wish I could do more than pray for him and his family while he is gone. I'll have to plan some picnic lunches at the park and have the son over to play with Mae.

It's gotta be rough being on your own and solely responsible for the family and house. I'm a big whiner when my hubby is gone for just a week. You military ladies are much admired!!!

PJ said...

Thank you for sharing that. You know, I forget. I forget about the families who have husbands and daddy's far away keeping my family safe. I am sorry that I forget and I am glad I read your post today.

Suzanne said...

I think having my hubby away for a few weeks sounds really hard, but I guess it's all about perspective! There is always someone out there that has it harder than we do.

I have so much admiration for military wives. I think I would cry myself to bed every night worried about my husband's safety if he were in Iraq. Some things only Heavenly Father can help us carry.

I hope you get all your projects done and the time that your hubby is gone goes quickly! :)

wendy said...

Hi Toni - we were in Abiline, Texas at Dyess. My husband also spent about 5 months in San Antonio.

Deanne -That's a nice idea - a picnic - I could do that, too!

PJ - I forget and I hear a stinkin' trumpet at 6am each morning.

Suzanne - You're right, it's like that gold coin that gets passes to the one who has it worse off than you - there's always someone...

Mary said...

Military life sure isn't for the faint of heart. You and the other military wives are quite a group of strong women. I'm proud of you and your family and am so glad there are so many willing to serve the country.

That said, it stinks you have to have Nate gone for any amount of time - 4 months or a year - that's hard. My sister-in-law is prego with her 5th baby due in July, but her Army husband (Randy's brother Joe) gets deployed for a year in May. I keep thinking about them and how hard that is going to be - not only will they have to be apart for a year, but he'll miss his baby's birth and everything. Luckily she'll be around family, but it's still sad.

Long comment. Chao

Aubrey said...

what a sweet and thoughtful post.

wow. five kids. i totally admire military wives who do it on their own. my brother was in the marines for 8 years and went to iraq three times and traveled a lot before that and my sis-in-law was pretty much a single mom raising her two kids.

it is truly admirable.

Toni said...

I'm at Dyess- I love it! How did you like it??

wendy said...

We were only there for a year, but we really liked it. We had some really close friends there. I have fond memories of taking our new puppy, Sam, over to the baseball/soccer fields to run. I hated my doctor there - non military ob/gyn. We hated our house. We loved the pool, and Texas Roadhouse, and the sign that said: Far Wood Fer Sale. That about sums it up.

Amanda said...

Wendy, whether your husband is gone weeks, months or a year, it is still a sacrafice and it is still hard. I have gained a greater appreciation for what you all put on the line every single day. It's not an easy life and I appreciate that you are all willing to do it to keep us safe. Yes, there are always some who are worse off or have it harder then us, but that doesn't make what we deal with any less hard, just different. You are an amazing person and you have an amazing family.

BTW, the "far wood fer sale" is hilarious. LOL

carronin said...

You are no whimp. I can't imagine being apart from my husband for four months. The longest we have ever been apart is five days when I was at Girls Camp and by Friday I was so home sick for him.

compulsive writer said...

Thank you for the service and sacrifice rendered by both of you--in fact your entire family. I know you're not asking for gratitude here, but it's not often the rest of us have a chance to express it personally. Thank you!

No Cool Story said...

Compulsive writer said it all.
You army wives are amazing, we owe you big time, for the service the men give to our country and also the amazing service and jobs you do at home.
ITA with Amanda, no matter how short the time your hubby is away, it's still hard.
Thank you!