Monday, September 9, 2013

In it for the Man.

     It has occurred to me that I have a difficult time answering people when they ask me why I married someone in the military. It really is a good question, and I hear it often, but I never really know how else to answer except saying, "Because I love him." Seems logical right? Some people shake their heads at me, not understanding why I put up with the grueling hours, grumpiness from a 24 hour duty, deployments, training ops, and just generally not having my husband around like most people do in their marriages. I understand why people shake their heads at me. Why would anyone want to be married to someone that isn't ever there? (Some couples that have been married for a really long time tell me I'm lucky.)
     Before my husband and I got married, I heard it from everyone. "Why would you do this to yourself? Why give up normalcy, and everything you know to follow someone else around?" I have to admit, that there was a point that I wondered the same thing. I have everything in front of me. Free college, living in my hometown, almost all of my family around me, all of my high school friends nearby, new college friends, and a plan and goal in mind for myself. I had it all. So everyone thought.
On the outside, I was so fortunate to have all these things, and everyone saw all the potential that I had. But on the inside, I had a huge hole in my heart and I was missing a piece of me that I knew a degree, my family, or friends couldn't replace or fill, no matter how hard they tried. I needed my Marine, and whether he wanted to admit it or not he needed me. We both needed support from each other, but I knew that he needed it more. He had just graduated boot camp, and his whole life had changed. Pulled away from his family, and training in California far away from home, he needed my full support, and I recognized that.
     Yes, some people say that I may be stupid for leaving a paid in full scholarship behind, and picking up my whole life and packing it in three suitcases and making my journey to our first duty station, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Some people still say that I only did it to get away from home, and live a luxurious life in Hawaii. (When really, I work 40 hours a week just like everyone else, so I can afford milk for $7.00 a gallon) Whatever people think aside, my decision to pick up everything and leave, was for my husband. He sacrifices himself for our country. I sacrifice regularity and the comfort of having family nearby, just like he did. That's just the way it works for us. That's the way it works for most military spouses. And in the end, your reasoning for the choices you make, are yours alone. People are going to have their opinions of you, that's just part of life. But once you accept that and know that your reasons for your actions are valid and noble, other peoples opinions don't matter as much.
     You can finish college later in life, and Skype is a wonderful thing when you miss family back home. We live in a world where technology makes almost anything possible. So, when my fellow military wives find themselves being asked,  "Why did you marry someone you can never be around? Why set yourself up to be alone?" You don't owe them anything more than a simple, "Because I love him." Besides, at the end of the day, that's why we're all here. We are in it for the man in uniform.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Wait is Over

Hello readers!
     Whew, what a whirlwind. My Marine is finally home! (Has been for a little over two months now, but I am terrible at being up to date!) That day was so very stressful for the both of us.  There was some confusion on what flight he was on and when I needed to be at the meeting area, which made us both incredibly frustrated the night before he left. The morning of homecoming felt like any other day. I mean, I got dressed up of course, woke up extra early to curl my hair and put on a dress I had bought myself just for the occasion, but it felt normal. I ate a light breakfast, and hung up the welcome home sign in front of our house. All in all, I was incredibly calm and it really made me nervous. I expected it to be so much more frenzied. When it was time to leave the house, I did a quick walkthrough to make sure the house looked awesome. After all, he hasn't seen it in 6+ months! I told the cats (I have two, and I am a self proclaimed cat woman) that daddy was coming home, and headed to the car.
     On the drive to the battalion building, I was still really calm. This was infuriating me. Today is freaking special, Emma! Be excited! I kept telling myself. But the butterflies didn't come. I didn't feel like I was going to pee my pants (dress, actually) or puke like all the other wives were saying. What is wrong with me?! I sat there so calmly, waiting for word that they were close to base and we could all go to the parking lot to meet the buses carrying our loved ones. Finally the time came, and I walked to the lot, alone and numb to all feelings. It was a good 20 minutes before I heard the first wife screaming, "OHMYGAWDTHERETHEYARE!" I turned around and sure enough, five white school buses were headed our way, pulling into the parking lot.
Then it happened.
My stomach fell.
My knees shook.
My eyes watered.
I had to pee.
My heart was smacking my chest so hard I was sure everyone could see it.

