This post was originally posted on Spousebuzz:
Dear Military Spouse To Be:
Just like a woman awaiting to give birth for the first time, you aren’t truly ready for military life. You can’t possibly know how much your heart can love, and conversely, how much it can ache.
Recently one of my favorite authors published a column on Military.com about why you shouldn’t marry your military love. While I believe it was intended to be tongue in cheek, it encouraged you to run the other way, or at least wait until your significant other was out of the military before you wed. As with most things, there is another, if not several other sides. This is one of them.
Nearly eight years ago, I stood at the top of what seemed like an impossibly long aisle. As the doors to the church opened, I saw my groom in his dress whites and my father asked if I was ready. The word still gives me pause: ready. Excited? Absolutely. Confident in my decision? Without a doubt. But ready? Is anyone really, truly ready for the unknown? With any marriage, civilian or military, you never fully know what twists and turns your lives will take.
No words in a column can prepare you for the incredible adventure you are about to begin. Yet somehow, we find a way to make that walk, to say those vows, and to look at our collective future with optimism, commitment, and unbridled love.
Who has it harder – the one deployed or the one left behind? After 13 years of war, I think it’s a reasonable assertion that the one in harm’s way generally holds the trump card. But there is another side. A friend of mine once said in a Christmas card that her son might be the soldier, but her daughter-in-law and grandchildren were the troopers.
Four years ago, I sat on the couch in my favorite maternity pajamas, my legs curled to the side. Completely preoccupied, I was willing myself to read, while my fingers lightly traced arbitrary circles around my very pregnant belly. My phone rang, and the “No Caller ID” on the display sent a sense of relief coursing through my body. My husband was calling from Iraq, where, days before, his base was attacked while we were discussing baby names. After a warning siren and a quick “I got to go,” I was left holding my phone, breath, and what felt like our future. I sat in my car pleading with God to let this child meet his or her daddy. Per security procedures, all communications on his base were suspended, an apt term for how I felt during those quiet days.
The phone call I had been waiting for finally came. Unfortunately, the discussion was not what either of us intended. Somehow, we quickly steered into the unchartered territory of who had it worse. Years later, I’m still mortified by my reaction.