Military women are some of the strongest, most resilient, unyielding women you will ever come across. We take on double the load. We act as single parents while keeping the other parent “present”. We fight to not just survive but to thrive. We cry the greatest tears, feel the deepest longing, pray the fiercest prayers and we make it through. We keep moving forward. We do what we have to do to build a strong family, to keep a strong marriage, to raise happy and loving children.
We take everything onto ourselves. We have no other choice but to be both parents, to make every decision, to live as independents while existing as a “co”. When our soldier is gone, we learn how we need to do things independently in order to still do them well without our partner present. Once we find that ability we cling to it and it gets us through each and every day.
Because we are the strongest of women. We are determined women. We are (and have to be) women who can make it on their own. We decide where things are placed. We mow the lawn. We take out the trash. We discipline and reward our children. We determine the routine. We pay the bills, sign the loans, set up the cable, cancel the cable, set-up utilities, check the tire pressure. We teach our children what they can and cannot do, dry their tears, hold their hands, enforce the rules. And we have to. We have to do that for our families, and for ourselves. We have to take on both roles. We have to cling to that power and ability. For twelve months we have to be in control. It allows us to make it through. It allows us to succeed.
Then they come home and everything shifts.
It isn’t easy.
We then have to find ourselves again. The “who I am” when one becomes two. It is hard to get out of that “go” mode. That “this-is-the-way-I-said-it-is-going-to-be-so-this-is-the-way-it-is-going-to-happen” mode. We have to learn to discuss and decide together again rather than to just do. We have to become a unit again. We have to relinquish some control. We have to allow them to decide. We have to let them know they matter, that we need them.
It doesn’t just happen. It is so important to realize that it can’t just happen. We can’t just shut-off survival mode. It isn’t natural to let go of something so easily that is nowhere near easy to gain. It takes so much energy and determination to get us to that point. To just let it go, to just “forget” how to live that way cannot so easily come to be. It takes time. It takes patience.
When we marry we have to learn to go from being two to living as one. When our soldier returns we must relearn it again.
We have to listen to each other, talk to one another. We have to acknowledge that this is hard, this is the next part of the cycle. We will learn through this together.
We are strong women married to brave men. And we must help each other through as one becomes two.