I always thought of myself as independent. I THOUGHT I was a lot of things, but really and truly I was this girl who went straight from home at 18 years old into basic training where I was told what to do and when, then on to my first duty station where I did have some independence. Well lets be honest how much independence does a PFC really have? In this little bit of independence I met and married my husband who just so happened to be a soldier too. It was an unexpected whirlwind romance that allowed me to continue avoiding true independence. This level of comfort unfortunately did not last long, within a year of being married he was deployed, I was thrust into independence. While learning what I thought was independence I figured out that while he is 8000 miles away all he can really do is yell at me via email, so I did what I thought was independence. I acted on impulse, racked up debt and sold his car. (Its not as bad as it seems.) I realized a little later that this was not true independence and not the unique independence required of a military spouse. With the help of fellow soldiers spouses and those who were also left behind I was able to understand the responsibility that came with this independence, and dig myself out of the mess I made.
In addition to Independence Military Spouses taught me courage. Courage was always a word I took at face value, it allowed me as a Military Police Soldier to be able to walk into an unknown and possibly dangerous situation and still conduct myself in a way that would bring pride to the military. What I didn’t realize at the time is that the courage that fills military spouses is uncomparable. Military Spouses taught me that courage is the ability to sit and watch your husband pack his bags AGAIN, and still finding it in you to sneak a little note inside just to let him know he’s on your mind, it’s watching tears fall from your husbands face as he walks away from his pregnant wife and holding it together just long enough for him to turn the corner before you break down too, its waking up and courageously facing the day while always knowing in the back of your mind that the next call, or knock could be the dreaded one.
This brings me to compassion. A compassion that can only be found among spouses, a compassion that causes one to run out of the house in spongebob pajamas and high heels in a snow storm to provide comfort to a wife who has just learned that her husband has been severely wounded. Even if yesterday she was the last person on the planet you wanted to see. This level of compassion was similar to things I had seen among fellow soldiers. These spouses were the first ones in, and the last ones out. Soldier or not at that moment it didn' matter, we are all military spouses and we will always stick together.