Twenty-five long, traffic-laden miles from the closest military installation and 72 even more congested clicks from the nearest Naval Station, my family and I exist in a world draped with all the trappings of civilian life while fostering a military career that served up two deployments in four years.
Reservist life is a double-edged sword; our family gets the benefits of a “normal” life, but dealing with the complexities of Navy life without the built in support network is trying and incredibly lonely.
I live in a town where freedom is free and doesn’t bear the jagged scars of its true cost. It is white picket fences and parades, not gold star families and wounded warriors. I envy their naïveté at times; it’s a blissful calm where news reports are just distant problems, a forgettable soundbite at best devoid of the turmoil of the worrying what that might mean for our family. Along the way, I have faced the questions, the confusion and the hilarious antidotes that come with a path the isn’t de rigor of suburban living.
“I thought your husband worked for a shipping company?” He does, that is his civilian job. A service academy graduate, the Navy is his career since he was handed his commission on graduation day and he is a lifer. He is not resigning or retiring one day before they force him out, it is in his blood. Yes, he has two jobs and pushing ahead two careers, juggling annual training and reserve weekends against business trips and family life is a veritable three-ring circus at times, but we make it work.
“But you have children!” Well, that explains the three mini freeloaders hanging around my house. I was beginning to wonder where they came from and why they are so suffocatingly dependent on me for every basic need. In truth, two of the three are classic post-deployment babies, so yes, I am aware I have offspring, but just as your children do not impede you from fulfilling your job requirements they also don’t prevent my husband from doing his job.
This is a major good with the bad moment.