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I am one of those military spouses. You know, the ones who don’t believe that they have it worse than others, the ones who don’t take credit for the successes of their service member’s military career, the ones who don’t feel special just because they married someone who is in the military, the ones who don’t need recognition for being a spouse or even a mother/father while dealing with the challenges of military spouse life. I am one of those spouses that some hate when they hear how I really think and feel.
I have been married to my husband for 25 years. As his wife, I have fully embraced my role. We have a traditional home life. He works and I take care of the house and kids. It works for us. I basically handle most everything. When he is home, he does the yard work and the car maintenance and repairs. When he is gone, I pay someone to do those things. Everything else is the same regardless of whether he is home or not. I do what I do because I am a wife and mother. It’s not because I have had to take on these things because of his career. It’s because these are the tasks that I have taken on in my roles as wife and mother. I would be doing the same things if he had a civilian career. I consider it more of a sense of duty rather than a sacrifice for his career in the military. I have a hard time feeling special for doing things that I should be doing anyways.
I have never considered my life to be more difficult than others. Life in general is challenging and difficult at times. My dad became seriously ill when I was 13, we weren’t sure he was going to live or for how long. Every year his body deteriorated more and more. My dad was sick for almost 30 years. In his last eight years, he was on so much morphine that he could no longer tell the difference between reality and what was in his head. My mom had to become a working parent and a caregiver to a husband who was unable to be a husband. Her life was hard. She is one of the strongest people I know, because no matter how difficult it was to watch her husband suffer, no matter how difficult it was to live a life she never imagined for herself, she kept pushing forward because she loved him. There are people who have to deal with horrible things and instead of commiserating about my difficulties and comparing my hurdles to others, I choose to be thankful for the life I do have.