Truth be told, I find the idea behind Military Spouse Appreciation Day a bit hokey so I do feel quite silly even writing about the seemingly made-up day (surprisingly – totally a ‘real’ day, thanks Ronald Reagan). But in my 10+ years as a military spouse, I have come across some amazing kick-ass women and men so I suppose today is as good as any to appreciate them. And pass them a glass of wine.
Soldiers departing for Egypt lean out of their windows – 1935.
There are days when I feel like an imposter because my husband is not currently in a combat brigade and TDYs are currently our only source of separation. And he has come home from his deployments unharmed with no lasting post-traumatic stress – many other spouses can’t say the same. I feel like I’ve paid my dues, so to speak, and there have been plenty of times when I’ve had to put on my big girl panties and just deal, but overall, I don’t have many complaints about being a military spouse. Perhaps that is because I don’t have many complaints in general – I am happy to be alive, I’m happy to have a husband whom I adore, and I am happy to be the mother of two kids who challenge me to be a better person each day. Life is good.
Tell us about yourself and your blog. My name is Karen and I was named after my mom’s favorite paper doll. I can spit and hit a baby boomer with the name but I have only encountered a few other 30ish-old Karen’s in the wild. We’re a rare breed. I’ve been blogging since 2006 – I created The Sour Patch Experiment (now defunct) during my husband’s first deployment and have been documenting my life off and on ever since. Obviously, I haven’t made it big but I prefer it that way…you know, PERSEC and OPSEC and all that jazz. I did turn down the opportunity to appear on The Today Show in 2007 because I wasn’t comfortable discussing the struggles of my husband’s deployment on air…that pretty much nailed the ‘mainstream blogger’ coffin shut.
What branch of military are you affiliated with? Army. I met my husband the third week of my freshman year at Clemson University. He was a sophomore ROTC cadet living in the same dorm and we’ve been together ever since. We were married in 2004 and have a five-year-old son and an almost-two-year-old daughter and a chocolate lab. Confession – when it comes to service academy rivalries, we could care less. Go Army, I suppose. But we will cheer the loudest for our Clemson Tigers.
An almost 14 year age progression…
Just a little fun comparison: our first military function together – Clemson ROTC Dining Out in December 2001 vs. our latest military function together – a military ball this past fall. Suffice to say, the man’s hair has been tamed over the years.
What is one thing you enjoy about the military lifestyle? The opportunity to live places I never would have chosen myself. New beginnings. Reuniting with old friends. Having too many adventures to count. And homecomings – no matter the length of the separation, homecomings sure are swell.
What advice would you give other spouses who are new? Make the most of this ride. There will be ups. And there will be downs. And what fun is a ride if you’re always hanging on to the safety bar?