Well, with Michael gone to Ranger School for the next 58 days (3 down!) I have just a bit more time on my hands, to say the least, so I might as well throw a little creative energy this way. Looking back, time absolutely flew through the last four months of Michael’s IBOLC training (Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course) as he was in the field/out of contact every other week and we adjusted to army life. In theory, I’d be happy to pick up and move cross country for him/for the army every so often and deal with deployments when the time came, but I thought I could feasibly have a very normal civilian life as his support system.
I have learned so much in these four months.
As I scour the depths of the internet like a depraved soul searching for any morsel of information on his whereabouts, ranger school schedule, and the next time I get to see my soldier, the thought that my civilian life would be at all “normal” is more hilarious than ever.
1. Moving as a kid vs. moving as an adult is a completely different game. That little word “responsibility” comes to mind. Though it is a hell of a lot more stressful than I thought, exploring a new part of the country day after day is awesome, I love going on weekend trips with my other half, and it is possible to settle in after just a few months. Being able to paint the walls in our charming “vintage” rent house really helps. But the constantly re-nesting part is not too different from moving each year in college. In fact, we inadvertently set up our house like an expanded dorm room 🙂
2. The support system of fellow wives isn’t as forced, or readily available, as I’d been warned, but the fellow IBOLC wives I’ve been blessed to know are awesome. It’s really cool to see how these guys certainly do attract a “type,” in that the girls I’ve met are not only sweet, but independent and adventurous, which are pretty great qualities in my book. Thanks, girls, for making the “field weeks” infinitely more bearable and making this intro to the army so much smoother.
3. It’s hard to go on his adventure. By about the second month I was legitimately jealous of his intense body breaking training, camping for a week, and learning new and exciting things! (Ha! I’m such a nerd). At one point, I was ready to join the army myself. Michael laughed hysterically. Maybe it’s the tomboy in me, but it’s so hard to hear of all the exciting and meaningful things he’s doing and, as we share our day over dinner, report back that I’d unpacked a few more boxes, ran errands… The fact that we’d always shared our adventures, from college, to home, to travel, to career dreams, made this transition a little more shocking than I could anticipate.
4. Sitting at home is not an option. So I got involved, and got to work. Maybe this is as much of a college kid/real world transition as it is civilian/army wive, but opportunity doesn’t just happen when you move across the country. Not all cities offer the same job opportunities and I began to really respect the two army-approved portable career tracks- medical care and teaching. Just my luck, I’m not cut out for teaching or blood (not that medial care is alll about blood, but that fear of blood can stop a kid pretty quickly in career counseling, just saying) so we’ve had an arduous time brainstorming what I can do with my degree far away from DC, or other big cities with comprable jobs. So I’m not joining the military after all, (I’m married to it anyway) but I am seriously considering law school.
5. It takes conscious effort, a lot of conscious effort, to be ok with him being gone all the time. I feel like a sap to miss him so much, but I married him because I couldn’t live without him! (Didn’t foresee the living without him every other week/2 months bit, eh?) So it does take, and will take a lot of focus on goals and on the future to remember that this life is part of who he is now, and our constant separation makes our time together that much sweeter, our love that much stronger. With fewer days together, we can’t afford to take any for granted.
6. Goals are important. And timelines for those goals are even better! I stayed so very busy throughout Michael’s IBOLC time, I grew a lot, learned a lot, gradually got a lot done, but I think it will be better to have something definitive to show for this next stretch. I’ve got a start – LSAT prep to photography and yoga, but I’ll develop a list 🙂 Any suggestions are much appreciated!