Field Ops and Kids

Okay, so my first post isn’t going to be too happy or peppy or fun. It’s real, raw and emotional, just like I’m feeling right now. They won’t all be like this, I promise!

Everyone thinks they know what goes into being a Military Wife, or at least the general idea of what goes on. I, myself, thought I knew what I was getting into when I first married Kevin 8 years ago. Deployments, Field Ops and Training, military gear all over the house. But the truth is, you never really know what it’s like until you live through it.

The day after we got married, THE DAY AFTER, I had to drive Kevin to the airport in order to head off to MOS school for 8 months. 8 FREAKING months. It was hard, but again, I thought I knew what it was going to be like since I knew he was a Marine when I married him. But that didn’t make it any easier. Almost the entire first year of our marriage, he was gone. I only got about a week with him in that time as he got leave in the middle of it. The stress of being apart made that week actually pretty horrible. We fought the entire time and then when it came time for him to leave again, we ended up realizing that we basically wasted the only week we had.

That’s how it’s been basically our entire marriage. Between switching units, training, field ops and deployments, he has actually spent more time away from me than we have been together. And don’t even get me started on freaking Barracks duty! When it was just me, I was able to just veg out on the couch and drown myself in sad movies and homecoming videos that made me cry. But now, I can’t do that anymore. I have two kids who are looking to me to be strong. Looking to me to reassure them that daddy is coming home. How can I be so strong and show them that everything is okay when I am feeling so alone inside?

At the end of February, Kevin left for yet another field op. This one, which was supposed to only be 2 months, has extended to the middle of May if not the end of it. My kids are old enough now, 6 (7 in July) and 3 (4 in April), that they are now fully aware of every time daddy is not at home. They are used to the 1 week and 2 week Ops, but these long ones are extremely hard on them. There have been so many times where my kids wake up in the middle of the night crying because they miss their daddy. This is probably the hardest part. I, myself, am feeling so sad and lonely without him that I want to curl up into a ball and just cry, but my kids are looking to me for strength and reassurance. I can’t let them see how much it affects me. I have to be strong for them.

But how strong is too strong? Do I want them to think I don’t need him? Do I want them to think that it doesn’t bother me at all? How much is too much? So many of these questions run through my mind as I also have to assume the roles of both mother and father. It’s overwhelming.

When they are gone this long, I basically become a single parent, even if for a short amount of time. It gives me a whole new perspective and a whole new appreciation for those of you that do this on a daily basis. It’s not easy. It’s FREAKING hard! Taking care of the bills, minor repairs, the cleaning, the cooking, the homework, the store trips, punishments, praises. All of it. You have to form a routine or you will completely lose your mind, not to mention the fact that it takes a while for everyone to get used to said routine. Then, as if all that wasn’t hard enough, you have your 3 year old coming up to you asking if daddy was ever coming back, or if he left because he didn’t love us anymore. That really broke my heart.

Of course, the one person I want to talk to about this, I don’t. I know this is hard on him too. He tells me every day he can how much he hates being away from us, how much he misses us. These Ops put a strain on him just as much as they do us. I know that. And I don’t want to make him feel worse about it. I am constantly feeling like I have to censor what I say around him. Telling him things like what my 3 year old said, would just break his heart.

So who do I talk to? No one. I bottle everything up inside and just push through it because that’s what my kids need me to do. It’s what my husband needs me to do.

I married the man. I married my husband. I married Kevin. I didn’t marry the Marine Corps, though, my one of my favorite sayings is; “The Marine Corps is my hubby’s mistress, and sometimes that bitch gets all the attention.” Because it’s true. I didn’t choose this life. I chose a life with my husband, with the man I love. And I will keep living this life as long as he chooses because I choose him. It’s not easy. Most of the time it flat out sucks. But I love my husband, my kids love their father, and it doesn’t matter how long he is away from us, I am damn sure that he is always going to have a loving family to come home to.