It's a normal day on the calendar.
Yet, to some calendars there's a blip that says "Military Spouse Appreciation Day."
None of mine do, and that's kind of depressing.
I wonder if the calendars they pass out to the local Marines at work, do?
The Hunt for Red October
The Army Wives
A Few Good Men
Flags of our Fathers
Letters to Iwo Jima
We Were Soldiers
Officer and a Gentleman
*just a short short list
Movies, televisions shows, lyrics, poems.
They all try to do justice to the life that is a part of the Military Spouse.
I don't think they even come close.
At least not in a "made for entertainment" kind of way.
Would anyone really watch a show where the Spouse left behind is left in the home crying, seeing things break, and celebrating holidays alone? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Eleven years I have been a spouse of an Active Duty Marine. When I first met my Marine and fell in love, I was clueless. My sister was Active Duty Army at the time and tried telling me how AWFUL Marines are and can be. (She's since changed her story after meeting my amazing Marine). So, we got married in February 2001. The Marine went to work, came home went to the field a few times and that was all fine and dandy.
9-11 changed how I was a military spouse. I went from mostly having my husband home that first almost year to never-ceasing schooling, training, deployments, tdys(work "business" trips), promotions, schooling, more trainings, deployments, and field exercises. Long hours don't even begin to cover it. Yet, as spouses, we carry on. We signed up for this the day we said "I Do" regardless of how we THOUGHT we knew how the military operated.
Once you're married into the military, you learn an entirely knew language. Military love their acronyms and shorts words. You learn the officers and the enlisted and how each of their jobs are important to the task at hand. You learn that supper/dinner is never at the same time every night, that bedtimes change as the work schedules get longer, that military personnel have to function on little sleep sometimes and complaining about it still won't change it. You learn that your home is a place of support, encouragement, and understanding as a military spouse. Doors are always open to fellow military members and sometimes work does come home.
As a Military Spouse you learn to function and run an entire household on your own. There's often Murphy and his law that states (unofficially of course) that once the Spouse is deployed, all sorts of things will go haywire and break. It could be anything from payday to sump pumps to vehicles. It never fails that there's going to be at least one major catastrophe throughout the duration of a deployment. Sometimes it is even life that happens: funerals, marriages, graduations, births, and adoptions all while the spouse is away. Nothing truly prepares us for this lifestyle of being nomads in a Country that our spouses have signed up to defend. Some of the fortunate ones stay at bases/posts for years while a lot of us are moving back and forth across this great land every couple/few years.
And yet, sometimes we are often casualties of this lifestyle. We get left alone by our families because we're never at "home" or can't visit as often as we like. We don't fit in to a regular community because when we finally get comfortable in our surroundings, we receive orders to move again. Our careers are slaughtered every move we make; starting over or changing positions, or changing career fields entirely just to have a job. Our medical and dental records are scattered like the wind across several states even though we all have our own copies. And friendships, well I have really amazing friends left behind at every single duty station we have ever been stationed at (all six places). The"close" friends drift apart by time, selfishness, and change. But those that were true friends remain part of our lives. Then there's making friends with fellow military spouses. We send Christmas cards, update on new family members, congratulate promotions, and our college graduations, and always update each other on our newest set of orders hoping that one day, we can be stationed together again.
There is a huge blessing to being a part of the military nomadic lifestyle; we get to belong to a different family at every duty stations. We get to be a part of amazing church families as we jump in, help out, and BE the church with people we barely get to know before we move again. We get invited into homes and families like we've always belonged. We share life together and help to build up the church with ideas, help, and volunteer hours. We praise God as He gives us the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing and so diverse as His American Church. We get to experience a tiny sliver of the life Paul had as he ministered to different churches and homes and never had a place to call "home". We get to help churches in ways only God allows us by saying YES and going outside our comfort zones. He gives us the right talents, the right words, the right timing to help HIS church. And only being a part of the military could do this for us, so Thank You, God for allowing us this blessing!