Coffees, ceremonies, countdowns and community. That’s about what life looked like for the next year or so. I fumbled my way through learning the traditions and what was required of me as B entered battery command and I took on the role of his FRG leader.
Full disclosure: I am an introvert. I’ve learned to be more social, but it has truly been a process for me. I was 23 with a toddler and a baby on the way, trying to figure out how to be a part of the team so many leaders and seasoned spouses talked about. I’d heard that spouses didn’t have to be involved, but that leaders look at the “total package” and I didn’t want to let my husband or the unit down. From the very beginning, I committed to supporting my husband in what he called his chosen profession. It was never “just a job” for him and 14 years later, it still isn’t.
After another complicated pregnancy and 20 weeks of bed rest, our son was born.
When our daughter was 2.5 and our son was 5 months, it came time for my husband to deploy again. Knowing that he would not return to Bragg, I packed up the house, sold it and once again moved back in with my parents at home in Atlanta. We counted down the days until the end of the deployment and prepared for our first PCS as a family.
Now I know there are all kinds of thoughts about whether or not you should leave when your spouse deploys. Here is where I emphatically say
Early on, packing up and heading home was the right choice for me. When B deployed last year, the kids and I stayed put. They’re school-aged, I was running a business, president of the Spouses’ Club and prepping (yet again) to sell a house in preparation for a PCS.
We’ll talk about this a lot later, but as time went on, I learned more about solo parenting, surviving until I thrive and I became more social—truly growing a tribe. I can’t say enough how important it is to do what works best for you. You don’t win any awards for pushing through without family support closeby and you don’t lose any street cred for packing up and heading home. More than anything, this life is a process and we just need to be there to support each other wherever we are.