Being a military family has it's benefits; it really does. We get to travel to many different places, and learn new things, and make new friends as we live in an area.
We chose to come to Alaska for many different reasons. From a pilot's perspective, you'd be crazy not to pass up the opportunity to be here, especially if it's outright offered to you, because some wait their whole lives to get here, and some never make it. As we were making our decision on which Post to PCS to, we took into account that the world is changing, and that Alaska in all it's beauty might not be the same years in the future, as it is today; the natives are saying that the winters now are not like they were, due to global warming. We wanted to give our children a chance to see it for what it is NOW. And the fact that my husband's Branch Manager told him that there were no expected deployments while we would be here, was bonus!
But...this is the military folks! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is ever a promise. (The pessimist in me just knew that this was going to happen, so I was a tad mentally prepared.)
Because everyone else is out in either Afghanistan or Iraq, our guys were sent out to do humanitarian aid, and heavy cargo lifting in Pakistan for the four months leading up to Christmas.
And here is where I jump off, and rant. And use run-ons. And begin my sentences with words like, And, But, and Because; with lots of parenthesis...
(My high school English teacher would really be so proud. While I'm at it, let me give a big shout-out to my college English 101 teacher too.)
Separations are never easy. Especially when they are unexpected. So, imagine my surprise when Phillip came home one afternoon and poured himself two finger fulls of Glenlevit (we are not "drinkers"), and told me he had "something to tell me". Enter expletive...HERE.
I'm not a woman who accepts change very well, and moving to Alaska after living in Texas for 5 years (close to family, close to THINGS TO DO) was a huge adjustment for me.
And so, there goes the husband...again.
As a military wife (and family), you have to learn to adapt to whatever comes at you. And it can be very taxing when too many changes come your way in a short time. But, you do what you have to do, and it is what it is.
I often remind one of my close friends that one day, we'll have our reunion in some beach resort somewhere, and while our husbands are sharing stories on flying, we'll share ours on how we coped with it all, etc. etc. Someday, we will smile at this. At times, I already do.
It's empowering. It's exhausting.
When they're gone, the ones left behind are dealing with many things. We know that they would give almost anything to not be there, and we know that being here is better than being there. I try to keep that in mind, as I play the many roles required of a military spouse and mother.
There's always the encouragement that they will be home soon; whenever that is. Because nothing is ever written in stone (I believe I've said something like that already in this post), and the roller coaster ride of rumors is always just a "blast" to be on. "When" is a major question. And I'm not going to depress you all by mentioning the constant worry that looms over your head on "IF" they're coming home (oh, I just did).
Here's where things start to speed up...
But, Alas! You get the official notification (after weeks of rumors) that your husband will be home for the Holidays! Joy! And a bit of guilt. Because, you have friends out there who's husbands won't be home to open presents, eat the cookies, put the toys together. But you know that they are happy for you, as you will be for them, when their time comes. (We're all in this together, us military wives.)
So, you've received word that he's coming home. You start "nesting" like a pregnant woman expecting that brand-spanking new baby to arrive. You want everything to be just right. The house. The kids. The linen closet. YOU.
I might be speaking for only myself here, but when he does come home, I fight that constant inner battle to "give up" and let him do everything that he's missed doing (like taking out the trash, gassing up the car...), because I know that eventually he'll be gone again, and I don't want to have to struggle to get myself back into the Be-the-Independent-Woman mode again. So, I try to stay in it. (The whole coming home thing is like a gumbo pot of emotions and experiences, for everyone; even the cat.)
And, he's so excited to be home. He's able to take a hot shower, sleep in his own bed, wash his own clothes, and able to cook his favorite meals (to eat bacon!). He's having fun with being able to do everything that he couldn't for so long, and for me, it can be a bit hard to watch it all happen, because I know that I take it all for granted. We tend to spend all sorts of money on having fun, eat at all of our favorite restaurants, get that new iPad, etc, etc. Because DADDY'S HOME! You get it? There goes the checkbook, Sally!
He also sees that he may not be "needed" so much around the house anymore. Mom's got it. That, I'm sure, can be a bit damaging to a man's ego. But, I can assure you that he's definitely wanted. And Mom just needs to let go, and let things happen; let go of some control, and hand it over to someone else for the time being. Because, Darn It, it feels so good to have my best friend home!
For now, all is right in our household.
We're all excited. A new chapter has begun. The next deployment looming over our heads (we're never sure where or when), is not gonna slow us down.
As with anything in this world, it's all in how you roll with it.