After 20 long years, my husband’s military career is coming to a close. As we prepare for military retirement I’ve been going over how being a military wife has benefited my life. Here are my reflections of a military wife.
Reflections of a Military Wife
As this post goes live, I’m sitting at my husband’s retirement ceremony. It’s surreal to think at 40 years old, he is retired. But he worked hard, made sacrifices and did it all for our family.
I wasn’t ready for retirement. For 12+ years, this has been my life. The stability of knowing we will be taken care of, living all over the country and once in a lifetime experiences. I was scared, stressed and unbelievably sad knowing it was all coming to an end. But in the last couple of weeks, I’ve reflected on my time as a
Finding my place in a new world
When we got married, I had been living in the same area for most of my life. I dreamed about leaving and living in a new place, but probably never would have actually left. Everything I knew was there – friends, family and my entire support system.
When we got my husband’s first set of orders (since we’d been married) I was floored to find out we were moving across the country to Maryland.
My husband was gone almost a year due to military schools and I was a stay at home mom for the first time. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it was one of the toughest times of my life. I had no friends, I didn’t want to leave my house and I was struggling with parenting a stepchild. I fell into a very deep depression and it took the better part of 2 years to pull myself out.
But by the time we were moving on to our next adventure, I learned SO much about myself. I discovered how strong I was and realized that I could do this. I could make it as a Military Wife.
Read my tips for PCSing with kids!
Friendships Built on the Unstable Ground of the Military
Making friends has never been “easy” for me because I don’t put myself out there. But I put on my big girl pants when we got the next set of orders. And made the decision to put myself out there. I WAS going to make friends.
Ok, really I hid behind my keyboard and made some connections through Facebook. Ha! Honestly, though, it made the transition much easier. I was comfortable going
Military friendships are nothing like “regular” friendships. They are quick forming as you bond over similar experiences. You find yourself relying on them and become partners in this crazy life. You move in one day and the next you’re writing your new neighbor’s name down as an emergency contact with your child’s school. Literally, trusting a stranger with your child.
But friendships are hard to maintain in the military world. Your heart is forever breaking as you say good-bye and see ya later, hopeful that maybe your paths will cross again in the future.
I’ve been blessed to find my tribe in and out of the military world. I know these women will always be there, even though we live all around the country.
Once in a lifetime experiences
I can’t even believe some of the stuff we’ve gotten to do because of the military. We’ve called some incredible places home. And even though we may not have appreciated them when we lived there, as I reflect I find that they all have a special place in my heart.
Messy Mom Tip: Never judge a place before you get there and always give your new home a chance.
While our opportunities haven’t been given to us because of the military, we wouldn’t have been in a position to attend without it.
My kids have played on the White House lawn at the White House Easter Egg Roll, walked on Time Square and wandered around the French Quarter. They have been to Mardi Gras, theme parks across the country and visited more states than most adults.
We’ve been able to go to various sporting events including Wrestlemania 30, the Daytona 500.
The military has given our family the chance to live amazing adventures and I am eternally grateful.
My final thoughts as a military spouse
I’m getting ready to hop on a plane to San Diego for my husband’s retirement ceremony. Afterward, we’ll be hitting the road for our last military move. Granted, the kids and I are already living in our “forever” home. But this is the move that is bringing my husband home for good.
Being a military spouse isn’t always fun. It can be lonely. And it can be full of difficult challenges.
But it is also life-changing. It will make you stronger than you ever thought you could be. I’ve learned that I have the grit and determination to make it in this big wide world.
I’m ready to start our next chapter. My husband has landed his dream job. We have started building friendships that we can nurture for years to come. And we’ll be ok without the military, because of what the military has taught us.