We’ve been doing this military thing for 16 years…enough time that I’m officially not a newbie in this role as a spouse; I’d even go as far as saying that I’m “seasoned.” But today…today I’m simply tired of being a military spouse.
My history with the military (on paper) is short and sweet and can be summed up in one sentence: I started out a military girlfriend for four years, and then we got married; so for the past 12 years I’ve been his dependent.
I’ve grown to hate that word, because I’m anything but dependent, and I’m pretty sure every military spouse I’ve ever come across will tell you the same thing.
Don’t worry, this isn’t that kind of post. It’s not the one where a bitter military spouse complains about having to solo parent and do all the things and finally wants some credit.
To be clear, I’m usually the one with a rally cry for other spouses, giving them a “You’re doing awesome,” pep talk, cheering them on from one TDY to the next, offering a shoulder for them to cry on, or bringing them a meal for those long solo-parenting days.
In all honesty, you’d usually find me writing a, “To the Tired Military Spouse: You’ve Got This” post, so this is out of the ordinary for me.
Even in real life I often try to skip the woe-is-me mentality, and instead I buck up and get things done, finding ways to turn a crappy situation around to make things better and more positive.
But today…today I’m tired. And that’s okay. Even seasoned spouses are allowed to have bad, sad, lonely, and tired days.
Today actually wasn’t any different than any of my other solo-parenting days.
The kids (we have three of them under the age of nine) were actually pretty great, and nothing inherently went wrong. But my husband mentioned to me in passing that the deployment he’s currently on will likely be extended, and that was the straw that broke my back.
It’s nothing new and nothing I haven’t heard and dealt with more than a dozen times, but it just made me sad. Sad, actually, that it wasn’t new. Sad that I had a feeling this was coming, because it’s more of the norm rather than the exception.
It’s another post-deployment trip that will have to be cancelled (thank goodness for insurance), and I’ll have to tell the kids (again) that the dates are changing; they’re old enough now that I can’t keep that date under the rug from them anymore.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s fine and we’ll get through it, but it just stinks.
We have four years left, and thinking about those 1,460+ more days just exhausts me.
How many more nights will I sleep alone in the house? How many more days will I have to play the roll of both parents, and be the one to pick up the slack and do all the things around the house? How many times will we have to readjust to him coming back, only to leave again a few weeks/months later?
The amount of TDY’s, deployments, short-notice deployments, extensions, and 365s he’s endured is just too many to count at this point. And the only thing they really add up to is him simply not being here.
Sure, things are vastly different from our first deployment almost two decades ago. I remember waiting nervously for that patched-through phone call to come in, and literally crying myself to sleep when I missed it for one reason or another. Because back then you couldn’t just FaceTime or WhatsApp them whenever you wanted. There was a process, and if there was a bad connection or a missed call, life just moved on, and you waited for the next one.
But I’m just tired now.
Exhausted, really…and lonely. I want my husband back, and I selfishly want him all to ourselves.
I want him to have a cushy 9-5 job where I know he’s coming home every evening on time. I want my kids to know that if they have a soccer game, ballet recital, career day at school, or their birthday, that he.will.be.there.
I don’t want to be their bearer of bad news anymore, telling them that he’s not coming home on time, or be the one to turn the radio down or switch channels, because I don’t want them to hear about what’s going on “over there” where he is. They’re still too young to have to worry about current events while their tender hearts just miss their dad.
Thankfully I know we’re getting closer to being on our way out the door and into a whole other stage of our lives (that will come with their own issues).
But today I was just tired of it, so I threw myself a pity-party for one. Tomorrow, though; tomorrow I’ll do what I do best: start cancelling reservations, suck it up, and move on. Here’s to tomorrow.