LONELY LIFE OF A MILITARY WIFE
Ah, the lonely life of a military wife…I feel like I’ve been a little “negative” lately, but I can’t apologize because I really need to feel my feelings at the moment. People also seem to be oddly intrigued by military life. Like everything about it…so much so they made a show called “Army Wives”. Oprah did a reality t.v. show about military wives. (It’s not nearly as glamorous and fun as they make it seem.) And there are countless movies about military hero’s who did amazing things. I think most people think all soldiers have done something heroic and had at least one kill, but that’s actually not the case.
I’ve been married to my husband for almost 15 years. We met in August 2003 and married in February of 2004. I met him just after he had graduated Ranger School and I was in ROTC. I wanted to be with him more than I wanted a military career so I quit and moved to Savannah to be with him.
“HIGHLIGHT REELS” OF MILITARY LIFE
People generally see the “highlight reels” and the glorious moments of a homecoming. A young bride welcoming home her groom. A daddy meeting his infant son or daughter that was born during deployment. The American flags waving as you watch a military jet land. Yes, it all seems so romantic and lonely. And while those moments truly are glorious and amazing and make your heart swell, it’s not even 1% of military life.
Military life is lonely. And honestly, I think it’s lonely even when they’re home. You see, while most people work a 9-5, the military works from early in the morning before the sun comes up until late in the evening when the sun goes down. This military wife gets up with her husband to make him breakfast and lunch and send him on his way.
I go about my day with the kids. We text or he calls, but it’s usually to tell me what’s going on with his day and that he’ll be at the office late. On a good day he’s home before 2000 (or 8:00 p.m.) He also has to go to the field frequently and spends week long stents “camping” an hour away from home. (And not the fun kind of camping.)
I don’t really get to talk to too many friends because have you ever tried having a conversation on the phone with three kids who don’t get along? Nearly impossible. At least having an enjoyable conversation is nearly impossible.
It makes scheduling things as a family nearly impossible. I don’t know when Joe will be around. Will he be in the field? TDY? Working late hours? Will he have something else he needs to? I never know. So scheduling anything as a family is very difficult.
And then there was the last (lengthy) deployment he did. It lasted nine months. During this time I lived in my hometown. Most of my “friends” were at church. Every week on Sunday people would ask how Joe was doing. (I would tell him and it actually made him angry that no one asked about how I was doing or the kids because the truth was he was completely safe and comfortable sitting in Kuwait. He wasn’t in danger. He was just lonely like I was.) People would always say (I can’t count how many times this was said either) “Oh, when Joe gets home we should get together. You guys should come over for dinner.” My thought was always, “Why not while he’s gone?…because when he gets home I can tell you he’s not going to want to see other people.”
Joe is special. People love him. People seem to love all service members regardless of whether they’re turds or not. I can tell you that Joe is not a turd. Far from him. He has valiantly and bravely served our country for the last 15 years. He’s seen and done things people can’t imagine….but he won’t ever tell you about it.
His experiences keep his circle of friends small. That’s okay with me, I keep mine small as well, but it does get lonely. It’s not a complaint, it’s just a feeling and I’m sharing it. Military life is hard. Like, really hard. And when you’re not deployed, you’re not as connected to other military wives. We’re just trying to be with our families.
So there you go. A little insight into military life. Unglamorous. Not much fun, but our reality. If I could, I would get Joe to share his perspective, but he’s not much into feelings. So you’ll just have to live with the side of the wife.