United in marriage but not geographically, Military life is tough. That’s probably a horribly unjust, understatement but I can say with conviction, that being married and living more apart than together is one of the most challenging situations I have ever found myself in.
When I post pictures of me smiling in beautiful places around the world does my life look perfect? They aren’t supposed to translate as ‘look at me, look where I am, look how much greater my life is than yours’ because when I post them I am simply living in the moment, elated by the fact that I have the opportunity to be with my husband or be briefly content without having to worry about when that fleeting happiness will cloud over. In five years we have been given one clean break of 9 months together. We have spent just 15 months out of five years side by side. From conducting a relationship between Germany, Ireland and the US to Afghan deployments and field training exercises, we have been through hell to stay together.
I keep seeing the quote ‘there’s seven days in a week but someday isn’t one of them’, well in the military ‘someday’ is the hope that keeps you going. Someday we won’t have to keep moving. Someday we can start a family. Someday we can make friends we won’t have to leave. Someday we’ll see more of our families. Someday I’ll be home before 9pm. Someday we can eat dinner together.
We await another year apart, another year of wondering where he is and worrying about his safety. Another year of pleading with technology to stay connected. Another year of family celebrations, birthdays, holidays and anniversaries celebrated alone, trips away cancelled and all the days in between wishing it wasn’t so. The Army is the reason we met and has provided us with many opportunities. But it has taken thrice as much. The time lost can never be given back and years and years of memories went unmade. We make the most of every second together and will continue to do so.
Something bothers me and it’s so brain-achingly stupid! With the blog and social media comes many, many statistics, analytics and insights. I’ve noticed as of late the negative feedback on my facebook posts and interestingly enough not blog shares but personal posts: photos, specifically. I sat pondering why someone is so irritated by my smiling face that they need to conduct a physical action to not see it any longer. Or why someone is so displeased by the idea of my being home to the extent that they need to hide an image of what is also their own home in response. It’s a sad state of affairs when I (someone who considers themselves very weak when it comes to dealing with the burdens I have) can manage to find silver linings to keep pushing through the huge obstacles that the Army creates in our lives but someone else’s biggest problem is my face. During my saddest times it makes me realize how good I actually have it for if it meant behaving like that, I’d happily take this stress for five more years.
My plea to such people (and all people) is to go out and enjoy your life. Savor every second and be grateful for what you have every day that others long for. Let the world and the people in it influence you positively. Don’t sit on facebook hating someone’s face. It’s probably not enriching your life in any way.
“How long have you been together?”, is just one of the questions I am tired of answering.
Sixty months; Two hundred and sixty one weeks; One thousand eight hundred and twenty five days;
However you measure time, that is how long we have been together.
“It must be so hard, him being gone all the time”, is another one.
Ten birthdays, five of every major holiday, the anniversaries and one wedding.
That makes thirty-six occasions.
Just four were celebrated together.
“Yeah, it is but it could be worse”
A cliche, a cliche that is so frighteningly true. We are proof of its sentiments.
It has only ever got worse, not better.
“At least it won’t be for much longer!”
Do they have no concept of time?
Now say, “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”
“No it’ll fly”,
The ultimate white lie.
Happy Birthday, husband. Happy Birthday wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Here’s to the future and raising our glasses from afar, sending virtual kisses and counting down days until we are together again. Shared, real-time, real-life experiences are not things we can take for granted. And while everyone else looks forward to Friday, Military families are always given the gift (or the curse) of an extra day – some day.