If your significant other, husband, wife or partner is a soldier, this is for you.
1. The Unknown
For me, this is the doozy. The absolute worst thing about loving a man in the army. I for one will never become accustomed to the uncertainty of literally everything. Deployments we didn’t have enough time to prepare for and those last minute changes of plan are the worst. The motto in our home is to expect the unexpected. If you’re in a relationship with a soldier, you know just what I mean when I say last minute.
2. The Laundry
IT NEVER ENDS. And it all looks the same. Has your SO ever said “Honey can you grab my good ACUs?” How in the world can he expect me to know the good ACUs from the bad ACUs? When your living room looks like an evergreen forest you know you’re preparing for a deployment or annual training. I won’t even get started on the boots...everywhere.
3. The Distance
Sure, they say distance makes the heart grow fonder but they never said it would be easy. Spending so much time away from a loved one is one heck of an adjustment when you’re not used to such. Luckily my SO joined after we met so we had boot-camp separation to prepare us for a lengthy deployment.
4. The Absence
When you have kids, this has to be one of the greatest challenges. In the normal world, when mom or dad is gone for a day it’s chaos...make that 8 weeks to over a year and you’ll be wondering why you thought this army thing was a good idea in the first place. But then you remember your SO’s purpose and explain it to the kiddos, reminding them that every day is another day closer to a welcome home hug (and some sanity).
5. The Housework
Moving the lawn, jumping the battery in your SO’s car (because you were supposed to drive it once a week but forgot all about it), taking out the trash, kids, dogs, the light bulb that has been out since the day after they left that you have been ignoring for weeks. You name it, it’s on the to-do list. It’s not that you can’t handle it on your own but it’s nice to have someone hold the ladder so you don’t fall, right?
Enough with the bad----Let’s relish in the good!
After all, a healthy mindset is what really helps us get by regardless of direction in life.
1. The Letters
There is nothing like writing a letter to the love of your life, sticking a stamp on that bi!ch and waiting, and waiting and waiting for a response. But honestly, it really is sooo romantic if you ask me (I’m a huge sucker for The Notebook if you couldn’t tell). When the mail carrier finally has a letter for you, it’s like Christmas morning when you’re 5 years old; just promise me you won’t knock the mailman down when you hug him for doing his job so well.
2. The Dress Blues
Let’s be real here, your honey in his blues will make it hard to stay focused on anything else. I’ll just leave it at that.
3. The Gratitude
When people thank your SO for their service, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you partner is anything like mine, they shrug it off like it’s another day at the office. But then you get to thinking...our soldiers and all service men and women are the reason we continue to have the freedoms we do, the safety, the comfort. Some days when you find it hard to accept your way of life, the army life, the gratitude from strangers brings you back.
4. The Welcome Home
Could there be anything better? The day you get to pick your SO up from the airport, base, train station or hotel is second to none. The signs, t-shirts, babies, pets...I can’t get enough. What I would not recommend is a welcome home party the day your SO returns (I’ve seen it, it doesn’t play out well).
5-9. The Camaraderie, The Sisterhood/brotherhood, The New & Old Friends, The Support of Their Unit, the Holiday Parties---TOP NOTCH. These are perks you can’t find anywhere else.
10. The Love
There is nothing like loving a man or woman who gives them self to their country. The day they enlist makes you realize that even though it may be a different kind of lifestyle, it’s a lifestyle based on a single person’s devotion and dedication to their country, their loved ones and our freedoms.
In my eyes, service men and women are the best kind of people and I’m eternally grateful.
To my soldier who I haven’t seen in far too long… I LOVE YOU!