To be honest, I actually started writing this a couple of weeks ago when I found out my husband had to work on our anniversary when we thought he would be off…you know, since it was a Saturday. I just needed to vent, so I took to writing but decided not to post it. Then recently learning that my husband would no longer be able to go on vacation with our son and me sparked my need to finish my thoughts and share my words…
I never want to over shadow my husband or anyone else who signed to defend our freedom, but sometimes I wish more people understood what it was like being on the other side. To have a glimpse into a small aspect of the life of the one who fell in love with the person who signed on the line, and continues to sign the dotted line. It isn’t always easy. Whether there are work ups, deployments, schools, or trainings. It doesn’t always matter what event may be happening in your life, duty comes first. That can be hard to swallow sometimes, to know that you are basically second unless there is an emergency.
My husband and I had decided to choose recruiting duty as a permanent option for the rest of his Marine Corps career so that he would be home when we started a family. We thought that a few nights or even weeks away would be better than a deployment (my hat is off to those parents who have children and go through deployments! I honestly don’t know how you do it.). I thought that recruiting duty would allow for more time at home and more leave(vacation) time to spend as a family.
I will always support my husband in his career, and I couldn’t be more proud of him, but that doesn’t always make it easy…on either of us. When you think of something as simple as time off, be it the weekends, holidays, or vacation time; most people don’t know that this time off is not always guaranteed when the military is involved. It isn’t like in the civilian world where it hits 5pm on a Friday and you clock out for the weekend; or you submit your vacation, it is approved, and that is that, go enjoy your vacation. In the military, your leave time can be solely dependent upon another person. In my husband’s case, his leave is dependent on whether his office has made mission by a specific date. If that person going to enlist or enroll doesn’t sign the dotted line, for what ever reason, you can often kiss your time off goodbye…whether evenings, the weekend, or a vacation. Even with so much time off available, you can’t always get it. How frustrating is that?!
I can’t imagine how hard it is on my husband to miss so much of our lives. Last year alone he missed Dalton’s first trip to Disney World, New York and the beach in Destin, Florida (Dalton’s first time seeing the ocean). This year he missed the space launch at NASA with a side trip to Destin and now he will miss a trip to Pensacola, Florida. I know some people might wonder why Dalton and I still go on these trips without my husband. It’s because my husband always says he would never want Dalton to miss out on a trip because he couldn’t get the time off work.
So… what led me to want to share these thoughts? As I mentioned above, last month was our 11 year wedding anniversary. The hubs and I were hoping to steal away time together, but he found out the day before he had to work. I felt so disappointed, not at my husband, but at the situation. I feel like I should have been expecting this let down with how much he has been working and felt foolish for getting my hopes up. We don’t have family down the street who can come babysit all the time, so when we think we are going to get time together, it means so much to us. Dalton and I ended up going with him to work that Saturday so we could at least be together, but it was in no way the anniversary we thought we would have.
Then to find out that my husband could not go on another trip with us was honestly gut wrenching. Dalton and I have been so fortunate to be invited on so many trips with my brother’s family, but it is always upsetting when we find out my husband can’t come with.
When Dalton and I can travel, I try and make the best of the adventure, but always think how much better it would be if his dad could be with us. I know it is these little memories that my husband will never get back. That I will always remember, but my husband will never have experienced with us. An added gut punch is knowing that my husband is at home, working, wishing he could be with his family, but has to live vicariously through the photos and videos I send to him instead. It can just be really shitty at times.
As I mentioned, this is nothing against the military men and women who offer their lives to protect ours, just a little glimpse into what it can be like for the military wife trying to plan…well basically any event from the weekends to vacations when the military is involved.