Today marks an anniversary for our family. An anniversary celebrating the start to a life of adventure. A life of challenge. A life of pride. A life of service. Fourteen years ago my husband took the USAF oath, forever changing the path our life as a couple would take.
January 13th is normally a regular day. It’s the day after my son’s birthday, so we are usually climbing down from that party high and relaxing or going to work. It usually doesn’t occur to me that on the same day a certain number of years ago my husband, still fresh out of high school (and still unable to produce a legitimate beard, although he will vehemently deny that), signed his life away to the military on that little black line.
But for some reason, this year I am thinking about it.
The military life is a unique one. Standing inside it, there are so many perspectives to take, and usually you visit each one at some point during your stay. Now that we are closer to the end of our military stint, I have become very introspective about what this journey has meant to me, my mindset and my general outlook on life. Or, maybe I’m just growing up.
So what have the past fourteen years as a military spouse taught me?
Well, I could give you a long list.
I could tell you how the ability to travel has broadened my horizons on so many levels…
how submersion into other cultures has taught me (and my children) that differences are nothing to be afraid of, but embraced…
how big girl panties should stay on at all times…
that the bond you share with your fellow military spouses is unlike any other and will last a lifetime…
that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder (but not without breaking it a little bit first)…
Those are some life-changing lessons, most definitely. But you’ve heard them all before. I’ve blogged about them. My Facebook status has mentioned them more than a time or two or three.
Want to know what I’ve really learned? What lesson has slowly sunk in over all of these years? Well, here it is:
What do I mean by that? Maybe a visual would work better:
All of that…it doesn’t matter. None of it. Because at the end of the day, when your soldier is gone dealing with the evil hearts of the world, and you are at home trying to make it day to day without him…every blurry little piece of life begins to come into focus. Your bs filters go up and you begin to see just how insignificant, how minuscule, and what a complete waste of time all of that above stuff is. When he comes home and that heavy weight of dread that sunk your heart the day he walked away finally retreats, nothing else matters but that cornerstone of love that your relationship was built on. When he tells you about his time over there, and the definition of ‘enemy’ morphs into something tangible, something that is right there close enough to touch, everything else just fades to black.
This is what matters.
Maybe this is why we are homebodies. Maybe this is why I’d rather be within reach of my family than anywhere else. Maybe this is why when my husband is home, my energy is geared toward us and not fighting political battles, watching the latest reality craphole television show, or obsessing over other people’s decisions that really have nothing to do with me. Because the reality of ‘life is short’ is fresh and always close. Maybe that is just the nature of jobs such as these. What a blessing it is to be fully present in moments together. The military gave that gift to us.
So, Happy Anniversary to the Eishens. It’s an amazing journey, this military life. May we continue to learn and grow, but always remember what truly matters.