'I'm grateful for this military lifestyle'

by Okinawa Spouse
Stripes Guam

While on vacation back in the U.S., I was walking around town and heard a lady say to her husband, “What am I going to do without you for a few days?”

I thought to myself just how blessed she was to not know what to do without her spouse for a few days. As a military child, former service member, and now a military wife, I know exactly what to do without my spouse for a few days. I even know what to do without him for over a year.

Not that I would ever prefer to be without him or that it gets any easier to say our goodbyes or to be apart, I just had a lot of experience with being away from someone I loved due to the military. Just like other military families.

I remember, as a child, saying goodbye to my dad as he would go out to sea for a few months at a time. I would always recite that quote from Shirley Temple’s, My Little Princess movie, “My Daddy has to go away, but he’ll return most any day. Any moment I may see my Daddy coming back to me.”

Again, it never got easier, but for some reason that quote helped remind me that I’ve been through this before and so have many other children. To think there are so many men, women and children out there in the world who don’t understand just how blessed they are to not know what to do without their mom, dad, husband or wife for a few days. They are so blessed! So am I!
I’ve been able to see the blessings behind momentary loneliness. The fact that I’m not the only person who went through many good-byes helped me understand that I am not alone. There were always people around me that knew exactly what I was going through, and showed so much support.

I’ve learned to find the blessing behind every goodbye. For me, but not for all, those blessings were always having an in person response of ‘Hello’ along with a hug.

It may not have been a rapid response, sometimes it would be days, months or even years until it happened, but it would happen. If it weren’t for the experience of all those goodbyes and hellos, I wouldn’t be the strong, independent, daughter, women, mother, and wife that I am today. I’m grateful for this military lifestyle.

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