Friday, August 23, 2013

Caught in Between

I've been reading Military Spouse magazine off and on for the past couple of years.  The articles and columns are usually geared toward spouses of Active and Deployed service members.  Every once in awhile I will find something interesting or that pertains to our situation.

Starting with last month's issue, they started a regular column that focuses on Reserve and Guard families.  The first article was about the difference in send off between Active and Reserve/Guard service members by a spouse who has done both.  It hit a little close to home as we are currently preparing for a deployment starting in February.

This month's column was titled "Welcome to the Civilitary."  It really put into words what I've been struggling with over the past 2 years and gave us a title.  When I say "us" I mean those connected to the Reserves and the Guard.  I never thought about it this way before, but one of the spouses interviewed (an Army National Guard spouse) put it best when she called it "Civilitary."  And she is 100% correct.  We don't really fit into the civilian world and we don't really fit into the military world.

Freddy was supposed to deploy last October for 11 months.  About 4 weeks before they were supposed to report, they scaled back from 48 guys to 15 and he wasn't selected.  BUT, we spent the summer preparing for this deployment.  Freddy and I have been together since 2005 and married since 2008, but it wasn't until I attended a Yellow Ribbon Event last August that I found out about a lot of military services and opportunities that were available to us.  As a National Guard family, we just aren't regularly exposed to a lot of information unless we seek it out.

In addition, there isn't the same support structure.  None of my nearby friends or co-workers are military.  I even had one of my close friends comment that I'm not the same as an Active duty spouse and why would I think otherwise.  Sure... we don't have the same struggles, but we still have struggles related to the military.  We have to balance our civilian responsibilities with our military responsibilities.  I work a fairly high stress IT job so when Freddy is gone, the stress is even higher keeping up with my work as the Director of a Project Management department (which involves evening and weekend implementations) along with double duty at home completing both Freddy's chores and my chores.  There are many nights I'm taking out the trash at 2:00AM because I couldn't get to it before then.  I am fairly lucky in that my boss is pretty flexible with me when Freddy is gone.  As long as I'm getting my job done I can telecommute a couple days a week if I need to.

I would love to be able to take advantage of the PX or the Commissary more often, but we live almost 2 hours away from the nearest military base.  I'm probably going to have to take a day off work just to get in there to get my ID renewed since they aren't open on weekends and only open until 4pm during the week.

Marshall starts pre-school in 2 weeks and I can guarantee he will be one of very few, if any, military kids in his class.  He is now getting to the age where he knows when daddy is gone but doesn't understand why.  What do you tell a 2 year old who lays in bed crying "I miss my daddy!" :(

And can we talk about my cats?  For some reason all 4 turn into holy terrors the second Freddy leaves!

But seriously, as I sit here thinking about the new deployment that is a definite for February and what needs to be completed before he leaves, I'm wondering if we'll be able to hold it together.  What I can say is the online Military spouse community has been priceless in the amount of information I've been able to absorb from them.  But the reality of the situation is we are caught in between the civilian world and the military world and expected to function full time in both.

All we can do is what any family does... power through!