I am a wife. This one fact does not totally define me, but in a sense it does. My husband is in the Army and he has been for 13 years. We’ve been together 9 years and married for 6. In our six years as a “legal” couple we’ve moved twice, which I think is pretty good in terms of Army life. As an Army wife I had to decide early on if I was going to be the wife that accepted my husband’s orders as my own and relocate with him OR if I was going to move to one place and stay there seeing my husband when he could get away for weekends or long holidays. I can’t say I thought long and hard about it because I didn’t. We’ve lived through 3 deployments and countless out-of-state trainings that separated our family so making the decision to pack up my life when he did seemed like a no-brainer. There are several military families that choose to settle down and find their “home” while the military spouse travels from place to place and they are able to make it work quite successfully, but at this time I don’t think it is the move for us. In a few years when the kids are older we are definitely considering finding a home base and staying there while he finishes up his last few years of service.
Growing up I watched my dad travel constantly for work and although he and my mom weren’t together we used to see each other quite often until he was promoted. After he started moving up he began to travel almost weekly even now when I call him I never know where he will be. As I got older I started to consider his wife and I wondered how she felt with her husband being gone all the time and I thought I wouldn’t want to live like that… funny how life turns out though.
Probably the most difficult part of being an Army wife (besides the obvious things like deployments, etc) is job hunting when we move. I realize when I decided to move with my husband I also made the decision to put his career first. I can’t say that was a conscious decision, but clearly I made a choice. Unfortunately, I do not have a “portable career’ so pretty much it has been back to square one. I have a Masters in Public Health and my heart is definitely in the field so at times it is hard to find just the right job. It took some time, but eventually I found a position in Columbia and I am hoping to do the same here in El Paso.
Recently, a Soror and fellow Army Wife told me about the Priority Placement Program with the federal government which helps military spouses find federal employment IF they had to leave their previous job due to a PCS move. All this time I’d been thinking checking the military spouse box on the USAJobs applications was enough!!!! HR specialists review your resume and determine which job codes (up to 5) you qualify for and they notify you of job openings on post. Not only will they notify you of the position your name is also placed on a list of candidates to consider which is sent to the hiring officials. It sounds simple enough, but believe me there is a lot more to it and the rules are very strict. One mistake and you are out of the program. On the bright side it looks promising, because they have already contacted me about a job they wanted me to submit my application packet for and of course I did so immediately.
So while unintentionally that’s how being a wife took precedence over my career. I don’t regret the choices I’ve made thus far and I am looking forward to seeing more of the world at my husband’s side.
Three years to the day our family moved to South Carolina we moved again…. our final destination being El Paso, TX. In the midst of our travels we made a pitstop in Georgia to say goodbye to our families and also because The Girl and I were in my sister’s New Year’s Eve wedding. We spent Jan 1 laying around so that we could hop on the road bright eyed and bushy-tailed the next day.
True to fashion I’d done my research so I knew what to expect in terms of mileage, but NOTHING could have prepared me for the actual trip. El Paso, Texas is about 1600 miles from my mother’s house in South Georgia and roughly 1 day and 1 hour away according to Google Maps. I have NEVER EVER been a long road trip person… in fact anything over 2.5 hours drives me insane so to think I was going to be in the car for roughly 2 or 3 days traveling with 2 kids was enough to make me consider getting a prescription for Valium. Day one the hubs drove while I alternated reading and harassing him for bathroom breaks. We made great time. We stopped for the night in Baton Rouge, LA and we even got to sample a local restaurant, Parrain’s, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Day 2 it was my turn behind the wheel…. all was well at first. I got us out of Louisiana and into Texas. I was checking the navigation every few minutes to note our progress. I thought we were making good time especially when I saw that we only had 150 miles until we reached San Antonio… or so I thought… apparently we had 150 miles to travel to the next highway once I realized my mistake I felt so deflated. I literally could have cried. I drove 6 hours until we reached Katy, Texas where we stopped for lunch and then once again the hubs took over…. he didn’t let me forget it either!!!! We rode for another 3 hours and settled for the night in Boerne. We got on the road around 9 or 10 the next morning and made it to El Paso around 4 pm Mountain Time.
It took a few days to get used to seeing everything in English and Spanish everywhere, but now I rarely notice. The biggest adjustment was to the 2 hour time difference. Strangely enough it wasn’t that I was going to sleep early I couldn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. Someone suggested I try melatonin and it worked; however it causes the strangest dreams!
So far our new city seems to be ok… I am definitely enjoying the scenery… the mountains are beautiful and there is a Super Target maybe a half a mile from our apartment (for those who know me they know I am in HEAVEN).
I sit here watching CNN and the headline reads OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD. I don’t want to celebrate the death of another human being, but just thinking about the people who have died because of his orders and the enormity/significance of this announcement is just…….WHOA
Yes, people we know there is still work to be done….
Yes, we know the war is not over….
BUT how about you stop with your comments. Its rude and disrespectful to those people who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. Allow those husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers this one moment before you start telling them that there will be retaliation and there is someone else waiting in the wings.
As the wife of a soldier who has been deployed 3 times and as the sister of a soldier who has been deployed once and is preparing to leave again in less than 90 days…. if you’ve NEVER waited by the phone, watched CNN constantly, explained to your children why Daddy is not home… please just for once in your life be silent.
To the members of the military I salute you. President Obama I salute you. Thank you for your efforts.