Let’s face it this military life is not for the faint of heart. A majority of our days are spent in chaos and confusion, especially when said spouse is somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. Alright, so maybe not a galaxy far, far away but you get my point. As military spouses it means our “better half” (or maybe just the other half) is nowhere nearby to pitch in with the household responsibilities, children or just to be there for family meals. For most of us this would make it quite easy to come up with a long laundry list of what is soooo difficult about having a spouse who is gone so much. Like the laundry. Oh darn, I know, I said the L word, laundry, laundry, laundry! That would definitely be on said long list of things that just, well, sucks when our significant other is largely on the road, or in some cases, on the boat or in the air…just plain gone. But after many years of being the better half (wink, wink) to my military member I have learned to see the bright side of things, because in lives like ours it never hurts to have a little something to smile about. There is a lot to like about being master and commander and the one calling the shots. Here’s my list of just a few of my favorites, in no particular order.
1. Full Control of the DVR
So, for our family and cable plan the Digital Video Recorder is the way we save our treasure trove of shows that our family watches most. For others it may be TiVo or something similar that meets this need. Now don’t judge me for my list, TV in general is one of my vices and my way of winding down from what are mostly long, crazy, stressful and tiring days. Sitting in front of the TV, shutting the brain down for just an hour or so is, well, easy. It takes no higher level of thinking to do it. My DVR includes shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, The Voice, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Inside Combat Rescue and Say Yes to the Dress….yes, I know, my DVR is kind of diversified. Now when said hubby is around he prefers things like River Monsters, Tosh.O, Modern Marvels or Ancient Aliens, I think. Wow, he’s been gone so long I am not even sure if I remember his shows anymore! Anyway… I don’t mind sitting through some things but I DESPISE Ancient Aliens. I am in no way interested in a show where the answer to EVERYTHING is Aliens and where Giorgio’s hair is constantly changing, video clip by video clip. So, now with my husband gone, when there is a conflict for recording shows there is no discussion or compromise. I have complete control, kind of like with the remote control too. What I say goes, PERIOD, and that is something to smile about.
2. Temperature Control
Yes, the saying must be true, opposites do attract. This seems completely valid when it is overtly obvious that my husband and I have completely opposite levels of temperature comfort. Maybe it has something to do with me spending a lot of my childhood years in a city with beaches and him spending that time somewhere in the middle of Texas. Whatever it is, make no doubt that even when we are in the same room, car or outdoors; I am cold and looking for a sweater while he is uncomfortably hot and wanting some cool relief. Seriously… as a married couple do we need more things to disagree about?! Well, when I am all by myself I have complete control! I can turn up or off that ceiling fan or thermostat, or bring out the big comforter and there is no one else to complain. Oh, and in the car I don’t have to close my vents because he has the air on super cold, freeze-my-fingers-off levels. And at bedtime, well I am not piling on layers because he has the ceiling fan full blast, and that makes for a good night’s sleep.
3. The Toilet Seat
Now this should not take much explaining and is likely a given for many of you women out there. There is nothing worse than trying to sit on the commode and not having enough seat to sit on, hence falling in. Now men may not get how inconvenient this is as they don’t necessarily need to sit each time they utilize the latrine. It’s just like my husband being completely unable to fathom why it takes me so long to use the restroom when he is just in and out lickity split. Like seriously… what doesn’t he get about having to actually unbuckle your bottoms, belt, sit, stand,rebutton and buckle, flush with foot; all while trying to keep your hands and accessories as much as possible to yourself, then wash hands?! Geez! So, while I cannot say the same for the hallway bathroom (I have three boys), I at least know what to expect in the master bathroom. And that is awesome because there is nothing worse than a wet tushy at zero dark whatever time!
4. Boots, and Belts, and Gear… Oh My!
I’m talking about all those wonderful things your grown spouse manages to get in every nook and cranny of your house so you can trip, fall over, kick or crumble beneath your feet because just like children some adults are just incapable of putting their stuff away. If I had a dollar for every time I have tripped over my husband’s boots or belt, or had to call across the house for my kids and the hubby to come pick up their stuff… I would be one rich and less clumsy mama! Oh, and besides the stuff to trip over let us not forget all those wonderful things like pens, notepads, headgear, earplugs, gloves, etc. that are left in little piles all over the house. It is nice to get all that stuff up and out of the way for just a while and have a little more free surface area. Even if said surface area is now filled with my piles of junk!
Obviously this list is not all inclusive, and I am sure you all can think of your own little things to smile about when having a spouse out on field exercises, TDY or deployed. Separations are by no measure a perk of being a military spouse and that is exactly why this spouse has learned to find the silver lining in any way possible. For it is not on strength alone that one can get through the hard times. We need to celebrate those little things, as insignificant as they may seem. There is NO question that I would much rather have my husband hear to slightly freeze me at night (good excuse to cuddle), or even to sit on the couch with him and watch an episode of Ancient Aliens, YES even that show if it meant he was right here with me. Sigh for now, but at least my toes are pain free and I cannot remember the last time my tushy met with the cold water of a toilet bowl. For now, I will smile for the little things, because right now that’s all I have. Hopefully, they will get me through the separation. One…day…at…a…time.