As we all approach the busy PCS season and say a painful “See you later,” and an excited “Hello, again!”, let’s shine some light on what makes this time of year so bittersweet.
This side of military life is often foreign to those not in the military. Although most people can see from the outside looking in that all the moving might be stressful, or exciting, depending on your perspective, they know it’s hard, unpredictable, and it can be scary, lonely and frustrating. We know this, we have read countless blog posts and stories about the struggles and sacrifices of those who ‘silently serve.’
But what people might not understand is that being a military spouse is all of those things, but it is also an invite into the most amazing community that our civilian friends only get a glimpse of through photos on social media.
As an Army spouse, I have first-hand experience with this community. I have sent my husband off on four deployments, most of them being a year or longer. The Army has moved us abroad to Germany and South Korea. During my first deployment (his second), I was ignorantly new to army life. Seeing how clearly out of place I was, a tenured spouse took me under her wing and unknowingly shaped my views of what an amazing community I had just become a part of.
The community that is the military spouse is supportive, empowering, uplifting and inclusive. No one actually likes to ask for help, but in this community, you don’t have to. We know. We have been there. We don’t ask a lot of questions we simply show up to let you know we are here (whether you want us there or not). We are here to let you know, “You can do this, you got this, you will be better because of this,” whatever this is.
We often put our needs aside playing the role of both parents while our service member is deployed. Managing the household, after school activities, volunteer activities with our unit and with our kids, and trying to maintain a career for those of us who are lucky enough to have an employer that values what military spouses bring to the table.
When it does come time for us to do that one thing we wanted to do just for ourselves, this community is here to encourage us. To remind us that it is okay to be selfish, if even for a few hours. They get it. They, too, have been all things to all people and know just how good it feels to take that deep breath and finally relax.