Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Because I feel the need ...

Let me preface by saying that I am in no way complaining in this post. I used to be a huge whiner, until the advent of Facebook. When I saw people who constantly bitched about how awful everything was, I took a good look at myself and decided I did not want to be that thoroughly annoying asshole everyone ended up either unfriending or hiding from their feed.

I do feel the need, though, to tell what normal, everyday life is like for both myself and my family. I used to run my mouth a lot, to try to right the wrongs of the world. I've also learned that sometimes it's better to just keep my mouth shut, although it's been hard. I can't make whiners into Sally Sunshines. If they are going to complain, they're going to complain.

These are facts: Adam, my husband, is a first sergeant in a special operations unit in the Army. He started out as private way back in 1995. I was dating him then. I've been along for the ride the entire 15 years he's been in the Army, and in the same unit for 14 of those years, after basic training and airborne school. If I ever open my mouth to offer advice to other wives, it's because most likely I've been there, done that, and even got the T-shirt. It's not because I think I know better than them. Chances are, I've probably been through a similar situation.

Another fact: I have a son who is 11 years old. We are riding that slippery slope of the pre-teen years, and hormones are starting to come into play.

Explaining what life is like for us only applies to us. Our life is not what the normal Army life is like. Sure, there are similarities, but in reality, they are two different worlds.

Fast fact: The bulk of my family and Adam's family live in Massachusetts. It's more than a 20-hour drive from here in Georgia. I am lucky enough to have my only sister a mere 6 hours from our house. So, if you ask me to try to plan to do something months in advance, I cannot guarantee I can make it. This life of ours is not dependable. I can't just ask Adam to please be home at a certain time because I won't be there for Addison. I would gander that 99.99% of the responsibility for Addison falls on me. I'm fine with that. That is why I have chosen not to work in the past few years.

The 10 years I did work was part-time. Most of it was done from home. When I did have to go into the office, Addison was with me. It was perfect. I wanted Addison to know the stability of having one parent he knew was always there. That is not a dig at Adam. It is the nature of his job, of the military.

Super fun fact: The higher your rank in the military, the more responsibility you garner, therefore, your hours will become longer. It's hard for me to bite my tongue when I see or hear wives complain at the time their husbands get home. It's the military. There are no set work hours. So many times I want to point out that most days, my husband is getting home hours later than their husbands. But that seems immature to me now. I don't need validation for being patient. I want to see my husband more than an hour a day, but I also understand that he has a LOT of work, and that it never gets done before he leaves for the night. He is a stand-up, good, hardworking family man. We all have a certain level of co-dependency borne out of living this life the past 15 years. But complaining isn't going to make him come home faster. And I would never, EVER nag him. I think he appreciates this.

I know he has thanked me for letting him do the job he loves. I am glad he has a job, and one that he loves. Not too many people can say that nowadays. I support him wholeheartedly in every aspect of his work.

This hasn't always been an easy life, but it's been good to us. I would love to be able to have Addison grow up near his grandparents, and to have his cousins in the same town. So many times I longed to instantly be at my mother-in-law's house, letting her take care of me and cook me supper, as selfish as that sounds. Sometimes I become very weary of being responsible. I want to be taken care of, just for a day. I don't want to worry about what is for supper, making sure the laundry is done, the house clean, homework done, or trying to figure out what time Adam will actually be home.

One more thing about our life: We can't just decide when we would like to go on vacation. The unit plans the two times a year Adam gets his vacation time (it's called "leave" for all of you civilians). Four weeks a year is great when I see how many years civilians have to put into a typical job to get that many vacation days. We were incredibly lucky that last summer and this summer we were able to actually go on vacation to Florida, because Addison was out of school.

I do feel like I left out some basics: Like I said before, there are no set working hours for Adam. He leaves the house every morning before 5 a.m. He is usually home sometime after 6 p.m. Every day is different. We are lucky enough that he gets a smattering of three- and four-day weekends here and there. There are also the times he cannot be more than two hours outside of the area. He is in charge of a company of Soldiers. Some of these Soldiers get into trouble. I have been woken up countless times because these guys were arrested for DUI, fighting, you name it. Again, it's the nature of his job.

There's a lot of things people don't know about the military. I have no problem letting people know what military life is like, and that's just as a wife. I'm sure if Adam sat down and wrote out what a typical day is like for him, a lot of people wouldn't even believe him.

I wrote a lot of this in my head today. Typing it out, it's totally different. It sounded great in my head. I think I got my point across. I hope so.

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