I'm getting up on my soapbox, so if a little anger bothers you, go ahead and go, my feelings will not be hurt.
Here's the deal-we lived on Fort Benning for almost 13 years, surrounded by other military folks. When we moved to Savannah in January, it was weird living among civilians. Nice, but weird.
I realize now that I was sheltered at Fort Benning. I wasn't aware of what happens in the real world. People get divorced, do drugs, work hard and play hard. Not so different from the military community, but where I had lived there wasn't a lot of that.
This is where I need to vent. Most of our friends are civilians. Fine, I don't base my friends on what their job is. Most of them don't know a lick about military life. Okay, so it's my job to educate them.
I explained about Adam's deployments, the length and frequency of them. I've heard a few times, "Oh, that's not too bad. At least it's not 15 months."
I understand that 15 months must suck. But that's not how Adam's unit works. We're lucky enough that it's just a few months at a time, but it's also once a year that these deployments happen.
I want to scream. I want to ask them, "How about you put yourself in my shoes, when you wake up worrying and go to bed worrying for every day of that deployment about your husband? Why don't you parent your child alone, with no family around to help. Then come back and tell me, oh, that's not bad."
I'm not feeling sorry for myself. It's just that if you haven't been through it, you don't know, and telling me that it's not that bad insults me. Have you ever had to go buy a new washing machine on Christmas Eve by yourself, and get your friend to help you bring it in the house and set it up yourself? Then shut it. Have you had to put on a brave face for your 5-year-old son on Christmas morning, when he's opening his presents and your husband is listening through the phone, and it's killing you he's not there?
I know parents who are divorced go through a lot of same things. I have friends who are divorced. But their husband/wife is around to take care of the kids when they can't, or they have family who can relieve them of their parental duties now and then. I don't have that luxury.
My mom has taught me to never minimize someone else's problems or their pain. What might seem silly to you might be huge to me. I might think you're a loon because you lost your favorite pair of undies, but if they mean something to you, then shame on me for thinking that way.
The best advice I can give is to listen, just listen to a military spouse when they talk. You might hear through our bravado our pain, our pride, and our fear. Don't attempt to minimize our feelings. They are very real.