The Real Military Wives of Blogland!
Several of my fellow Military Wife blog friends have participated and I am excited to be joining in!
So where to start...
I'm Traci, I am married to Steven, who is a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy.
Steven has been serving in the United States Navy for 16 years. He enlisted right out of High School back in 1998. He started out his service as a Nuclear Machinist Mate on Submarines for over 9 years and was also a Navy Diver. While he was enlisted he was busy in his off time getting his Bachelors degree in Nuclear Science. After 9 1/2 years of being enlisted, he was accepted to the Officer Candidate School to become a Commissioned Naval Officer. Steven graduated OCS in 2007 and the Navy brought him to Jacksonville, FL.
And that my friends is where our story begins...
Steven was stationed in my hometown (where I was born and raised) on the USS UNDERWOOD where my cousin's husband was his XO. Steven and I met in August of 2009 (Due to my pressing cousin Stacey who wouldn't leave me alone about this guy she had for me) and our first date was soon after. Steven and I casually dated for a few months until I realized on Valentine's Day of 2010 what exactly I had and I knew I never wanted to lose him.
We were engaged ten months after we first met, on Memorial Day in the British Virgin Islands!
During our time dating and being engaged I dealt with the riggers of my man being stationed onboard a US Naval Vessel.
Yes, Serving on a ship in the Navy you do have to deal with 8 month deployments but that is just the tip of the iceberg ..... There are routine underways (from 1 day to 60 days long), duty days (every 6 days he has to stay onboard the ship 24 hours straight plus his next work day, ugh), really long work hours when he was in-port (like 4am to 11pm days), when he was home his cell phone would always still ring about some issue that was going on at the ship, and being a leader on a ship means that weekends off are NEVER guaranteed days off.
During this time in our relationship is when I got very sick. I will be forever grateful for Steven's Commanding Officer on USS ROOSEVELT, who allowed a tug boat to go out to sea to pick Steven up and bring him back home so he could be by my side when my disease had me hospitalized.
Steven and I got married after a 10 month engagement and Steven deployed 3 days later.
Welcome to the Military right?
Steven was detached early from deployment (thankfully we only had to deal with a small 3 month deployment) so he could attend the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA to get his Masters Degree.
So three months after getting married, we were off to the West Coast!
Saying goodbye to family and friends is one of the hardest things you have to do and knowing it won't be the last time you have to do it is even harder.
We spent our first two years of marriage in Monterey where we welcomed our daughter into the world!
We are currently stationed in Charleston, SC and are a few months away from welcoming our son!
We have two more big moves coming up in less than one year of each other, and a whole lot of changes happening for our family, and I wouldn't change a single thing about it.
The truth is when Steven was last on Sea Duty it wasn't that rough on me, I had my own life, my job, my friends, and my family to comfort, distract, and support me while I was missing the Man that I love so much....
The past 3 years have been such a blessing since although he has been active duty we have only had to spend a total of 8 weeks apart due to training/moves. Steven has been able to be there to be my support system and walk me through the changes that the military has brought to our lives. Additionally, they have been two of the greatest jobs where Steven has had plenty of time for family.
However.... This is all going to change very soon. One year from now Steven will be reporting to his ship for his Department Head Tour. That means that the next two moves will be very different. First with a Newborn and a 2 year old I will be living alone at our new duty station far away from all family while Steven is away at School for 3 months....
Then after he finally comes home, he will start Department Head School... However, this won't be like NPS where he had a few classes every other day and spent most of his time at home..., Nope he will be in class from early in the morning till late at night trying to get qualified for his Sea Tour and continue to do good in school. So this means no big family vacations, no help with the kids for doctor appointments, and not having Daddy around when ever we want him.
After school is finally over we get to pack up, after only being settled for 9 months, for a move across the country where we get to start his Sea Tour.
The rough thing about "Our" next Sea Tour is that I won't have people to lean on to help me out when times are rough like I did before, now I will be the one being leaned on... I will have to be the rock in the family. I'm going to have 2 small children who are going to be asking about their Daddy, I will have to deal with all the things that Steven normally handles (Bills, Yard Work, Trash...Etc), all the tasks that normally keep me busy around the house, and additionally I'm going to have to support my husband with his extremely stressful job being the best wife and friend I can for him during this time.
One of the things that I have experienced already in our previous Sea Tour and something we have already started looking at for our next Tour is that we live a lot in the future... We are already looking at our lives 4 years from now when our Sea Tour is over and making plans for then... Because until then the Navy will be the one making the plans for our Family.
And since the Navy will be making the plans I'm going to be depending more on Military Wives/Military Wife Networks than ever before...
The absolute amazing thing about Military Wives is how quickly a bond can form and how good of friends you can become in such a short time because you are all in the same situation. I have been so lucky to have already made so many wonderful lifelong friends through the Military/Military Wives. I know that I will always be friends with and keep in touch with these wonderful women for the rest of my life! It truly is a special relationship/bond!
I have also unfortunately seen the very dirty/negative side that can come with it as well. There are wives that are petty, catty, and down right mean/hurtful to people. I also know that this could also be just the way that some women deal with the stress of being a Military Wife.
These are things I have unfortunately dealt with personally: Being told that I would never know what it is like to be a true Military Wife because my husband was so close to retirement/not enlisted to putting trust in other wives who I had just met who then turned around and talked about me behind my back for no reason at all.
So to be completely honest, having to rely on Military Wives these next several years kind of scares me shitless. However, a wise Navy Wife once told me "You will have friends for a reason, Friends for a Season, and Friends for life in the Military" and it is absolutely true. You can't always look at the bad because the good always outweighs it. I have learned so much from my past three years of being a Military Wife. I have much thicker skin than I once did and I know that everything happens for a reason.
I am so grateful for all I have been through because it has truly made me into the woman, wife, and mother that I am today!
-This post was brought to you by a true Military Wife!