So, by this point, it's been decided by my husband and I that we are going to return home to our home state. For the duration of his fifteen-month deployment we were up in the air about the future of our lives. As the months draw near to my husband’s ETS date, we've decided that our goal is to get back up to the great state of Michigan, where we were both born and raised. There are a few bittersweet moments mixed in with making this decision. You come to grow and love the places you create as your home and the extended family that is created out of new friends. This home in Kansas is the first home of ours, and literally where our daughter was born. On top of that, I made a best friend in our neighbor just south of us, and I am going to miss her greatly. There are a bunch of small things that I'll miss, but for the most part, I am ready to go back home. To live in our home state together as man and wife will be kinda nice. As many military couples can attest, we were married in a court house, far from our family, and even though we knew each other for years and were from the same state, the military just didn't afford us the opportunity to have a home wedding. It was a “do where you are” kinda wedding if we wanted to be married and many military couples don’t want to wait for leave in order to get married. I have learned that no matter how far away you are from your "home" you can make a "home" anywhere with a little will and heart investment. My husband and children have become my home, and those I've met along the way have certainly made a home away from home for me. I've been blessed to experience the independence the military life can provide and the chance it also gives you to branch out and learn how to sometimes depend on new people.
Life Today: Always An Army Family
It has been 9 years since my husband’s ETS date. November 16, 2009 a date that I remember and will likely remember for years to come. Although my husband was in the Army before we became husband and wife, it has been a resounding part of our life that has shaped how we react with the rest of the world. It’s the knowledge that we are part of the 1% club that bonds us together, making us beam with pride. Our oldest daughter was born near post; her umbilical cord was cut with 5-50 parachute cord (as she was born unexpectedly on our bathroom floor), our 8 year marriage has only begun to truly flourish as we had spent nearly half that time away from each other (my husband went to school for 18 months after his ETS date), and our house is adorned with military objects, including the his folded re-enlistment flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. I am currently in school earning a master’s degree in Professional Counseling, so that I can work within the military community.
Honestly, I wish we were back in the life sometimes and I feel guilty because I did not dawn the uniform myself. However, I do not want to spend any more time away from my husband as we raise our four children and my husband finally gets to experience many things that he lost out on with our oldest two children. It has been fantastic to see him with our children, to know that he is here when it snows too much or the pipes freeze. Having my husband around to co-parent our children and to kiss every night before I go to bed makes me the happiest women alive. Yet, I have this feeling that we are now separated from the 1% club. I am striving to find a way to connect to a world that had such a profound impact on my life, to give back. I have even resorted to asking my husband if he was sure that he was done with the military life. Truthfully, I know that we are done with active duty, Reserves or even the National Guard and when I think of deployments, I am thankful to God that we decided to leave active duty. The interesting thing is, separating from the military is more than just a soldier’s experience (albeit very important), but a family’s experience as well, an Army wife’s experience. When I see a uniform out of the corner of my eye, I feel butterfly’s in my stomach. When I hear certain songs on the radio, I can become overwhelmed with tears because they remind me of a time when I had to say good-bye to the love of my life, the father of my children. Certain sites remind me of post, a grouping of houses that looks like they could be on a military installation. As I think about no longer being part of the “active” 1 % population, I am reminded that no matter how you look at it, we will always know what others do not know, what others have never felt, what others maybe do not have the courage to do. I am always an Army wife inside my heart. As a professional counselor, I work to utilize my Army wife mind and heart in a civilian world to inspire and heal.
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