One of my friends from back home text me today wanting advice as her boyfriend dropped the bomb on her that he was planning on joining the Army. She wanted advice on how to handle the situation and I thought, what better way than dedicating a blog entry to her. So here it goes!
When I met F he had just joined the Air Force two months prior. However, his orders were to finish school so, for the first 9 months of our relationship, he was just like any other college student. We went to different schools but we saw each other all the time and were apart, at most, maybe a week or so at a time. When it came time for F to go to OTS (Officer Training School), I was terrified. I had heard training was a place where relationships either became real strong or fell apart. I was worried we'd fall apart. I was worried that I would be heartbroken and lonely the whole time, crying nightly. I was worried about how often I would or wouldn't hear from him. More than anything, as we were engaged by that point, I was nervous about what my future life was going to be like when he became full active duty. I felt so many emotions in the days leading up to his departure. The night before we stayed up together all night and I'm pretty sure I was seconds away from being sick due to my stomach doing so many tricks. I held on to him as tight as possible at the airport until we had to say goodbye and then we both bawled until his flight was in the air. Since then he's commissioned, PCSed to his first duty station, and has been actively working in the Air Force for a year and a half.
Will I say that being a military wife, or any form of significant other for that matter, is easy? Most definitely not. Being a military wife is hard. You have to be willing to sacrifice a lot. You have to understand that the military will always come before you and you have to learn to live with that. You have to accept that your spouse will be gone a lot and that the military doesn't care if his being gone falls when you're expecting your first child, celebrating an anniversary, etc. It's a difficult life, I can't deny that. However, it's also incredibly worth it. Never in my life have I been so proud of anyone as I was of F the day he commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. Pinning those bars on his jacket was such an emotional moment. I was so proud of him and so anxious to learn what military life was like. Yes, I had to give up a lot to move around the country with my husband but I wouldn't change it for the world. I am incredibly proud of F and I am incredibly proud to be an Air Force wife.
My advice to my friend is this: understand that it is going to be hard to have him gone. But, focus on you. Take the time he's gone to pamper yourself, go out with friends, etc. Have fun. Set a routine; it will help make the time go by so much faster. Take advantage of whatever communication is allowed, be it Skype, "snail mail", phone calls, etc. And, turn to your friends who have been through it. My Air Force family has been a huge help many times in this lifestyle. Rely on your friends who have been there, they will keep you sane.
As for my followers, if you have any advice for my friend, feel free to leave it as a comment so she can read it. Let her know that we've all been there and can help! While it may be a difficult life, I promise it's one you will be oh so proud of.