The reality of Military Life is that home is where they put us, challenges come up and the rewards are many. Military spouses are a resilient bunch, and most of the time I can honestly say I enjoy the new adventure that come with moving and knowing that “home” could be on a base anywhere in the world.
But every now and then, I long to have a life with the same neighbors, the same doctors, the same friends and the same community. I long to be there for our nieces birthdays, nephews graduations, cousins weddings, family dinners, crowded holidays and even the chaos that all of those events bring.
Last week when I was in the labor and delivery area waiting for our first grand-daughter to be born, I had a moment when the reality of my Army Life hit me square in the face and it wasn’t pleasant. It was a moment when I realized that sometimes this life is really hard. I hated the fact that I can’t live closer to my children. I hated the fact that our parents, brothers, sisters and all their children weren’t there to share in our joy of becoming grandparents. I hated that I can’t help my daughter on a regular basis, and that I won’t be there for the little things. I hated that our friends are scattered all around the country. I hated that my battle buddies, movie pals and best friends live so far away.
My “hate moment” was triggered in the strangest of places. I mean who has a hate moment when their daughter is giving birth? I guess I do, but let me explain before you judge me :). You see, there was a family, a huge multi-generational extended family that took up the ENTIRE room. Just like us they were waiting for an addition to their family. Just like us they were nervous, excited and tired. But they had each other, and we didn’t.
It was bittersweet to watch the dynamics that this family shared. The cousins trying to keep the little ones busy, the “men” razing the expectant dad each time he came in with an update. Lots of chaos, lots of commotion, lots of love and most of all lots of family togetherness. I loved to see everyone together sharing the important moments. And I miss that.
In that moment I realized that it was time to “get my act together”. Here I was during one of the most important times of our lives, and I was “hating” on the reality of my life. OK maybe I was nervous, what mom isn’t when their baby is going through labor, but WHAT THE HELL! Thankfully I understand that feelings happen, that you can’t control when they surface, and I know from experience that you can’t just stuff them. So I let myself “go there” and processed, and I realized that while I was feeling “the hatred” it was misdirected. The reality is that I do not hate the military life, what I do hate is The Distance that the army life creates.
With the “Army Life” you have to conquer “The Distance”. The distance becomes the challenge that so many of us must overcome in order to thrive and deal with this crazy life. It is the thing that can bring you down if you don’t learn to manage it. For me, The Distance is the hardest thing I’ve had to cope with as a military spouse. And this time it was no different.
Celebrating birthdays, news, and events via phone calls, instant messages and skype just isn’t the same. When Facebook, Twitter and Text Messaging become the fastest way to communicate because of crazy schedules, deployments and endless training, it stinks. And when your spouse is gone and you are alone in a city missing the chaos and commotion, it hits you how great “The Distance” really is.
Yes, The Distance is the thing, the thing that as an Army Wife I hate. But if I’m going to hate something, I think that The Distance is the thing to hate…..
Discussion Moment: As a military spouse what is the thing you hate about Military Life?
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com