A little while back, a reader approached me and asked if she could guest blog about being a military wife. Umm, hell yes!
Please welcome Jessica. She’s an Air Force wife, and mother of a two-year old girl. She blogs at www.mmmmama.blogspot.com.
My husband is on the security forces/tactical response team. He has been in the Air Force for just a year now and let me tell you, it’s been one of the craziest years of my life.
Growing up, I never imagined being married to anyone in the military. Even when my husband and I got married, the Air Force wasn’t in our future plans. But deep down, it had always been a dream of my husband’s and when he expressed those feeling to me, I had no choice but to support him.
As time came for him to leave though, I became very angry and very resentful. We had a baby at home and we were practically still newlyweds. I thought I was about to become a single mother who was going to be bounced around the country moving from base to base while her husband learned how to survive during deployments.
For the last year, my daughter and I have lived states away from my husband. And although it’s been extremely tough at times, it has also had its blessings.
For instance, having a husband with a steady job in this economy takes a huge amount of stress off our shoulders.
And strangely enough, being an Air Force family has brought an incredible closeness to us even when we are miles and miles apart.
Here’s how we’ve stayed close:
1. We’ve learned to communicate in ways that we weren’t very good at before.
If ever we have a disagreement, we each take a few minutes to compose our thoughts and then we talk it out. Going for days without speaking just isn’t worth it especially when you only get to talk to each other for a very short time at night.
2. We’ve worked hard at getting to know each other all over again.
It’s amazing how much two people can change over the course of a few years. When we do get some time to talk, we will play the question game and ask each other things that spark whole conversations. It’s a great way to stay close and it kind of brings us back to the beginning of our relationship where we would stay up late on a summer night and talk for hours.
3. We’ve become expert picture senders.
Through out the day, we send pictures back and forth of our daily activities. If I take our daughter to the park or the pool, I’ll be sending pictures the whole time just so he knows that she is happy and smiling. If I go out and buy a really cute dress, I’ll put it on later and send him a picture just of me! It’s just a little thing but it helps him to know that we are including him in our daily lives even if he can’t be there physically.
I also show our daughter Aven pictures of her Daddy every day!
4. We’ve given our young kids, who don’t quite understand how to talk on the phone, alternatives to hearing Daddy’s voice.
Before my husband left for training, he built Aven a teddy bear at Build A Bear. He dressed the stuffed animal in camo shorts and a cute t shirt. He also put a little voice box in the teddy bear’s paw with a taped message for Aven. Whenever she squeezes the paw, she can hear a personalized message from her Daddy about how much he loves her, misses her and how he will see her soon. She loves it! And there have been countless nights where she has laid in her bed and listened to his message over and over. I know on those nights that she is really missing her Dad.
5. Some nights he even reads a bed time story with us.
I put him on speaker phone and he listens in as Aven and I read together.
6. We talk about Daddy a lot, too.
I’ll ask her where Daddy is and what she thinks he is doing. Hearing her answers are so sweet and sometimes really funny! All these things help so that when we get the chance to see my husband, Aven isn’t shy or hesitant around him. She jumps right into his arms and acts as if a day hasn’t passed where they haven’t seen each other.
It helps too if the people around you can talk about the missing spouse as well. Right now we are living close to lots of family and friends and I know that whenever Aven goes over to their house, they talk about her Daddy too. They show her pictures or tell funny stories. It helps build a community of love and support for your child.
Over the last year, I have learned how amazing being a military wife can be.I know that what my husband does is very serious and it can be very dangerous, yet he’s willing to do it everyday because defending this country is important to him. I am very proud of my husband and very proud to be an Air Force wife. Like I said before, it has its challenges but the blessings that come forth are so worth it!