.......and yet

So today I sit and listen to the distant sound of TAPS being played, another quiet moment..... I am left thinking about how much my husband has missed so far since he has been gone and what he will have missed when he comes home for good.....the birthdays, Easter, Mother's Day, last day of school, Father's Day, Prom, 4th of July, our trip to the beach, first day of school, and he will miss Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Years and then the birthdays again because of the extension. You know I was in denial on that for the longest time, yet from the first day of his first tour I was the one that told spouses to never get wrapped around a number. He'd been extended before and that return date is never something you can count on......and yet you cant help it, and so I have to admit even with four back to back deployments with less then a year between any of them, I was not willing to own up to the fact that he was going to be gone 15-16 months. But will say that recently I came to terms with my denial and owned up to the fact when he changed his leave dates......that the fact that he was coming home at 9 months instead of 6 just meant that the amount of time left after he returns is still going to be the same.....

I think one of the hardest parts in all of it is thinking about my son and that when you add up the time his Dad has been gone, it will amount to more then half of his life.......and there are so many children just like him. And yet.....they are the resilient ones in all of this. I guess we could all take a page from their books. He is NOT in denial....

Looking at the lives of military children and think about the sacrifice they give unknowingly, it's not like they had a choice in it....and they don't know any different.....they are the real unsung heroes in the War right now. My son had just turned 4 when his father left for Kosovo in 2002 and since then his father has been deployed more then home, sometimes with as little as 4 months in between his rotations......he is such a trooper about the whole thing. He misses him alot, but he hugs Daddy goodbye and tells him to be safe. As he has gotten older he has gotten to be quite affectionate with his mother, always there to help out....going from little guy, to young man and I try to think back to when he started growing up and I can't quite put my finger on it.....and my daughters, well they grew up too. I thank God that I captured it in pictures because without them, I would have no memory of any of them growing up, it seemed to have happened over night......does a life in the military that is affected by War make you grow up faster?

I think my husband and I have reached that stage in our lives at almost 40, where we are ready to move on to the next stage in our lives......the one where he needs to step into a position with the Army where there is less deployment. Either that or bid it a fond farewell and go ahead and retire. Our children have lived this life and only this life. I think it's time we offer them some something more......maybe a little peace and stability....and yet it is the only life any of us have really ever known. But now it's a life filled with web cams and long distance phone calls, instead of good night kisses and hugs. Constant moves and deployments, instead of the same school for two years and Dad coaching the football team. Fear of the unknown and what ifs instead of knowing that in two months both of their parents will be attending a school program.......what kind of life are we giving our children? Sure, we are all proud to be the wife or child of a hero in today's military, but at what cost? When do we say that we have had our children sacrifice enough?

But how do you just walk away? I'd love to hear how others out there, that are facing the same decision feel about it........What do you do? How do you leave the only life you have ever known as an adult, the only one you have ever been exposed to? How do you walk away as a soldier and as a leader and join the civilian world? How do you, as a spouse leave the families you have spent 20 some years with laughing and crying, supporting and helping, leaning on and growing up with and just move on to a life that has nothing to do with the them, this life or the Army?

I feel a little lost here.....my life and identity and that of my husband as well, has been shaped and defined entirely by the Army. Both of us are who we are because of, and when you think of about it, in spite of it too.....how do we both give up what has made us who we are? But at some point you have to weigh the pros against the cons, justify the means by the end.....so when I look at my children and see the hint of sadness in their eyes and their father hears the hint of fear in their voices, both of us knowing what the right thing to do is........ at the end of the day there is still that, AND YET.......


  1. Your post was so well-written, I just had to comment, although I have no advice.
    Sounds like our lives are a little flip-flopped.
    I'm just beginning to have a tatse of the Army. I'll be 40 soon, my DH is 43, and he recently rejoined after being a civilian since well before we met. I'm in the middle of his first deployment...and surviving.

  2. triplee,

    this is a wonderful life....a life I love, one my husband loves, we have just spent so much of it apart and we remember when it was not always like this. I have an enormous amount of respect for service members and their families just entering it and those who continue to reenlist to remain serving, but after so many years you start to wonder when do you feel that you have to make a change to begin to live a life where the Army no longer is the main focus of who you are and what you do. I admire you and your husband for starting out on this adventure, I'm also a little envious...part of me wishes I could do it all again.

  3. Wow,
    That was quite a read. I don't think I have any advise either since it is my son serving and not a spouse. All I can say is it is difficult to make changes and that you have to do what is in the best interest of your family. Hard choices. I truly admire families that have made the military their life.


  4. An extremely well-written post, ASW.

    I have no real advice to offer, either, even though my father was career USAF, I was career USAF (22 yrs), and my two adult sons are career military, one USAF and one Navy. My Navy son has spent literally years at sea... so separation is no stranger to me and mine.

    The problem with advice, as I see it, is each person's situation is unique, even though external circumstances would/could lead you to believe we're (military families) all in the same boat. The best I can offer is: you'll know when the time comes to hang it up. There might be a twinge of doubt here and there, but in your heart of hearts, you'll know.

    And...to inject a little levity into what is otherwise a VERY serious discussion... MY time came when I realized I was saluting lieutenants that were only slightly older than my sons. It was time to go! ;-)

  5. Buck,

    Tonight, I did a brief with a unit that is deploying and the soldiers came through and we went over their DD93 information, NOK and so forth and on some when we got to the spouse part a few laughed....and when I asked they were like, 'mam I just graduated high school, I'm not ready to have the 'ol wife yet.....and I realized that I am ready to have a child that age soon and here these young men were about the same age.....and so yeah, that time is fast approaching....if we begin to gear it on the age of soldiers.....

    I guess I have a little issue with separation anxiety =]

    Buck, thank you for your service to our country, and for all of you, thank you for your family's continued service to our country!

    Thanks for the input from all of you!


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