For almost 6 years, I have been the girlfriend and wife of a soldier. While I don't allow it to be my sole identifier, the thought of no longer being an army wife has recently been a topic of discussion in my household.
Timing is always an amusing aspect of my life. So when I connected with the company SimpliSafe and learned about their connection with the military through their Jackson in Action Foundation and security systems for families to protect their home, I wanted to share my experiences as an army wife. While there are plenty of stories I could share and have shared, I am choosing to share my views on dealing with the possible end.
Last month, my husband suffered a knee injury during PT. The tendon that held his knee cap in place snapped and shot his kneecap into his thigh. Sounds nasty, right? Of course he needed surgery to repair the tendon. This injury happened the day before his 33rd birthday and a month before he was to go to the promotion board. There is that funny timing again.
After the injury
About a week after his stitches were removed from surgery
If there is anything I have learned from being the wife of a solider and the daughter of an airman is that don't count on anything being guaranteed with the military. With this now being Akeem's second surgery in a year (the first was on his foot), the conversation has come up about med board.
While med boarding out of the military definitely has its upsides for my family (moving back home, no more moving, chance for a career for me), there are definitely aspects that I fear.
Akeem and I were both some knuckleheads before we ever met each other. Hell, some days it may still seem like we are lacking in the maturity department.
We both have younger siblings who have made great strides in kick starting their careers and accomplishing a childhood goal; his brother joined the Washington Redskins and my sister started her first year as a medical intern at Vanderbilt.
Just had to brag on them a little bit...
Now, my husband and I joke about our follow through being sub par compared to our siblings in following our dreams. But with the army, we both found a level of security. As if the military life would shape our dreams for us.
I was 23 when I got married and hadn't even reached the path of starting to find myself before I moved to Kentucky. For my husband, he had made his mistakes and the army was a bit of a saving grace to getting him back on track. Most of our relationship has been known within the walls of the military life: from my job choices to our life and schedule.
So what happens when all your relationship has known is the guidelines of the military life? Where there is somewhat of a safety net and consequences for things the civilian world doesn't follow?
In the last few weeks, I have been digging deep to adjust to the possibility of a new life path. I have really been trying to grow my business, looked into going to school, and we have had discussions about financial changes.
At 28 years old, I feel like I have never really been an adult in the civilian world. I graduated from college and a year later I was married. I've never had to worry about medical bills or not having enough money for rent. I've never been forced to really test my capabilities because I always had the safety net of being an army wife (the resources of being a military family=safety net).
In a week in a half, my husband will return to work. The doctor's told him that his rehabilitation will be anywhere between 3 to 6 months. But with a knee injury, I feel like it can be tricky to foresee the long term effects.
I never thought I would feel any kind of way but happy at the thought of having a "normal" life outside of the military. But as we wait to see about the possibility of the "normal" life coming sooner rather than later, I can't help but feel some kind of way.
In the last few years, I have made some amazing friends and helpful networking contacts. I feel like I have grown a lot since Akeem joined almost 6 years ago. It is these these things that make me wonder will I continue to grow, will we as a couple continue to grow, or will the stresses of moving back to the civilian world be more than we expected?
When people talk about the end of their military life, I never really hear about what it did for their marriage. It always seems that the military person got out and that was it. Now I feel like it is time for me to start asking that question: How did your family adjust to the switch?
Like I said, nothing is guaranteed. And in the army there is a phrase: "hurry up and wait."
I hate that saying and I hate not knowing what is next for my family. But I do know this, we have been through hell and back as a family and we will make the most out of whatever cards we are dealt.