In just a few short weeks, Dom will be leaving me solo with Isla for four weeks. Being a military wife, I knew this was coming. And I really shouldn’t complain. One of my best friends just had a baby roughly two weeks ago, and her husband is deploying to Afghanistan at the beginning of September for nine long, trying months. But it still sucks.
When Dom was in Afghanistan from June 2012 to March 2013, I was furious any time anyone even missed their boyfriends who were gone for a weekend. I actually had a photographer I used to work with several years ago message me right after Dom left saying that she “knew exactly what it was like” because her boyfriend was “going to visit his family in Australia for two weeks.” I wanted to kill her. Didn’t she understand why that was inappropriate to say? She really thought we were in the same boat? But everyone deals with grief differently, and all she was trying to share with me was kindness. And maybe sympathy. But I find myself holding the same anger when friends have significant others deploying to places that aren’t dangerous, yet they act like it’s the end of the world. If there’s a Starbucks there and you aren’t in a combat zone, I’m pretty sure all is well.
When Dom left the first time, we didn’t have Isla. I was heading to grad school and really stumbling to find my path. I was trying to understand what was next, and a month after he got home, we got pregnant, and it all fell together. I have never been happier, but I also haven’t had to deal with him leaving for long periods of time…until now.
All of this had me thinking about military relationships versus civilian (or “normal,” for all you who aren’t military) relationships. I think that significant others of soldiers really have to have special traits to get through the things we deal with, whether that be training, long days and late nights, or deployment. Both we and our children will go through incredibly long periods of time without seeing (and sometimes, without even talking to) our spouses, fiancés, etc. We deal with troubling times and difficult or dangerous situations constantly. We exhaust ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
That being said, I would still take my military relationship over a “normal” one any day. The struggles make us stronger, the time apart makes us wiser, and the distance makes the heart grow fonder.
But sometimes, it still sucks.