Three years ago I adopted a huge life change. I married my JR high best friend, I dove straight into the military life and I became a first time parent all in basically one month. Since then, I have grown so much and I have became a strong women from it but I also have had many, many days when I break down mentally.
This February will be our three year anniversary. Since we have been married, my husband has been gone and deployed almost two years of it. The day we got married, we eloped because that’s what most military families do. That doesn’t mean I don’t dream about a small back yard wedding because I do, but when the time is right I’d hope we would get the chance. Between trying to plan around the military, getting on all the paper work and getting in the big day before they leave again, it all happens so fast. And it definitely did for us. We were engaged and married in the same week and moved in together two months later.
Moving away from my family and friends at the time was the hardest part. Being a “single parent” because my husband was always gone was also hard for me. I had to figure out how to be a good mom all on my own. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard for me and I absolutely love being a mom!
Our trips back home are the best and the worst. Time is never enough. We always wish we had a few more hours with this family or that friend and in the end, we are always torn. Driving hours and hours to Arizona alone has not been easy for me. Most of the time when my husband is gone for long periods, I would drive to Arizona so I’m not alone at home stuck in my own emotions.
Being a military spouse is not an easy job and it’s one that I kind of had an idea of before I stepped into it but I kind of didn’t. Even though I had a small idea of what I was getting myself into when I married someone in the military, I had no idea how many nights I would cry myself to sleep, I had no idea how many times I would struggle to get out of the house for my kids or just getting out of bed, and I had no idea how hard it was going to be mentally. I struggle with trying to find a connection with my husband because he’s been gone more than half of our marriage and that’s the military life. Its hard. Trying to build a marriage when they’re always gone is not easy. But I love my husband to death and I wouldn’t trade this crazy life together for anything.
Raising one child and being pregnant with a second was another challenge I had to over come because my husband was not home. I found out I was pregnant and I told him through email. I didn’t get the luxury of telling him in person and seeing his reaction. He was deployed at the time. I spent most of my pregnancy alone with my daughter. Thankfully my husband was home when we delivered our son. Many wives don’t have the luxury of having their husbands with them and I’m very thankful I did. But a few weeks later, my husband left again for a month. I was “single parenting” two kids and this time with no communication from my husband and tons of family drama. It was emotionally and mentally exhausting.
My husband has yet to spend a birthday with our daughter, we haven’t spent one anniversary together, he’s missed every Halloween and a few other holidays and he’s missed so many milestones in our children’s lives. These are sacrifices that military families go through when fighting for our countries freedom. Something I had to mentally pull myself together and stay strong for for the sake of my husband who was gone, and our daughter who missed her daddy.
If I could tell my new mommy, new wife, new military spouse self anything it would be to not give up. I’d tell myself that you’re going to have many trials but God will never put you through anything you can’t handle. I would tell myself that you’re going to have tons of amazing memories and tons of memories without your husband. I’d tell myself that these years go by fast so soak up each cuddle and kiss, each laughter and cry. I’d tell myself that it’s going to be hard but you can do it. And last, I would tell myself what I am currently telling myself today, don’t lose who you are in this big crazy mess. Each day is a new day. Each day you have two beautiful babies smiling at you who love you. Each day is a blessing even on your hardest days.
To all other military spouses struggling like I am to stay mentally sane when all you want to do is break down. You’re not alone. This to shall end and nothing lasts forever.
Our next adventure, shore duty. I get my husband home every single day for three years. Many civilian families don’t fully understand the excitement I feel knowing my husband won’t be deploying again or going on another underway. God willing. I’m excited for the next chapter in our lives. I’m curious to find out what trials I’ll have to over come and the memories we will make but I can’t wait.