Archives for the month of: November, 2011

Expectations are a luxury as an Army Wife, it seems. Where as when we were ‘civilians’, I expected to hear from SB all the time, and I expected him to update me on where he was, when he’d be home, who he was with, and all of that, now I have had to let go of this expectation of knowing what’s going on with him. This is hard. The last two wednesdays, SB has called…tonight he didn’t. Even though I knew not to EXPECT him to call, I HOPED he would. So where is the line between expecting and hoping?

As a civilian couple, you expect that your husband will not miss out on Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, the birth of your children, and all those other important events. As an Army Wife, this expectation turns to hope. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to not miss out on anything important (although it has only been two weeks), but I have to be honest with you; my biggest hang-up and heartache in this whole process is trying to wrap my head around the fact that my husband may not be here for the birth of our children. While this isn’t something I should worry about now, it still takes my breath away (in a bad way) when I consider the possibility that the moment I have longed for and imagined for basically my whole life, might be completely overshadowed by a missing husband. But anyway…not to worry about that now. Back to the point…

When everyone else expects, Army Wives hope.

Up until this point, I have posted 9 Army Wife Lessons on my Facebook. In the 2 weeks since I kissed my soldier goodbye, 9 moments have stood out as contrary to my previous, non-military marriage, and thus warranted a Facebook status.

Here we go…the first 9 Lessons (copied from Facebook)(sorry it’s SO long, I think I vented a bit too much):

Army Wife Lesson #1: drop EVERYTHING when he calls/texts…I now have 1 shaved leg.

I had kissed my man goodbye only the previous morning and I was kind of in shock still (i think that must be what that kicked-in-the-stomach feeling was), and I hadn’t anticipated any contact for a little while. So I got in the shower to de-monkify (here I use ‘monk’ in the context of an abbreviation of ‘monkey’), and who should call the second I started my second leg…soldier boy! So of course I JUMPED out of the shower and had my first marriage-by-phone moment, after which I really had to try and be monkishly zen (here I use ‘monk’ in the sense of a real, live-in-the-monastery kind of Monks). 

Army Wife Lesson #2: you may feel fine one second and like you can’t breathe the next…just hung up from the final call before entering Kapooka and having contact seriously diminish.

So the soldiers took a couple of days to get to Kapooka (where basic training is held), and during that time they could text/call more frequently because they were on a bus and such. So I had heard from Solider Boy a couple of times and I was feeling good. I was feeling strong, calm, and excited for him (and even for me). Then the night they got to Kapooka, I got a call that went something like this: 

Me (seeing his name pop up on my phone): “Hey! I didn’t expect to hear from you again for awhile! How are…”

Soldier Boy (cutting me off): “this will be my last call for awhile, I have to make it in front of someone, I’ll talk to you when I can”

Me: “wha…?”

SB: “I have to go”

Me: “oh ok, what I don’t get it? I love you! have fu…”

SB: dial tone

I felt like I had been slapped across the face. I didn’t understand, what just happened? And that’s when my carefully built, i-will-be-the-best-army-wife-ever, i-will-never-cry-or-feel-sad wall crumbled. He was gone, and I had no idea when I would hear from him next. I still haven’t asked him about this call, but I do understand now that it was not an attack, but simply a small window of time he would have been given to say goodbye and I had made it confusing by expecting more, so I guess what I really learnt is to just listen and go with what they have to say so that you don’t ruin a phone call fighting against a message that wasn’t what I wanted or expected.

Army Wife Lesson #3: waiting for contact will drive you crazy, and drain your battery…I keep checking my phone to see if I’ve missed a call/text like every 2 mins.

I have managed to stop doing this, but I do have my phone with me AT ALL TIMES on THE LOUDEST setting. I literally strap it to my body at work, and when I don’t have it with me I panic. This brings me to Lesson #4…

Army Wife Lesson #4: facials are essential for your wellbeing…although I did almost hit the girl when she asked me to turn my phone off.

I love facials (who doesn’t?). So I booked myself one for a couple of days after SB left to cheer me up. I entered the room with my phone clutched in my hand (the normal position I could be found in) and she politely asked me to turn off my phone. I lost it and babbled something about my husband being gone and how I couldn’t possibly part from my phone but I would put it on silent. She looked at me like “ummm, oooook?” (you know the look), and left the room. In the end, I actually did put my phone away (on silent, not off), because I reasoned with myself that it was a weekday morning and there was no way he was going to call (which he didn’t). But if there had been a missed call, there’s no telling what I would have done to the little facial giver. 

Army Wife Lesson #5: you may feel bipolar at times…crying because there is a couple in love on a super crap tv-show one minute, and celebrating R&R with dancing and cheering the next!

I don’t really cry, I’m not a cryer. But I find the silliest things bringing me to (almost) tears. One minute I will be (almost) crying and then I will get a call from SB and be overjoyed (although the fall after we hang up is usually pretty big). On this particular day I was missing SB and he called to tell me that he was unexpectedly coming home for a few weeks in December! I thought I was going to miss Christmas and his birthday (NYE) with him this year, but he’s coming home! I danced and jumped up and down (which would have been totally normal except I was driving at the time – miracle I didn’t crash). 

Army Wife Lesson #6: no matter how long your phone call is, it is never long enough…

Pretty self-explanatory…you just have to stay focused, and positive on the phone. DO NOT waste time crying. If you need to cry or complain or whatever, do it after you hang up. I read (on the blogs I could find) how you aren’t supposed to tell them bad things, keep it light and fluffy; and while so far I’ve been lucky and haven’t had anything bad to say/not say, I do find myself very cheery on the phone. The fact is that you cannot get into a deep discussion because you don’t want to be left in the middle of it when the commanders say times up. You just don’t have the time, and I truly believe that our jobs as Army Wives is to take care of business at home so that our soldiers can make it home to us safely, and properly protect their fellow soldiers as well. So I keep it light. I ask how he’s been since the last time he called, what he’s been learning, how his friends are, and I give him a little update on what I’ve been doing (although that usually consists of work and TV – that’s all I do these days hehe).