All the emotion hit me so hard, the buses and people looked like a blur. My brain went haywire, asking crazy questions. "Will I recognize him? Will he recognize me? What underwear am I wearing? Will he kiss me? Is it too late to ask someone to check my hair?"
Tears filled my eyes, and I'm sure I looked like I could vomit at any moment, but the crowd around me shifted and I snapped back to reality. Everyone was rushing toward the buses where clouds of desert camouflage expelled. The Marines were getting off the bus! I couldn't even move. I was frozen with anticipation and nervousness. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice, and a hand on my shoulder. It was him, and the minute I looked into those green eyes, every horrible feeling, sleepless night, and lonely dinner for the past 175 days was worth it for that single moment. I just grabbed him and didn't realize how hard I must've been squeezing until he said in a muffled voice, "can I put my bag down?" I said no, and held him tighter.

Please enjoy some of the pictures from our big day!

Cara! This was also her first deployment. She is a rock!

This was around the time he asked if I would let him put his bag down. ;)

We did it! Survived our first deployment! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Making the Best of It.

Hello Readers,
     It sure has been a long time since my last post! As you may have noticed by the title, I am going through the first deployment of my military relationship. My Marine left in early December, a few weeks before Christmas, and I spent all of my time and energy in mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the lonely nights, weeks without communication, and a wandering, worrying mind for the next 6+ months of my life.
     The night before he left was awful. I cried a lot, and make frequent trips to the bathroom so I wouldn't wake him. I hardly slept at all. The morning of departure, everything was so surreal; most likely a mixture of lack of sleep and my mind going 1000 miles a minute. We went through his packing list one last time and went through our usual routine where we sit in the garage, I read off the gear list, and he packs it in his seabag while I put a check mark on the list. We do this before every training op and gear inspection, so it was easy for me to forget what was really going on. On the inside, I just wanted to scream and cry and hit something. But it was really important for me to stay calm, and at least PRETEND to have a good attitude about the whole situation. As strange as it sounds, I actually had a lot to be thankful for. This wasn't a combat deployment. I wouldn't have to cringe every time I turn on the news. (Which by the way, Rule Number 1 of being a military wife is to never, ever, ever, ever, believe the news. Take whatever they have to say with a grain of salt, and wait until you hear from your family readiness officer (FRO) before jumping to conclusions.) Eventually the time came to pack up the car and drop off my husband at the designated spot.
     I will just make this part short and sweet. The military is all about "hurry up and wait." So that's what we did. In my head I thought I would say goodbye, get my last kiss and hug and watch him get on the sad white bus. It wasn't like that of course. It was a long drawn out process, and it sucked honestly. When the time finally came, I stayed behind to watch him get on that bus. He didn't see me standing there, but I watched him every step of the way until the doors closed and I couldn't see his face behind the tinted bus windows.
     The other wives had formed a small huddle. They were crying and holding each other. I was ashamed that I couldn't cry with them. My feelings were too raw, and I couldn't feel anything but anger. I was mad that I had to be at work in an hour. I was mad that no one wanted to give me a hug, or shoot me a text to see if I was okay. Most of all I was mad that my husband was going on a whole new adventure without me, and I was getting left behind to pick up the pieces and carry on...alone. I kept thinking about how pathetic my life was. "Emma, what are you doing here? You have no family here. You get to go home to nothing but cats for the next six months of your life." I know this doesn't seem very positive or encouraging, but let me get to the point. It's okay to be angry, as long as you don't allow it to consume you. Deployment is like the grieving process, and there are several different stages before you get to acceptance.
     It is now April, and I am fully adjusted to the "Independent Dependent" lifestyle. I have had to change three tires, unclog my bathtub twice, and learn to use a drill. I have eaten approximately 32 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, finished two-thirds of a cross stitch blanket, watched all the seasons of "Army Wives" on Netflix, and turned into an avid runner. (I did my very first 5k yesterday!) I am completely under control emotionally on a normal day, until yesterday. I got an email from the FRO titled, "Lava Dog Inbound Arrival Info." My Marine is coming home! Now what?! Of course I am thrilled, but I have to re-learn how to be an actual wife, and not someone who sends care packages and cleans up after a one person meal and only has to run the dishwasher once a week. It will definitely be a new experience, and I'm sure you'll hear allll about it!