It was late August. Summer was rapidly coming to a close and I was busy getting ready for the start of the school year.
This year was a bit different though. My daughter would be starting kindergarten. My husband was living in another state while training for a new job. The kids and I were living with my parents until we found out exactly where my husband would be sent once he graduated.
So there I was, sitting on the couch reading when I got the text that literally made my jaw drop. I’m really not sure why it surprised me so much. I should have known it was coming. I guess I just forgot about it.
I seriously regret not taking a screenshot of it so I could save it and show it to you, but of course, by now, it’s been deleted. So you’ll just have to trust me that this is what it said:
“So today is my last day on active duty”.
Those are words I’ll never forget.
You see, my husband had spent the last six years, all of our kiddos lives, serving in the Marine Corp.
But to be honest, it wasn’t what he thought it would be. He wasn’t happy. And it was taking a toll on our family. Never living anywhere for more than two years. Even when he was “home” he was often gone much of the time.
Despite its faults though, military life had been good to us. The insurance was great, we lived some fun places, and we met the most amazing people. It gave us community and purpose. We were working and sacrificing for something bigger than just ourselves and we felt good about that. Our kids were learning what it meant to serve and to be patriots.
Making the decision to become a military family was not an easy one and neither was the decision to get out.
But it was the right one for us.
And God had it all perfectly planned out. Pieces fell into place far easier than expected and my husband was given the opportunity to have a great job in federal law enforcement.
So he took terminal leave and began training for his new career. It had already been nearly three months since he had last put on the uniform. Which is why on that August day, the fact that it was “officially his last day on active duty” caught me so off guard.
This was really it. It felt so strange. This huge thing that had absolutely dominated our lives for so long no longer had a hold on us.
It was what we knew. It was who we were. It was a relief, yet it was also terrifying. In an odd sort of way, military life had become comfortable.
So now we’re fumbling our way through this new phase of life.
Now my husband wears a suit to work instead of cammies and he’s home more often.
In other ways though, since he is still a federal employee, things are quite similar. In fact, he still “got orders” and we still had to “PCS“, but thankfully this time there’s no end date on when our time here is up so we were able to finally buy our first house!
You may be wondering what this means for me and the blog since so much of it was centered around military life.
Well, actually not much will change because my husband decided to stay in the reserves and will actually continue working with the unit he was previously with.
One minor change you may see that I’m excited about is more of an inclusion of our nation’s first responder families. Although many may not like to admit it, the wars our nation have been fighting for over 16 years now are being fought here on our soil. Many of our first responders are fighting against the same ideology our service members are. Many of them are doing their best to protect and serve.
I am so grateful for our time as an active duty military family. I never want to forget what it felt like to watch him walk away, leaving for that first deployment. I never want to forget the sweet relief when we were finally in the same room again and I was back in his arms.
I never want to forget the incredibly strong and courageous women who walked that milspouse road with me. The ones who babysat my kids, celebrated holidays with us, and just “got it”.
That’s why my non-profit, Dear MilSpouse is so special to me. With each care package we send, I am reminded of those serving on the homefront. Visit our website to watch a video that explains more about what we do. And sign up for our email list to find out how you can get involved!