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.