I married my husband not long after the movies Top Gun and An Officer and a Gentlemen were big box office hits.
I’ve often wondered since then why there hasn’t been a class-action suit brought against Tom Cruise or Richard Gere because of the impact those movies had on the hearts of the women of my generation, women like myself who jumped right into relationships with these men in uniform expecting excitement, romance, and adventure, yet completely blind to the reality of their lives to come.
As a military spouse, I’ve moved 16 times, lived in four different countries on two different continents, in three states, three provinces, five different time zones, and I learned three languages (or more if you want to count dialects).
With each move, I’d spend hours and days on the phone setting up new home and auto insurance, bank accounts, cable and utilities. Once those were accomplished, then the hunt would be on for new schools, doctors, dentists, optometrists, hairdressers, barbers… And during all that time I would be adapting to our new environment and the amenities available.
I’ve been often unemployed, underemployed and unemployable…and when I have been lucky enough to find a job, I have worked in vastly different areas.
During all the changes we’ve encountered, three beautiful children became part of our lives. Suddenly I became Mom – and Dad! You see, as a military spouse, one cannot expect their partner to be around, ever. We quickly learn to plan things with the expectation that the other parent will be working late, deployed, or on temporary duty (TD) elsewhere. We learn to fix things like appliances, cars, computers, and toys by ourselves. YouTube and Google become our best friends.
There is a general rule of thumb amongst military families – what can go wrong when the husband is away will go wrong. We had been living in Germany only three months when my husband left on his first TD to Italy and my middle child, a toddler at the time, ended up with a major concussion, landing us in a German hospital for three days. I was suddenly faced with a serious situation, alone and unable to speak the language at a very critical time. Fortunately, it ended well with the help of some dear friends, our military family whom we learn to hold very close to our hearts.
In answer to my earlier pondering, I have all the excitement, romance and adventure a girl could want. There is nothing as exciting as witnessing your children succeed in yet another new environment. There is nothing as romantic as the multitude of sacrifices our family has made for the love of our country. And the adventures we have encountered during our travels have been limitless.