Welcome back to Military Mondays! There’s been some pretty significant military happenings in my life recently. The best part is that The Warrior got promoted last Monday! Both his brother and I got to be at the ceremony and it was such a special time. I even got to pin his new rank on his jacket, while his commander pinned his hat. The Warrior and his superiors all gave fabulous speeches (but of course The Warrior’s was the best one!), and afterwards the Chick-fil-A catering that he ordered was a HUGE success. (He has apparently set the precedent in the troop!) After the ceremony, The Twin Warrior and I hung out in The Warrior’s office while he got his new ID card made….and boy, was that the funniest thing ever! His brother posed as him and TOTALLY had the soldiers fooled! They would stop in and shake his hand, saying congratulations….and one of them even came in with a task to be completed. (“Sir, this certificate needs to be completed by 1500 tomorrow for such-and-such.” “Roger that.” I had to contain myself from laughing out loud!)
Another exciting thing is that we have started wedding “pre-planning” as I call it! Now before you all get excited, nothing is set in stone yet. I’m not revealing anything specific yet to the general public except that we will be getting married in 2014….which is so darn exciting! This has been a long time coming. However, this weekend as we were discussing things, I was again reminded of what kind of circumstances we are dealing with: it’s the military life. Of course, me being the bride, the dreamer, and the planner, I was all excited because it seemed that things were falling into place….but in actuality, things are still fluid – very fluid. The Warrior has his ideal career plan in place, but there are many variables. The reality is that the earliest we will be able to “set a date” (meaning, secure a date with the church and reception venue) is 6 months ahead. That is just the way things are.
I will be shamefully honest: when he laid this truth out there, I felt resistant for a little bit. I did my best to curb my tongue….but the truth is that I didn’t like the idea of having a loosy-goosy time frame. I wanted to have a firm date set, now. But one sentence that still resonates with me is when he said, firmly but with love, “We’re not working with civilian circumstances here. This is how it’s done in the military.”
Yes. I really needed that reminder. Things have been so awesome lately – his promotion, we’ve been seeing each other more often, we can finally start on things like going to look at reception venues and making the wedding budget – that I started to forget about the mundane part. I realized, as I contemplated what I was going to write today, that my life is split right now: I have one foot in the civilian world and one foot in the military world. I’m living the civilian life day-to-day, but yet I am committed to a military relationship as an Army wife-to-be. It’s a unique situation to be in. I also was reminded of another fact that may seem harsh to dual civilian couples (aka normal people): the military comes before one’s own wishes. Philosophically-speaking, the correct order of things is God, family, Army…and that is how it is our hearts. That is the way we strive for things to be. But when you get down to the nitty-gritty, everyday circumstances, the military loves to be #1. Yes, even before wedding plans. Even before what the spouse wants. Especially with military cut-backs looming and Afghanistan shutting down, when an opportunity presents itself (like training school or a deployment) a soldier must take it….with the spouse supporting him 100%.
I’m not writing about this to complain, or to make people pity me or other military families…far from it! I am writing it so civilians can understand the sacrifices we make…even those of us who are not fully recognized by the military as being a “somebody.” We put our hopes, dreams, and life goals on hold, sometimes indefinitely, so our servicemembers can do what they do best: serve the country. I don’t mean to have one hint of romanticism in that statement, either. After I thought about how I had spoken a bit selfishly (after all, we were headed to confession and Mass during that conversation), I decided to hold my head high with renewed strength and (attempted) selflessness. I do admit that the Army makes circumstances more difficult, but there is no point in complaining about it – it’s the way things are. A spouse who can’t accept that she is not #1 doesn’t have a good chance of survival. (The joke that wives oftentimes make is that “he’s married to the military, I’m just the mistress.” lol)
(Sometimes I wonder if I go too far with blocking out ranks and unit patches and not using their real first names….)
The military life is a test of character. I am a cup-half-full type of person, and it makes me wonder how cup-half-empty people get through it. That would just be way too depressing! There are SO many positive things in this life, and they definitely outweigh the negatives….otherwise, no one would serve! Honestly, I would not want life any other way even if I had the power to change it. I look at civilian friends and acquaintances who have settled down in one place, have started families, have their “forever home with a white picket fence”….and I think, that’s pretty nice and idyllic….but I’d be bored! I’m ready to see the world alongside my soldier…as much as I love Texas, I’m ready to have an adventure! We are too young to settle down yet. The Warrior has a list of his top 10 duty stations and I’d be excited to live at any of them. The important thing is that we go through the adventure of Army life together….and that point of our lives is really just around the corner!