Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fiercely In-Dependent

A number of years ago, I came across this poem about what a military wife's life is all about.  Having had my husband deployed or displaced for nearly 3 of of 10 years of marriage, I can empathize with this greatly.  Read.. let it sink in...

A Military Wife: A Poem

Lots of moving...
Moving far from home...
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog...all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house;
Moving curtains that won't fit;
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends;
Moving toward new friends;
Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.

Often waiting...
Waiting for housing.
Waiting for orders.
Waiting for deployments.
Waiting for phone calls.
Waiting for reunions.
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home, For dinner...AGAIN!

They call her 'Military Dependent', but she knows better:
She is fiercely In-Dependent.

She can balance a check book;
Handle the yard work;
Fix a noisy toilet;
Bury the family pet...
She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes;
Sell a house;
Buy a car;
Or set up a move... .....all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
She reinvents her career with every PCS;
Locates a house in the desert, The Arctic, Or the deep south.
And learns to call them all 'home'.
She MAKES them all home.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty...
They leap into:
Career alternatives,
And friendships. They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:
They connect over coffee,
Rely on the spouse network,
Accept offers of friendship and favors.
Record addresses in pencil...

Military Wives have a common bond:
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a 'JOB'
He has a 'MISSION' that he can't just decide to quit...
He's on-call for his country 24/7.
But for her, he's the most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long- distance link to keep them informed;
the glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments:
She wants to wring his neck;
Dye his uniform pink;
Refuse to move to Siberia;
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days,
A travel brochure,
A long hot bath,
A pledge to the flag,
A wedding picture,
And she goes.
She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?
You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man,
Who puts duty first,
Who longs to deploy,
Who salutes the flag,
And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military Husband,
She will remain his military wife.
And would have it no other way.

--Author Unknown

5 Weeks to Wheels Up

We are 5 weeks away from heading off on the adventure of our lives - PCS to Naples, Italy.  And every day is accounted for!

Currently my husband is at the War College in Newport, RI until just two weeks prior to our departure.  Because of the Navy's infinite wisdom, we must fly him home on our own dime during those two weeks and then back to Newport, so he can then meet us in Dulles and fly together overseas...yes, that means I get to shlep the excess baggage for four of us and coral my kiddos to fly across the country.  No, they won't just change his ticket to fly from home.  "That's not what the orders read."  Oh well...luckily I have mad travel skills :)

This week will be a bittersweet one.  I am leaving a company I have worked for for nearly 15 years.  I have a highly successful career in project management for a leading defense contractor.  I met my husband here, I have great friends here and it is difficult to believe I will no longer be employed.  I've worked since I was 16 years old for crying tears!

But I tell everyone I'm getting a promotion.  Stay at home, military wife!  I'm not done working, I'm just done getting paid!

So the next few weeks look like this:

Week 1:

  • Last days of work, lots of parties, lunches and lots of work!  Much needs to be handled before I leave
  • Birthday/Bon Voyage party for our daughter whose birthday is in August, but won't be able to celebrate with her friends
Week 2:

  • Unaccompanied Baggage move
  • 2nd Long Term Storage move
  • Funeral for my husband's grandma
  • Survey for our HHG (HouseHold Goods Overseas) move
  • Going away brunch with my bible study gals
  • Going away lunch with the fellow growth group wives
Week 3:
  • Travel to see my mom with the kids (Grandma's house!) and my break :)
Week 4:
  • Husband comes home! 
  • HHG Move!
  • Beg friends for towels and some sleeping bags so we can camp out in our own home :)
Week 5:
  • Camp out in our empty home
  • School parties for my kids
  • Husband goes back to Newport
  • Have house cleaned and prepped for renters
  • Travel to Italy!
I have to just take one step at a time every day to keep sane.  I have so many little things to do to prepare for the big things, and so many big things that affect the little things.  I have lists everywhere - most are in my head.

It's a difficult time now, but I can't wait to see what our new life holds.  I feel like everything is going to change in my life.  My career, my roles as mom and wife, my hobbies (maybe I'll have some now) my time, my schedule, what I wear from day to day, everything will be different, new and reinvented.  

As I launch this new blog, I pray you might be encouraged by a fellow wife, mommy and woman that is navigating through a new life with faith and courage.  Godspeed!