As is so often the case in my life I find myself asking “where did the time go?” once again. November seemed to fly away! I browse through my notepad looking at writing topics and see that I can fill at least one more November, maybe two, with stories from my deployment. However, because Christmas will be upon us very soon, I have decided to take my blog in a different direction in December, and then revisit the Deployment Retrospective in the Spring of 2014. Readers who enjoyed my stories about deployment, don’t worry. There will be more.
One final deployment related thought for now: coming home and transitioning from a soldier to an Army wife was not as difficult or scary as I originally imagined. For me, the process of one door opening while another closed actually took place almost exactly this same time ten years ago, so I always reminisce about it during the Holidays. In November I attended my final National Guard drill before leaving military service. It was anticlimactic, disappointing even. I spent most of the drill collecting urine samples for the 100% accountability drug test as the Unit Prevention and Abuse Resistance Officer.
This was not how I imagined exiting my National Guard career, but it was rather fitting. After sixteen months of locking horns with leadership and fighting to be taken seriously as the youngest female NCO in the company, I got to sit behind a table and tell everyone to have “Happy Holidays” as they handed me a warm cup of pee. Nice. I will admit, I was a bit distracted during the drill though. See, there was this guy in Texas and I had realized that I had really blew it by turning down his proposal that I run away with him and live a very happy life (because I was a chicken shit). So I had to think of a plan, and quick, to get this guy back!
Not even three weeks later I was walking down the stairs of the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio Texas, hand in hand with my new husband, a handsome ROTC cadet who was just hours away from commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I had finally recovered from my fear of becoming a military spouse, and together we took the leap. After frequent and frantic conversations with this great guy, I somehow convinced him that I would not flake out, and somehow I charmed him into thinking that he could not live without me. No more chicken shit!
One door closed and another door opened. My days as a soldier in the National Guard were over. Now I had become an Army wife, still serving in the military, but in a different way. I have never looked back at this transition with regret or wistfulness. And my life has been rewarding in more ways than I can describe! Constant traveling, living in different parts of the country, raising Army Brats, and making new friends everywhere we go is our story now.
People always ask me if I miss being a soldier and wish I could go back to serving, wearing the uniform, the whole “Hooah” bit. I don’t have to think twice before saying no, that was a prior chapter in my life. I lived it, I enjoyed it. I served well. Now I am living a new chapter. This is my life now, and I still serve, but I am part of something bigger. A family, a team, and that I wouldn’t trade for anything.