This doesn’t necessarily need to be said because anyone that’s worn the military spouse label for about 30 days knows without a doubt it’s really hard sometimes, or a lot of the time. Ok, most of the time. I am surrounded by some of the most independent, well put together, hold their own type of women and sometimes I think I might even be one of them. Ha, If I were only that lucky.
I fall apart, I cry in the bathroom, I snap at my kids after a long day and regret it seconds later. I sometimes fail at being a good friend to those I love the most and I screw things up at work from time to time. We’re all doing the best we can. I managed to volunteer at my daughter’s fall party in October; my boss sees me at work and says hi so that’s a plus. We didn’t have a family pet die, the house didn’t burn down, and there were no major illnesses while my husband was gone for 6 weeks so yeah, I’d say I fall into that “well-put together” category if were only looking at the last 20 days.
With all of that being said there is one time of year in particular that I believe military spouses have the right to over drink, over eat, over cry followed by over laugh and well… lose some control.
I ordered these based on the level of shittiness from not so bad to this really sucks. Get ready…
· Being a military spouse around the holidays. This in and of its self comes with its own shitty aspects. I don’t know about yall, but the squadron Christmas party should be re-labeled as the soul sucking judgment party. What better time than Christmas to put a bunch of women (and men) who spend a short time loving each other but more of their time hating each other, in one room and give them an open bar? Let’s be honest fellow spouses, it’s not a party until you decline a round of musical chairs and then get shamed for it. You read that right… musical chairs! I have not attended my husband’s squadron Christmas party since 2012 and I have no intention on breaking my absent streak any time soon.
· Being a military spouse AND being away from family. This totally sucks! One year when Red and I were stationed at Fairchild AFB in Washington State we bought what was back then, very expensive plane tickets to go home for the holidays. The Air Force said SIKE!!!! Your husband is deploying! Yeah, we got a credit refund to use within 6 months. Thanks, Delta! My husband’s deployment is 4 months and he’ll never get leave approved… this is worthless. If you are fortunate enough to go home or have your family come to you for the holidays then… I’m jealous!
· Being a military spouse away from family AND having a deployed spouse. Yup, I’ve been there! I can’t really complain because at the time I was encircled by great people that opened their home up to me and made room for me at their dinner table on Christmas day. In addition to that, I got to have Christmas about a month after so I scored some good gifts for cheap and I got to brag after everyone else was already bored of their gifts. So, there’s that! I just always think about the newbies that have joined us on Christmas or Thanksgiving. I’m more than happy to have them in my home but I know it’s not their first choice and my heart hurts a little for them. Chin up, solo spouses! It won’t always be like this.
· Being a military spouse away from family, with a deployed spouse AND you have children. I can admit that I am about 98% responsible for making the Christmas gift purchases in my home and I’m ok with that because quite frankly, I really love sales. I’ll run a few ideas by Red, but ultimately I (usually) make the decision and the securing of a ridiculous toy and call it a day. Regardless, nothing inhibits your Christmas spirit like a child that is without a parent around Christmas. Christmas lights do not get put on the house unless you find someone to do it that doesn’t want a payment short of your mortgage. Holiday traditions just aren’t quite as exciting, family holiday photos are lame, and HOLY CRAP!! The elf!!!!! I FORGOT TO MOVE THE ELF!!! This would have never happened if my husband were home. Right?
All of this, especially those of us with kids, is what makes us resilient and grateful people. I’m a firm believer that we all naturally take things for granted. Military families are no exception. We are just reminded more often.
On Christmas we hug a little tighter, love a little stronger, say “I’m so happy you’re home this year” too many times and keep those that are not with us in our hearts. Because we are all one phone call away from being separated.