HEALTH, WELLNESS AND MILITARY SANITY
The difference between most civilian families and military families is the roller coaster of emotions. This is what my humble opinion is, having been a military wife for only just about a year so far. Most American families have their schedules, steady homes, their jobs and their lives set and stable. They know what to expect and they know where they are going, for the most part. By the time the majority of us find ourselves to be parents, we have a pretty clear idea of how we will put food on the table and what goals we have for the future. So, stability. The kids need to be taken care of, no way around it! So we make a plan. And we raise the kids, enjoy our off days and weekends and vacations and live our expected lives. I know, because we had a baby and a family before we had the military and the US Army in our lives, in this household.
When my daughter was 8 months old my husband left for basic training and OCS. He was gone for 6 months. Just shy of 29, he decided to join the US Army and be an officer. I, being just shy of 30 cannot believe I have found myself to be a military wife. I had the hurdle of not wanting the lifestyle, not wanting at all to be in a military life, hating the alone times and being a pseudo single parent. I bitched and pissed and moaned. I certainly have cried. I have felt lonely over a beautiful meal I prepared for no one but myself. Even the baby is in bed, not that a 1 year old would care anyway about the mingling flavors of the ginger, tomato, pepper and soy I'd achieved with tonight's stir fry sauce. But it is just me. The endless tasks of taking the trash out, with the dog leash in one hand (so as to make fewer trips with the baby on a hip) and struggling to balance the squirming child and the mail in the other hand, and the like.
Alas, there are also moments of bliss in the lonely times. I get to have a perfectly clean house, just as I would have it. Never having to nag about last night's beer cans or picking up those stinky, misplaced, socks gets the mind a nice, cool break. My home is MY home. No one else's. It is cause for a celebration! I never have to discuss my plans, bills or money with anyone! I can't actually, because my husband and I were not allowed communication for some months. I live my life as a single girl and make my choices and love my free time and independance!
But then living in a town where you haven't chosen to live....not knowing anyone around you....feeling very stuck with NEVER having a babysitter...not yet registered at the Army base childcare service.....doctor appointments with a screaming child.....NEVER having a break to save your sanity and decompress....enldess packing and unpacking of boxes.....never getting to paint your home.....losing your cool and yelling back at a temper tantrum-ing near 2 year old......it is no way to live.
But wait....then there is only two more weeks until my husband returns home. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. He is heading across the country, my best friend, eagerly from his training to come see us! To kiss his wife, to have his TV back, to hug his baby, to have me take care of him as he has taken care of us and his country all this time. The joy of the suspense builds after all this time away. He returns! You remember why you fell in love! The rollercoaster thrill is exciting in this turn around the bend! You share big belly laughs again! Meals, walks, hugs, snuggles, a glass of wine, a dinner out, a trip to the grocery store, a brushing of teeth....together. All of these silly, little, mundane, things that the average American couple or family takes for granted, have now become our carnival! Our eagerly awaited boring, activities are cause for a Marti Gras-type celebration! We are so excited to be together again.
I currently feel happier than I have ever felt in my entire life. My husband was only gone for two months this time and I consider myself a lucky one. And I don't even care that I am not living at the beach. My husband, daughter and I have plans. We are going on exciting travels to Japan and who knows where else in the coming months! We are all together for the time being! And I have learned to remember these times and carry them with me in the inevitable hard times to come. Maybe those hard times wont be such a scary creep of the roller coaster ride. Maybe they will be more smooth as time goes by? Like the kiddie ride at the park.
So while the civilian family does not have as many ups and downs as the military family does, they may not have as much happiness and bliss as often, either. So I am not wishing for my life to be any different. We make a very good living, we do what ever we want, I get to stay home with my child, not work for a short time. I get to consider going and taking some more college classes with a military discount. I have a huge support at each Army base we live on or near. I have found the beauty in the military. I give thanks to all the soldiers who give their lives and their time, especially to my husband. He gets up every morning around 4am and goes to do his thing. We support each other and it feels amazing.
Even as I fought this whole idea, I knew there was a valuable lesson for me in all of this. It is finding the wellness and balance in your mind even the hardest of times, then that trickles down into the wellness of your body. I often think about holocaust survivors, slavery and those who have lost loved ones in war or to disease, whenever I am struggling. Even those people in the past have found the Light to look to, the faith to keep. Who am I to complain about anything? I always believed that the Light is there, ever present, helping us find our way through this mystical and beautiful life.
Bring wellness to your family, your mind and your spirit by not trying so hard to fight or win. Love and ease will find its way into your life if you stop, lay back, try to be peaceful and let go a little bit. Trying hard even at happiness blocks the way for anything good to come in. Let go! Breathe. Conform. And in comes the drenching waters of love, peace and beauty.
Army wife, out