Amanda is a Texas girl (I KNOW there are plenty of Texas ladies reading) who has lived this life for nearly four years. However, her first experiences with the struggles of this life didn’t come from the lessons from her husband but from her brother who – eight years ago – became a soldier. In this post she talks about what so many people ask (and what we often ask ourselves): How Did We Get Here?
How did I get here?
People ask me all the time how I ended up in this Army Life. People ask even more when they hear that since January 2008 I have gone from my husband being deployed to my cousin deploying, then my brother, and now my husband again.
Was I raised in an Army family? No.
Did I live near an Army post? No.
Did I seek out an Army man? No.
How did I get here? I’m not entirely sure.
These questions are usually followed by someone asking if it is worth all the sacrifice but the answer to that question is not the same as the rest. Yes, it is worth it. When they ask why, I silently go back to the day we got engaged.
I think of the day we got engaged and in some ways it is more of a testament to our commitment than our wedding day. Our wedding day was fantastic - don’t misunderstand me. The pretty dress, all our family and friends, all eyes on me and compliments flowing from sunrise to sunset - it was a wonderful day. But the day we got engaged there were no flowers. There was no pretty dress and if I recall correctly there wasn’t even make up.
My now husband was stationed at Fort Hood and I was finishing up my senior year of college an hour and a half away. TMO was at his house packing everything up for his move to Colorado. We had been packing, cleaning through junk, cleaning up all of his gear from his deployment, and had spent the previous 2 days working diligently to get things as ready as possible. I was exhausted! I took a midday nap before I was going to head back to College Station.
I was woken up from my nap by my soldier on his knees, tears in his eyes as he watched me sleep. Excuse me, let me correct myself. They were not tears - he had an “allergy attack.” Whatever you want to call it, his eyes were watering as he woke me up. He began to tell me how much he loved me, how excited he was for our future, and asked me to marry him. We weren’t at a fancy restaurant or on a romantic vacation like I had always dreamed. I wasn’t glammed up to the T and didn’t have perfectly pruned nails ready for photos. The ring he picked out wasn’t even ready from the jeweler yet, but he just couldn’t stand to wait. He said he was just so excited to start our life together that he wanted to start as soon as we could.
We were in the middle of moving mess. We had been up to our ears cleaning sand out of gear from Iraq. How does that sand get everywhere?! We were both completely broke, barely able to fill our vehicles up with gas to see each other on the weekends. Life was not glamorous, and we were going into it with eyes wide open. We had begun our relationship during his first deployment, so I wasn’t blind to the struggles of that. We knew how difficult things may get and we were not blinded by love’s gaze. We knew. Yet he still asked, and I still said yes.
I said yes that day and even though our wedding was 20 months later, I committed my life to him that day. I agreed to take on this army life, whatever it would be, and there hasn’t been a single day that I’ve regretted it. Sure, it’s not always easy. It wasn’t easy as I dropped my one year old off at day care this morning, dressed so handsome in a plaid button up shirt and khaki pants, explaining to his teachers that it was my “engagement anniversary” and I’d be taking our son out on a date to celebrate. It’s not fun balancing both roles and taking on the responsibility of a single parent while still having a spouse to take care of. But it’s worth it. When I get home and I take off my makeup and I’m in the mess of life, I think back to that day. With the glamour stripped away we chose each other, and we continue to choose each other each day. That is what makes the army life worth it. He makes it worth it.