"You chose this life."
I don't talk a lot about being a military spouse. I talk about the military sending us places, but I don't talk a lot about being married to the military. I chose a long time ago not to let being "SSG Trim's Wife" be my foremost label. I married the love of my life who happens to be married to the US Army.
I met Mike the summer after I turned 16. June of 1997. He worked at Food World. My mother needed green beans. Four years. A wedding. 10 August '01. Moved to Hinesville, GA. I married an enlisted man. A lowly PFC. 275 square foot apartment. No room for privacy. A tiny living room. Couch is 3 feet from the TV. Watching the news coverage of September 11th three feet from the TV. Mike was promoted. Six months after we moved in, we moved out. I move home while Mike deployed to Kuwait. Six months later he came back. New apartment. Pick up where we left off. Surprise- another deployment. But he just got back! Stayed home. Alone. News talked of us crossing the border into Iraq. Stay up all night watching CNN. Cried myself to sleep as the sun came up. Hadn't talked to him in well over 2 weeks. Eight months alone. He came home. He wasn't the same. We worked through it. We worked even harder at it. We were stronger. We were better. Talk of re-deployment. Fell to my knees. Laid down on the floor. Cried. Wailed. Sobbed. Options if you reenlist. Hope. Orders to Japan. Left behind to pack up the house. Didn't want to risk losing the orders. Moved to Okinawa, Japan. It was hot. It was humid. Learned enough Japanese to get by. Learned to drive on the "wrong" side of the road. Finally able to relax. No talk of deployment. Long work hours, lots of responsibility, but no deployment. A baby. A boy. A Seamus. All by ourselves. Grateful. Pineapple wine. A one year old. Sushi on a conveyor belt. Whale sharks. Botanical Gardens. Amazing. A two year old. A promotion. A broken arm, another move. Frederick, MD. Old house. A biggish-smallish town. Farms. Sheep. Wool. Learned to knit. Potty training. Dinosaurs. A three-year-old. Another promotion. So proud. Learned to spin. Transformers. Iron Man. A four-year-old. School. Changed my mind. Learned to teach my own son. Learned he's utterly amazing. Learned he's REALLY good at math. Homeschooling. Moving again. Italy. Thrilled.
When the going got tough, I didn't get going. When we moved, I did so with a relatively good attitude. We have made every effort not to be apart. It's not easy. But still, there are the scars left on our family. The ones of time lost, the ones of more that we don't talk about. We weathered it. We survived it. We stayed strong.
And, religious I may not be, I think Ruth may have said it best:
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
I may not have chosen the easiest path, but at least I can rest easy at night knowing that I've done my job as a spouse. I've given my time, my energy, my blood, my sweat, my tears, hell, my family and our lives for our country. So when you call me selfish for wanting my family together, it's a slap in the face. Our time together means everything to us. People comment I plan our life
around Mike's and that's probably true. I have his work schedule written on every calender we have. So I always know when I'm trying to schedule something if I need to choose a different day. I want my husband there for the important things. Even if he does work long, crazy hours and he doesn't get a lot of time off. You may think that scheduling our lives around the military is insane. But for every moment our family
is together, we've had a million more apart. I treasure those moments. And I want to make up for every one we've lost over the years. I'm not selfish; I'm gluing my family together.