Army Wife Lesson #7: don’t go shopping on bad days…i now have a martini shaker, glasses, vermouth and gin (already broke one glass, and realised I don’t like martini’s!)

Turns out martini’s are gross

Army Wife Lesson #8: splurge when you’re together…just bought us 2 nights at the Intercontinental in Sydney.

Since SB is coming home for christmas (yippee!!!!), I decided to splurge. He wants to go to Sydney so I can meet some of his Army buddies (which I can’t wait to do since these guys have gone through so much with SB), so I picked a really nice hotel. We are together infrequently, and I imagine this will become a frequent theme in our marriage, so when we are together, I think we should splurge.

Army Wife Lesson #9: Just walk away and try not to take comments personally…people don’t think how their comments sound to me but that’s just because most people don’t understand.

Here’s a good one…I have always tried to notice the moments where I feel like something (I don’t really know how to word it better than that). For example, I don’t really feel like an adult, there are occasional moments (like when I hang out with non-married friends), but mostly I feel like I’m playing house because this not feeling adult-ish parlays into not feeling married (not in the sense of like I feel single, but more like I can’t believe we are legally married). Anyway, back to the point…so I’ve been waiting for the moment when I finally feel like an Army Wife (I would love to hear about your moments!). Well I had one yesterday. I was in the tea room at work, having lunch, and it was pretty packed. Someone who knows about SB asked how he was going and I said he was good and everything. Then someone I knew a little less asked where he was and it started the discussion about the Army. Suddenly I was surrounded by women talking about people they know in the Army, and then this one woman started to say how she knows someone whose husband is a soldier and how she didn’t understand why they moved around so much. Now as I’ve said before, I don’t really have much more experience with this, we’ve never been posted, SB’s never been deployed. I’m still just learning, I’m really no more of an authority on this than anyone else in that room was; but then she went too far. I was already kind of upset because I just don’t like talking about it because I’m still trying to work it out for myself and I don’t know the answers to all the questions and I just find it exhausting at times; like when people seem shocked at how little he gets to call. They say things like “really?” or “that can’t be right?” and all I want to say is “well it f***ing is! I live with this everyday, I think I know how often he gets to call. Are you saying he’s able to call more often and doesn’t? What is your point? How would you like me to respond to that?”, but I bite my tongue and change the subject (for now hehe). Anyway (got sidetracked again)…back to..oh yes…she went too far. This woman starts rambling about how she just can’t understand how anyone could ever be in the Army and what a horrible life it is and such. I was shocked, I didn’t expect to be so hurt by those words. So I bit my tongue, stood up and walked to the carpark where I had a cry (I refer you to my previous lesson where I stated that I do not cry usually). I do not believe this woman meant to be offensive, I think she truly cannot comprehend why a person would choose this life. But her little comment, which she won’t even remember making, will stick in my mind forever.

You know why I do it? I do it because this is what my husband, who I promised to love and support no matter what, wants to do. I can hear how much he loves it in his voice when he calls. So I choose, everyday, to get over myself and the fact that I miss him desperately and wish he were here for ME, and put him first. I choose to be a foundation on which he can live his dream by being as strong, positive, and supportive as I can. Because asking my husband to give up something he will love and excel at for my own selfish feelings is something I could not live with; but learning to be an Army Wife is something I can not only live with, but I can love. I love my Soldier, and I love my role as his Army Wife, and I will do everything in my power to be the best I can be at it.

Axxxx  

Hello All,

I would like to begin this blog with a post about how I came to create it, so this may be a bit long (bear with me).

Let’s start at the very beginning, (a very good place to start); on October 2, 2010 I married my soldier. He had kind of brought up the Army as a career option and I went along with it, because above all, I want him to enjoy and be passionate about his career. He began the long process of Army interviews, medicals, physicals, etc (another post for another day). So after a few setbacks and disappointments (again, another story), we got a call saying there was a spot available starting in TWO weeks! We decided to go for it, and so a mere 2 weeks later I was saying goodbye to my soldier for SIX whole MONTHS!

Unbelievable,

Exciting,

Terrifying,

&

Heartbreaking.

This brings me to my point…I am the type of person who likes to research the direction in which my life is headed; that is to say, when we make a decision I research/read as much as I can about that choice as possible because I like to know what to expect. Now of course it is impossible to always know what to expect, but I try my hardest! I began to scour the internet for blogs about the army wife life (hehe that rhymes!), and I found that while there are countless blogs depicting the lives of American Army Wives, I could not find any from Aussies. Now here I must note, that while I did do every search I could think of, to no avail, I may have missed blogs, and if so I would LOVE to read them, so please contact me and let me know about these elusive blogs! I considered starting one of my own, but I thought it would be too much of a commitment; but then I started posting “Army Wife Lessons” on my Facebook as I learnt them, and I realised that if there is just one woman out there who felt/feels the same way I do, and my experiences can help to comfort her, and make her feel less alone and more in control, it would be worth my time.

So I do not expect this blog to be a huge success or anything (especially not with boring posts like this, hehe), but I do hope that it reaches someone searching for something the same way I was.

Axxxx

Another important note I need to make, which I will repeat in the blog description, is that this blog is ENTIRELY my own opinion and the product of my own journey on this unfamiliar path. I am in NO WAY an expert, and I’m sure my own opinions/lessons will change over time. I only hope to do my best at becoming like the amazing Army Wives already out there. The only thing I will promise with this blog, is absolute honesty and respect for our beloved and courageous soldiers.