Today! -hang on a minute, I need to clear my throat.
TOdaaaay.-whew!!! So much better!!
I would like to call out every movie, every book and every tv show that has ever made loving an active duty service member look like some sort of beautiful, romantic, fairytale. And the tag chasers that fell for that silliness.
Are. You. Freaking. Kidding me?!
Loving a service member isn’t romantic. Or fun. There are no break out into song moments. -trust me, I’ve pleaded with my guy friends while they were picking songs at a karaoke bar to sing “you’ve lost that lovin feelin” at least a dozen times. It doesn’t happen. Now ask them to sing “1 bourbon, 1 scotch n 1 beer” and you’re golden. But that’s a whole nother story.- there are no moments in which a service member in uniform lifts a woman up and carries her into the sunset. -as I sit here typing that, I’m trying to recall a time I’ve ever requested it. It seems weird to me that I haven’t. Maybe my mature brain has rationalized that since I can’t hold my husbands hand while he’s in uniform, I shouldn’t ask to be carried…But I’m not the rational type so that seems silly.-anyway, where were we? ah yes.-Loving a service member. It’s not romantic love letters and phone calls filling your ear with sweet nothings.
It’s years of weird, awkward porno phone conversations, (Seriously. Try telling your special someone how hot and bothered you are while wiping your 2 year olds butt or baking cookies) It’s “creative” emails with secret language and fun filled pictures that change how you look at everything in your surroundings. It’s having to maintain your “bubble” personal space with everyone -down to your mother people-because you haven’t been touched by a person for so long there’s no telling what kindof response your body would have from just a simple hug.
It’s running from the table at Thanksgiving Dinner with your in laws when someone says “thank you for allowing us all to be together on such a wonderful day” to avoid screaming at the top of your lungs “WE’RE NOT ALL HERE! CAN’T YOU SEE THE HOLE?” It’s making Holiday Traditions your spouse may never know. It’s building relationships with your special someones family and friends not as you, but as them.( picture yourself spending hours picking the right birthday card for your mom in law to sign from them and only them. It’s like being Santa to EVERYONE in your family. All these amazing things happen thanks to your thought and care, but everyone thinks it’s someone else.
It’s bedtime stories that end with “Sweet dreams. Daddy loves you” to your children. Followed by long conversations about your day that only your bedroom walls will hear, because when they do finally call there’s so much to say you can’t say anything.
It’s exhausting. Sleeping with a phone in your hand and your computer in your lap with one eye open. Yeah….That’s exhausting
And it’s stinky. -No. I mean it. It smells. Bad. Seriously. Have you ever smelled a pair of socks that can stand up on their own thanks to a 20 mile hike in 110 degree weather? That shit ain’t right!
Loving a service member means that from the moment you promise forever, your life is no longer your own. You will be torn from everything you know and thrust into a life that you no longer have a say in. Where you live, how you spend your time, how you dress will be dictated all in the name of morale and leadership. It means feeling like an outcast when surrounded by people you’ve known your entire life but feeling at home with strangers simply because the strangers speak “military”
It means fighting the urge to punch some ungrateful bitch when she complains because her husband didn’t take out the garbage that morning when they left for work, and holding your friends hand as they deliver their first born son because daddy left for Afghanistan a day to early to be there for the birth. It’s being strong enough to deliver that baby by yourself because while your husband was gone, your family is 2000 miles away and any near by friends couldn’t be there that one time.
It’s realizing the most important person in the world to you has somehow, through distance and time become just words on a computer screen or ink on a piece of paper. While their words keep you moving forward, you’ve come to realize the person behind them is barely a memory.
It’s going to bed at night and praying to God, that if your person is to leave your side someday, he take them now, while they are only words on a screen or ink on a piece of paper. Because to hold them once again, and lose them forever is far worse than the idea of losing the person behind the computer screen you’re struggling to remember
Loving an Active Duty Service member is not romantic. Or fun. It’s not even cute. Certainly not something to do to yourself on purpose.
It’s painful.It’s hard. It’s lonely.
But there’s a sense of pride in it that won’t be found anywhere else. A love and loyalty that only the few that survive the pain and loneliness will ever know. And that is beautiful.