by Erin Hayes, Guest Contributor
Wait! What did you say? Oh no she didn’t!
I miss being me.
The me I was for the past 12 years!
When You Find “The One” Nothing, Even The Craziness Of Military Life, Matters
My husband is a Marine. We are in the midst of our 6th deployment (with a 3-year break in the middle) since we met 14 years ago. We have been through a lot and have always come out on top. He is the love of my life and we have been married for 12 years.
We’ve lived a crazy life, but when you find “the one” nothing, even craziness, matters. We got engaged after knowing each other for four months and only spending a total of two weeks together!
Fast-forward to today, with three years left until his retirement and he will be DONE!
We decided it was best for our two kids to be in a good, stable school and for me to start my career back up, so we are living in New York while he lives in California until he finishes out his time! Sounds crazy but it’s not a big deal for us. Yeah it sucks, but it’s for the best.
Civilians Don’t Get Me Like Military Spouses Get Me
Civilian life has been a huge adjustment. We just don’t fit in. I know it sounds crazy and childish, but it’s the truth. For the past 12 years I was always around people who understood my life and I always had something in common with them.
Now I find myself surrounded by strangers and I compare these civilians’ lives to mine. I see moms and dads everywhere with their kids. It makes me wonder if my kids see this and realize how much they don’t fit in either?
I read an article about a military mom who said that we as military spouses are always at our wits’ end with our kids. I totally agree with that statement.
But unfortunately the civilian society doesn’t understand that. They don’t know what it means to be at your wits’ end with your kids and not have a break. Your kids HAVE to be with you at all times. To others I look like the mom who doesn’t care, who drinks, and yells at her kids all the time.
They don’t understand that I can’t go out with friends because I don’t have a sitter or even friends for that matter.
Don’t get me wrong I have family here to help me but I already ask so much of them. Asking to help with the kids so I can go out with friends seems selfish to me. Plus I am the only steady thing in my children’s lives right now.
I Have Seen More In 12 Years Than They Will See In A Lifetime
I feel like a horrible person because all I can think is that I am better than these civilians. I have seen more in 12 years than they will see in their lifetimes.
I’ve seen boys go off to war and return as men. I’ve seen my husband’s friends come home changed men and not in good way.
I’ve also seen men go off to war and not come home. I’ve seen men lost way too young and they were not even in combat. I’ve seen the heartbreak of their families and loved ones.
I’ve seen the infinite sadness in the eyes of the strongest and most invincible men I’ve ever known.
I’ve seen divorce, alcohol abuse and infidelity.
I’ve seen children cry for their fathers every night.
I’ve lost friends who I thought would be around for a lifetime but when push came to shove they were gone in a blink of an eye. I’ve seen and shed far too many tears over everything I’ve been through in this life.
It’s Been Said You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone
I miss having friends who understand. The type of friends who never have a husband around. The friends who volunteer their husbands to watch your kids so you can have mom time with a friend. I miss getting together on Friday nights, letting our kids run rampant as we drink wine and talk.
I miss it being OK to bring my kids with me everywhere I go.
As mean as it sounds I feel like I am too good for these civilians of whom I now live amongst. They will never feel, see or breathe as much pain and camaraderie as I have. They will never understand the intricacies of military life and being a military spouse.
As hard as it was, my life as a military spouse made me who I am.
Erin M. Hayes has been married to her Marine Corps husband for almost 13 years. She has 2 kids and works full time as a Radiation Therapist. She currently lives in Central New York waiting for her husband’s retirement. In her spare time she likes to craft, read (or listen to) dystopia books, and play with makeup.