Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yup, it was the Ugly Cry

As a military wife, I'm often asked, "How do you do it?"  Most days my response is "How do I not do it?"  Meaning simply that I don't feel it is a choice to do what I do every day.  This is my life: deployments, seperations, weird work hours, extra dirty (and often extra smelly) laundry...all the things that come with being an Army wife.  In the words of a popular athletic apparel line, I "just do it".  Because I don't have an alternative.  Because the alternative would be to Not do it.  And that just isn't good enough for me.  Mr. Smartypants jokes that he tried to warn me, that he tried to convince me to run the other way (he really did, on day three, but that's another story).  I like to put on my "tough Army wife" face when people ask me that.  Like it's no big deal.  Like they just asked me how I tied my shoes this morning.  But the reality is that it's hard.  Some days I fight to put one foot in front of the other.  So for all of you who have asked or want to ask, how I do it, how we do it....this post is for you.

I would like to introduce you to the bane of the existance of my inner fashionista.  A.k.a. Mr. Smartypants' favorite pair of sandals.  Now, he has newer and nicer sandals that he wears at times (specifically when I give him "the look" or when he thinks ahead and knows that if he comes down in these things he'll get "the look"...and don't pretend you don't have one that your better half gets from time to time, all wives have one), but these are his favorites.  They rank up there with the (seriously) worn out Red Sox hoodie that is quite literally falling apart.  But I didn't put this picture in this post so I could pick on Mr. Smartypants.  The significance of this picture is not the shoes or their state of destruction wear.  The significance in this picture is actually the time it was taken, about 2000 hours, or 8pm for you civilian types.  On a normal night, these would be on his feet.  But see, that's not going to happen tonight, because he's not here.  He's off training up his soldiers so that they can live up to the old Army motto of "be the best you can be". 
It is a fact of military life that they must go off for training.  We certainly wouldn't want to send our soldiers to war without it.  But it means that even though our soldiers aren't deployed (or "down range" as we often like to say), they are seperated from us.  Generally it isn't months, just weeks, but seperation is seperation, especially when our time together is so limited.  And so his favorite sandals sit empty and unworn in our bedroom for now.  And tonight, seeing them there, without the feet that have worn them down, makes me a little sad, and a little lonely.  (It probably didn't help that I have been surfing the internet, reading some blogs of other military wives.  They often bring a tear to my eye.)

So I'll grab another piece of chocolate (thank you Easter bunny, please don't tell my kids), finish off the last drops of Dr. Pepper, curse myself for not making that shoppette run earlier to get more and tell you how I really do it
1. I eat chocolate...lots of it...it makes me feel good.  I don't eat other things to counteract the caloric intake from the chocolate...usually dinner is the first to go.  But I eat chocolate, lest my butt decide to shrink *gasp, the horror!!*
2. I drink Dr. Pepper by the gallon *please see point 1 for application of point 2
3.  I stay up late and make blog posts...it gives me something to do when I suffer from insomnia let out my inner nightowl.

I had the joy of having coffee with several wives from our company today.  Many of them have never survived a deployment before.  It made me think about all the ways we react to seperation.  Some of us fall apart, some of us feel so out of control that we micro-manage the parts of our lives we can control.  Some of us eat.  Some of us don't eat.  Some of us lay on the couch for 12 months.  Some of us live at the gym, using the treadmill as our personal stress reliever.  Whatever we do, we each find a way to cope the best way we each know how.  Some of us miss our soldiers at night, when the bed is empty; some of us miss him in the morning when he doesn't come home to change after PT.  But we all miss our soldier.  Don't let our tough exterior fool you. 

We are a resourceful bunch, using the things (or chocolate stashes) around us to cope.  We live on our computers, our iphones and facebook.  Hoping that maybe, just maybe, he'll have time to call.  Technology is our friend, and our worst enemy.  We wait.  It's hard, but we do it.

Then, there are our children....I can't even begin to explain the impact seperation has on our kids...well, I could, but this military spouse blogger does a much better job.  Please don't ignore this link.  I beg you to go read it.  It made me cry, you know, the blubbery, nose-running, snot-flying UGLY cry.  And I don't ugly cry because...well...it's ugly.

So the next time you ask a military wife, "How do you do it?" Just nod and smile when she answers casually, but know deep down, it's hard work.

1 comment:

  1. You ROCK! Just incase nobody told you today...Oh and yea it was the "ugly cry" but wow-that was a good one! lol miss you bff!