Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback Friday

I was going through some posts I had made in an online community I belong to and came across this one. Since it referenced my 2 year old, it had to have been written sometime in 2003.

I often get asked how I do it. Do what I ask? How do I make it being an Army wife. Don’t you miss your husband? Miss my husband?, I ask. Oh yeah, I could never make it not seeing my husband for days, months, a year. Oh, I guess I’m used to it I say. Used to it? Yeah, that’s life as an Army wife.
I am an Army wife. The pride that fills my body when I say that. It doesn’t mean that it's easy. I have my moments. I have days that just feel odd. Days where all I want to do is cry. I look at my kids and wonder what they are thinking. Do they despise this life that we have? Do they resent the fact that we move every couple years? That they have to start over each time, make new friends. Do they resent that their Daddy can’t take them to Cub Scouts or come to their 20 minute school program. It breaks my heart to hear them ask, "Will Daddy be here this time?" And again I have to say no. Do they resent us?
I stand outside their room and listen to them play. Boys being boys. I overhear one say…"I’ll be daddy this time, you be the Soldier". And then I hear him say…"Private, get down and push!" I giggle softly as my heart takes yet another picture and stores it for safekeeping. My two year old wanders up to me with a plastic Army guy. "This is daddy he says". I ask him.."Daddy?" He holds the toy to me and says "Daddy" and gives him a kiss. Off he runs into his brother’s room, yelling "Platoon!"
My kids are so young, so innocent. This life has been so hard. So many times we’ve abandoned them, left them with family while we play Soldier. Do they resent us? I overheard my 7 year old talking to his friend. "I was born at Fort Campbell, where were you born?" The little boy says "I was born here". My son asks "where else have you lived", the little boy says, "here. This is my home". My son is astonished, "you’ve never lived anywhere else?" "No", says the boy. My son says, "I’ve lived in KY, Idaho, Korea, Idaho, Kansas and now again in Kentucky again. I wish we could move again, we already lived here two years it’s time for us to move." I don’t think he resents us, he looks at our life as an adventure.
But there are moments when our life has been really hard. September 11th. What a horrible day. My 5 year old son asking me why anyone would hurt America. I don’t know baby, is all I can say. And then he asked me if the bad guys would hurt me and his daddy. I asked him why, he says in a 5 year old’s logic, if they hate America, they hate you, you and daddy are America’s police. How can I argue with that? I’m angry, they stole my child’s innocence. But maybe we handed it to them, with our lifestyle.
It’s not easy being an Army family. Our life is can be difficult. I asked my boys today if they thought our life was hard…both looked at me with question. My 7 year old said, hard? My 5 year old said, no. I said, we’re an Army family and we move all the time and you don’t see your daddy sometimes. Sometimes he leaves us for a long time, and you’ve had to live with your Grandma when mommy and daddy went away.
Both look at me with puzzled looks. My seven year old says, Mommy, doesn’t everyone’s family live like that?
It hit me, this is his life, our life. As military families we are special in that we surround ourselves with people who share this same lifestyle. My children are surrounded by those who live like we do. Modern day nomads. There is no resentment, this is their life, they understand. It’s not a big deal to them, so maybe it shouldn’t be a big deal to me.
I don’t need to focus on how hard it is or how I do it. My kids don’t classify themselves as an Army family. We are a family who happens to be in the Army. And I’m a wife who happens to be married to a Soldier. It’s part of who we are but it’s not all that we are.
I’m an Army wife and proud of it. But I’m just a wife and a mom who loves her husband and kids. I do it because I have to. I have to deal with deployments and long hours like someone else has to deal with taking out the trash and washing dishes. We all have our own wars…

Since the time I wrote that Kevin has been to Iraq twice and we've moved twice...we still love our life.


susanna said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. You are so strong for making it all work. I absolutely applaud you!

Julie said...

What a great post :)

Sara said...

Oh my. That post with Roxie Dean playing in the background has brought me to tears. I think about having kids in this life and I wonder the same things. Would this life be fair for the children we bring into the world? But many Army wives tell me the same thing you wrote, the small children dont realize there's a different life out there. And the older children are so proud of this life, they sacrific just as we do and are proud to call their father (and mother) a soldier. But I've also been told that Army wives/moms set the tone. I just hope I can be as strong for my family as you have obviously been for yours.

Thanks for sharing this with us!