Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soldier Husband

When B enlisted in the Army a little over 3 1/2 years ago, I was so proud. I was proud that he was choosing to sacrifice so much to support us, his family. He was sacrificing a lot of freedoms that are given in the civilian work world. He was choosing to go to Basic Training where he would be challenged both physically and mentally in a way he'd never been challenged before. He was choosing to be in a "contract" that would not allow him to quit when it got too hard or demanding. Overall, he was choosing US over everything else in his life - our little nuclear family took precedence. He was allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom to our 12 month old daughter. Something I'd dreamed about my whole life....something he and I had talked about for years.

He was going to provide us with job security, guaranteed housing, new experiences, wonderful health insurance, and a sense of pride for our country like we'd never had before. He knew he would have opportunities for advancements and training to learn and develop more as both a professional and a soldier. He was able to go into the Army doing the exact job he wanted to do - which was very close to the same job he had been doing in the civilian world.

He is a Multimedia Illustrator, or a graphic designer - a 25M (pronounced 25 "mike"). I am not going to say he's loved every minute of being in the Army because there have certainly been times when he's been rather miserable. I seem to remember one night during the Soldier of the Year competition where he had to spent the night outside on the ground in the rain freezing cold. I can remember many times that he has come home from "ruck marches" with blisters all over his feet - blisters the size of silver dollars. It hurt to watch him limp across our kitchen floor. I have seen him and his team covered in dirt and sweat from days of walking during training exercises. I remember that some of these men didn't even feel they were clean enough to come inside our home and sit and drink some ice water. Even the promise of air conditioning wasn't enough to make them come inside. He didn't love getting shot with a taser or getting pepper sprayed all in the name of training. He certainly didn't love being away from us for 3 Thanksgivings and 2 Christmases...a total of 21 months in his first 36 months of service.

I remember so many of these times where I know he didn't LOVE his job. But then I can remember many times when he did. When he designed printed material to be used by important people, for important causes. When he saw his design on a billboard or in a newspaper. When he got to travel and see parts of the world he'd never dreamed of seeing. When he was told by the "higher-ups" what a wonderful job he had done or how he was an excellent soldier. When we accepted our homes in both NC and then here in the DC area and took the first walk through. We have loved what the Army has provided for us. He has loved his job when we had our son 2 1/2 years ago and never paid a dime for the prenatal care or birth. When we have been able to get our child the speech therapy he's needed without having to pay anything out of our own pockets. When he got a letter of recommendation for a new position that made me beam with pride. When he got orders to move here and work in one of the coolest jobs in the world. Those are just a few times where he has LOVED his job.

I have learned that the military life isn't for everyone. I've made friends who have loved being married to the military. Their husbands have served many years and will most definitely be retiring from it when the time is right. I've also had friends who felt trapped and limited by the restrictions the military has put on them. They have counted down the years/months until they could get out.

Deployments and separations are hard on us all. I have met many couples in the civilian world who have never been apart from their spouse for more than a few days in 30+ years of marriage, but for us military wives, being apart is just part of life. I hate it just as much as the next woman does. But, to me and my husband, the sacrifice our family makes when we are apart is STILL worth the benefits the military has to offer for us.

After 3 1/2 years, my husband has been promoted twice. I am so proud of him. He is an exemplary soldier. He always stands out amongst his peers no matter where he goes. The Officers and Senior Enlisted guys always take notice of him. He is going to succeed in the Army - no matter which route he chooses in the future. The possibilities are almost limitless for him..stay enlisted and progress through the ranks, become a Warrant Officer, become a Commissioned Officer, go and live wherever we want and recruit new soldiers for a few years, go teach up in MD where he received his own training, stay here in DC and continue working for the White House Communications Agency...switch jobs and do something else that he's never thought of before.

No matter what, I know he will succeed. I will always be by his side. I will always be proud of him. I will always think he's the best looking, hardest working, most loyal soldier out there.

He surprised me with this picture in my email inbox the other day. I've been wanting to drag him somewhere to get a recent "soldier" picture of him for quite some time, but he had one done at work because he needed one for a military design contest he is entering.

I know I talk all the time on here about my children, the littlest loves of my life, but I really felt like I wanted to share with you a bit about the greatest love of my life, my sweet husband. The best provider and best friend I could ever have imagined. I am more proud of him than I've ever been in myself...

Just a few more of my favorite "soldier pictures" of him.
My husband is the one with the buzzed head. He has since then let his hair grow some, haha :-)

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite posts. You are such a sweet wife!