Airports have witnessed the sweetest hellos and the most difficult goodbyes. Wouldn’t you agree? If I had the opportunity to sit at an airport for an hour just to watch people give their emotional hellos or goodbyes, I totally would. I love that kind of stuff.
So far this month, two goodbyes and one hello have been made. The first goodbye was for my husband. He has been on his second underway. I didn’t want to cry as I dropped him off because I like to maintain this facade of “I’m a tough ‘military wife’ and this isn’t my first rodeo” … but I cried a little once Noah began crying on the way home about “needing” to give Daddy one more high-five.
The second goodbye was last week. It was for my sister and four of our close friends. I exhale through my lips, where the matte lipstick I applied in the morning held onto dear life, as I pull up to the curb. I’m giving goodbyes, see you laters, and hugs to everyone, when I began to feel my ugly crying face show up and my makeup melting (I’m just being dramatic for comedic effect to lighten the mood). They all huddle closer to comfort me; I feel embraced, like a baby penguin. I was crying because I knew how much I would miss them and how withdrawn I will feel for the next few days. I sure didn’t cry like that when I dropped off my husband at the beginning of the month. Then I understood that it’s because Jarrod is always going to be with me, but our family and friends will not and cannot always be. Nonetheless, once we are married, we learn that our most important friendship is the one we have with the friend we’ve married.
we leaned on them
as we learned how to lean on each other
as husband and wife.
I‘ve realized that I’m going through this transition of acknowledging and adjusting to being physically distant from our family and close friends. This is a matter to me because our family and friends were the support system Jarrod and I needed when we first got married at a young age. We leaned on them as we learned how to lean on each other as husband and wife. I’m learning this inevitable distance is a part our life from now on because of our choice to be a military family. I can choose to perceive it as collateral damage or collateral beauty (if you know me, I’ve chosen the latter).
This wasn’t news to me. We have been living in our first duty station for six months now. But the emotional aspect of it finally set in last week. We always had our friends around and available, a maximum of 25 minutes away. Well, the training wheels had to come off at some point. The purpose of training wheels are to help the bike rider transition from riding on four wheels to balancing on two wheels.
Imagine a bicycle. The two training wheels represent family and friends, the two main wheels represent husband and wife, and the body of the bike represents marriage. The training wheels eventually had to go. They served their purpose and I’m thankful for that event of grace. Now the marriage rides on two wheels, the husband and wife. And these two wheels better keep it together – particularly if the occasional uneven sidewalk represents the changes that come with being a military family.
we would have to learn
how to live and embrace
each other without them.
I’m not going to give advice on marriage, I’m going to share what I have learned from my own marriage with emphasis on it being a marriage in the military.
My marriage must be strong and capable of withstanding challenges on its own without the external presence or involvement of family and friends.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but this point can be tested once my only physical friend is my spouse. One day we could be stationed overseas, like Japan, and my closest friends would be on the other side of the world living a different date. If one respects their marriage and their spouse, then they would have the integrity and courage to discuss marital issues exclusively with them, which only makes sense. Less drama for my mama!
Having family and friends is wonderful and brings joy, but they aren’t the first people to run to when marital issues arise nor will they always be within my reach. To be frank, we would have to learn how to live and embrace each other without them. They are an external factor that adds to my marriage and not an internal part of it.
I am the keeper of the home and I must make sure that the home life my husband returns to is healthy.
Superficially, I take care of our home. Like I make sure the bills are paid on time, meals are prepared, and the cleanliness of our living space is not neglected. But on a deeper level, it’s also my job to make sure that our home is a place of protection, refreshment, and comfort. My husband might be the head of the home, but I guard it. I guard its health because that reflects on its stability and the marriage that occupies it.
change becomes a lifestyle
once you’re a military family.
Any military family could tell you how many times their plans needed to change and how many times they had to move. Change becomes a lifestyle once you’re a military family and sometimes, the ground feels unstable. So I have learned the importance of making sure that the environment of our home is stable. Especially if my husband is experiencing stress and pressure at his command, I would not want him to come home to negativity. Rather, I would want him to come home to nourishment and encouragement once he enters through that front door. Our humble abode is my palace and I am its queen, so I will protect its well being! (In a perfect world, this would be easy *wink*).
Who would have ever thought that a goodbye would catalyze an epiphany or two?
I’ll end with this – The military is a choice and a commitment. So is marriage. And so is love.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of yet another one of my posts. Thank you for reading!