Friday, January 8, 2010
Military life...the ups and downs
As my husband and I are creeping up to our 15 year anniversary (Jan 14th), I can't help but look back on his military career. My husband Larry is a 21 yr Master Sergeant in the Air Force and is still in! When I look at our wedding pictures and see his little 2 stripes when we got married I realize just how long we have been married. Those stripes take some time to work for! When we got married I was very excited to be a military wife but that soon got tarnished. It is long hours for them and lots of lonely hours for us. Military life is very hard on families and is not for the faint of heart. I am lucky that my husband does not get deployed but he is gone quite a bit for training and other TDY's. There are long days where he doesn't even see the kids or me which is hard on our kids. I have gotten used to it but our kids have not. Sometimes I feel like a single parent who doesn't have to work and have had to convince people that I am married and my husband does live with us!
Don't get me wrong, there are perks to it. We lived in Europe for 10 years and loved every location we were at. When we were first married we lived in Louisiana but after 2 years we got orders to Germany which we were ecstatic about. We lived in Germany for 4 years and our oldest went to her 1st school there and spoke fluent German. We traveled and saw things I thought I would never see! My most memorable trip was to Dachau concentration camp. That is a trip that will stay with me forever and I wish more people could go and experience. We also traveled to Italy, Luxembourg, Nederlands and Austria to name a few. After that we lived in Turkey for 4 years also. Turkey was a big culture shock for me as a westerner! We traveled as much as we could there and went to Capadocia and other ruins Turkey is famous for. We were there when 9/11 happened and had to be evacuated out when the war with Iraq started. Nothing like leaving your spouse behind not knowing when or if you will see him again. That was a long flight and a very emotional one. Thank goodness we only had Emily then. After our 4 years there we moved on to Belgium. We drove from Turkey to Belgium when I was 5 months pregnant. I know what were we thinking? I was thinking my new van will be waiting for me in Belgium and hubby let me get whatever extras I wanted in the van if we drove! It was not a bad drive, my only request was find bathrooms that had toilets not holes in the ground! We drove to the coast and hopped on a boat to get us to Italy. The boat ride was actually nice with beautiful scenery of Greece and other islands. I couldn't believe we were on the Medeterranian Sea! I have to say Belgium was wonderful....the base I didn't like but our Belgian neighbors more than made up for it. I had Madison in a Belgian hospital in Genk and had a wonderful experience. Nothing like a week's stay in the hospital to get you ready to go home with new baby! The beer Larry misses terribly and me well the pastry's and chocolates! We lived very close to the Nederlands border and rode our bikes along the canals almost daily enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather. I highly reccommend going to Keukenhof to see the tulips...so very gorgeous! We left there after only 2 years and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Let's just say that seeing the strip was fun and we made some good friends but we couldn't get out of there fast enough! We saw the Hoover Dam but that was about it...it is way too hot there! Now we are in New Mexico and so far so good. We purchased our first home and would like to stay for a good long time!
Now we are looking forward to retirement and he has finally started working on his degree (that the Air Force pays for) so when he does get out, he can get a great paying job. I am also working on my degree so that he is not the sole breadwinner and doesn't have that stress on him like he does now. The military does not pay great but it does pay the bills, our mortgage, provide us with free healthcare and he has a job that he will not lose so really can't complain! And you do travel quite a bit, which some like and some don't! I personally don't mind just wish they offered a pack and unpack your house service! The unpacking gets old!
Well I hope I didn't sound too complainy just wanted to share our military life with you. These men and women deserve our respect for the job they do and the sacrifices they make.