It has long been said that the military is the 'other woman' in a marriage - her needs come first.
In that order.
And for fourteen years (and six months!) that has been the case. It was an arrangement that MacGyver and I made willingly. I may have been naive when he first enlisted right out of college but I wasn't nearly as naive when he chose to go to flight school all those years ago. It was after 9/11 and I knew what I was agreeing to when he submitted his flight school packet with my support. And it has been - for the most part - a wonderful 14 years (and six months!). Yes, there have been some low points. However, he and I have been blessed by his time in the Army and we are both quite sad to see it end. But there is most definitely a silver lining.
I get to say goodbye to the 'other woman' in his life. (*please note: those of you who like to misread things and get your panties in a wad over what you think I said...I am not saying my husband is seeing another woman. It's an ANALOGY. The ARMY is the 'other woman'. Sheesh.) No more will the words 'needs of the Army' come into play when making vacation plans or decisions about where to live. No more will we have to plan our family time around NTC and JRTC rotations or training exercises or staff duty. No more will I have to fight with airlines to get money back for a plane ticket that cannot be used because someone up the chain of command decided that random over-water training was necessary for a Global Reaction Force rotation, even though it's not required by any reg anywhere in the entire DoD. No more will there be phone calls at 0600 for 'accountability checks' while on leave.
Oh, wait...there won't be anymore 'leave'. I'll have to re-learn the word 'vacation'. Novel concept.
And a bit scary too. Fourteen years (and six months!) is a long time to be with one employer. Especially when that employer is the United States Army with its own vocabulary and all-encompassing culture. I read an article the other day and there was a quote that made me nod my head in agreement: "But the thing that scares me the most after fifteen years in the [military]?"
The transition is scary. For fourteen years (and six months!), the military has taken care of basically everything: housing, transportation, health care, legalities...everything. And now, well, basically we have to grow up. In a sense, we've not really had to 'grow up' while in the military - they took care of everything. Yes, there were some tough decisions to be made but ultimately, Big Army made the final decision and we just dealt with the fallout. Now, the decisions are our own. Where to live? Which health insurance policy to purchase? How much life insurance to buy? Which job offer to accept? Which neighborhood to live in? What grocery store to shop at? What soccer league to join?
I'm sure it will be less scary once MacGyver actually has a civilian job. But we're not there yet. We're toeing the edge of a big giant precipice and we're not sure what's on the other side. The current economic circumstances in this country - specifically in the military support side of the economy where the bulk of the job possibilities exist for MacGyver right now - are less than stellar. And that murkiness lends itself to an unknown that breeds fear.
But that fear is overshadowed by the joy at giving 'the other woman' the boot - don't let that door hit you on the way out. I get my husband back, truly, freely, and completely (minus whatever the VA decides is his disability rating)!