It seemed like an easy life back in August 2001 when we got married. Travel the world, have a secure income and a retirement we could count on. Everything changed just one month after we said “I do.” I was in front of my 8th-grade students when the news spread around campus that we were under attack. My first thought was to get in touch with my husband who was already a couple of hours into his workday aboard Camp LeJeune as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

The next 16 years brought us things I could never imagine. Our first son was born just five days before my husband left on a ship for six months. We had a second son seventeen months later. Add it all up and my husband basically missed their entire childhood from birth until middle school. There were some really hard days, but I had a support system unlike any other and this life has shown me what I am made of.

I have met some of the most amazing women and children you have ever seen on this journey. I have friends spread across the country and I know I could call any one of them at any time and they would know just what to say or do. I have forged a career for myself through four moves with a missing spouse..all the while worrying about him and hoping he was OK. I always thought I was a strong woman, but this life has proven that point. It has also taught my children about real sacrifice and true friendship. 

With just 1% of this country volunteering to serve, it can sometimes feel like no one gets it. A friend complains about her husband’s two-day work trip or a family member says “why can’t you just come home for the holidays?”  They all mean well, but they have no idea how different family life is when you are married to some in uniform. Without my Marine Corps sisters and brothers, I could not have made it through the past sixteen years…plain and simple. With them……I have been able to be a mom and a wife all while working and being active in my community. 

If you want to have a job done and you want it done right….find a military spouse. If you want advice on how to juggle it all…find a military spouse. If you want to talk to someone who has been through it and come out the other side smiling with gratitude..find a military spouse. We are not your average mom. We are not your average spouse. We are not your average employee and we are not someone to be looked at with pity or sadness. We chose this life and we have rocked it…together.