A Military Wife's Turn....(kinda long)
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|Tue, 04-15-2003 - 2:29am|
A Military Wife's Turn....
You probably didn't realize who was sitting next to you. You rattled on about how silly this anti-terrorist war is, and that it's just a political ploy.
You complained about America being the world's police.
You said you'd never let your son run off to fight, and you'd throw a fit if they just sent your husband off.
At that point, I almost turned around and told you who I am.
I am a military spouse.
Life in the military has never been easy.
It means low pay with no overtime, watching your husband go to work with a fever because the doctor didn't deem him sick enough for the day off.
It means years of rules and protocol that wear on you like a dripping faucet late at night.
Don't even get me going on the weekly inspection of our yards.
We live with Terms like "Exercise" which means 2-week shifts.
And "TDY," which means your spouse is gone for up to 180 days.
And "Remotes," which means your spouse is gone for longer than 180 days.
And finally, "PCS," which means your whole family is going on this ride.
Don't get me wrong, whining is not my intent here.
While the road we've been down in the military hasn't always been paved; it's been a good life.
My kids know you don't wait to make friends because you never know how long they'll be here.
We know how precious good friends are even when miles separate us.
We go to live in other countries where the locals despise us.
We know the value of a good, old-fashioned love letter.
It wasn't always in vogue to be patriotic. Sept. 11 helped turn that tide, but flags are fading around here again.
My husband is TDY (temporary duty) right now. I'm not allowed to tell you where.
I'm 26 days into a 109-day TDY.
There have been too many times I have needed him here.
It's being a single parent although you are still married to your children's father.
It's keeping a marriage alive through letters, care packages, and 10-minute phone calls that you wait for weeks to receive.
It's having to answer the question, "How many days till Daddy comes home?" two hundred times.
It's waving goodbye to a figure on a ship or a plane or a bus and trying not to blink for fear you'll lose sight of them, those extra seconds so precious.
It's living a thousand miles away from any loved ones.
Forget the running of the home fort -- there are kisses and hugs that should be taking place.
I lie in bed and try to recall what his breathing sounds like next to me -- or I hear the door open and try to envision him walking in from work.
What I would give to hear his clear voice without telephone static and worrying about how much the phone call will cost us.
It's missing birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, not to mention first steps, first words, lost teeth, nightmares, school plays and a million other "daily events" that civilians take for granted.
It's living with the knowledge that any day they could be sent on a mission that will change your and your children's lives forever.
The deep fear -- what if this separation becomes permanent?
Distance is a horrible thief of what is precious, because it only reminds us of how precious it is.
You kept on talking for a while.
I then realized I was picking up your tab.
You could sit there freely and give your opinion because of the military families like ours. We do not have the luxury of political opinion. We only know orders, patriotism and duty.
We are paying the price for your freedom.
I've heard it said that soldiers of the past, present and future pay for the flag.
Nah, we're the THREADS it's woven with.
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