I often wondered why military wives would move back home during a deployment. The thought had never really occurred to me. We have school aged children so another move would have made their schooling more difficult. I have always chosen to stay put and ride out the deployment at what ever duty station we happen to be at.
Over the last few months I have been struggling to find my balance. At the end of May we received notice to move out of the house that we were renting. In 45 days we managed to find a house to purchase and move. Right after we moved my husband had another TDY trip.
I'm tired of TDY. I'm tired of deployment. I understand this is the life we signed up for. No one held a gun to our head and said you have to do it. No one said that my husband HAD to take the job with a special ops unit that makes him away from home more. I accept that we chose this life. For the most part I love our life. I actually love that we are a military family. While TDY and deployments are difficult there are many other great benefits. But that is for another blog entry.
Lately I feel like my husband and I are leading two separate lives. He is gone a lot. He has gotten to go on a pretty nice TDY trip this time. To a country that I will probably never see. I feel disconnected. Our overall goal is the same. But I feel like our path is changing. While we are married we almost have a double life. The life we have when he is home and the life we have while he is gone. When he is gone we are still married with four children, we still live at the same house and have the same friends and family but I am chasing after 4 children, one with special needs compared to the other 3, laundry, dogs, ministry, taking care of my husband, all the stuff we normally take care of while they are gone. On TDY trips I feel like my husband gets to have an almost single life. While he isn't out searching for a new wife or anything like that, he gets to go out with the guys in his class, see local attractions, and do whatever he wants to when he isn't in class.
A few days ago I decided that I would take a trip home to see my family. One last summer fun trip before the kids head back to school. I have only been home a few days but I have already learned things about myself that I didn't know or maybe didn't realize.
In this small town very few things ever change. My friends and family live in the same place. It only takes 5 minutes to get from the north side of town to the south side of town. Everyone knows about the mom and pop run shops that are here and they use them.
When I was growing up my grandma and grandpa owned a local bar. Everyone in town knew them. Everyone knew our family. Which made the possibility of getting into trouble and getting away with it almost nonexistent. I love that everyone knows everyone. I can drop my children off with family or friends and it's not a major event to go back and pick them up. It takes 5 minutes. At night you can leave your windows open and enjoy a breeze or listen to the critters outside. There isn't a worry about someone breaking in or stealing your children. It's your average middle class American town. This small town is where I grew up. I realize now how much I really enjoy the comforts of home.
At whatever duty station we were at I have had friends around me that have become almost like my family. We take care of each other. Because that is what military families do. It's not the same as being home and having family around you. I have taken great comfort in my town that never changes. Knowing that everything in town is only 5 minutes away.
After being home the last few days I understand how military wives chose to go to their home town during deployments. Although there may or may not be many military resources in your home town there is a comfort of just being home. Being home with things that are familiar.
I have also realized during this trip that I might be feeling this way because we bought our house. We bought our house and the reality is we won't be moving any time soon. Until my husband chooses to retire from the military or requests to change units we will be where we are. I should take comfort in getting to know my town better. I should take comfort in knowing that I have great friends there. Truth is many of them are military and we all know what that means. Before to long they will move. Over the last 10 years we have lived in 6 states and 9 different houses. It always turned out that we were the ones moving. I did well with that. I liked moving. I liked the adventure and knowing that we were getting to see and live in places we would have never lived otherwise. But now we will be stationary while my husband continues to come and go. Our friends will be the ones on to new locations.
I will be sad to leave here. But the show must go on. The kids start school soon, the yard will need to be mowed, the house will have things that need to be done, and I have a town to discover and make my own.