One of the things I have enjoyed most while writing this blog is the amazing connections I have made with other military spouses. I have been very blessed to hear from and to get to know many reserve and guard families who have offered an incredible perspective. I first introduced Rena with her guest post One Weekend a Month and Two Weeks a Year where she introduced me to the Guard/Reserve side of this life. I am so very happy that she is guest posting again. If you are a guard/reserve spouse or family member and have any questions please post them below. She has a lot of experience with that side of this life and I know she is more than willing to respond. Thanks, Rena, for writing again!
My husband has always been a bit of a Pollyanna to me. He has an unerring ability to look on the bright side of things, find the good in every bad situation, and always think positive. As a wife of a soldier, I tend to be pessimistically realistic about situations, preferring to think the worst-case scenario as what will be so that I’m not creating false hope and having them dashed at a later date. This way, I’m then happy if and when things turn out for the better rather than disappointed when hey don’t. We are great for each other in this, each one tending to balance out the other on our little “rowboat of life”, being each other’s rock or counterbalance when we find ourselves in uncertain waters.
My husband’s position at his normal 9-5 employment has been eliminated. We found this out nine months into his 365+ day deployment to Afghanistan during his recent R&R. I imagine this happens to more National Guardsmen and Reservists than I care to think about. Factories, offices, corporations all continue to run when our men and women are called to duty and personnel are needed to keep any company afloat. When service members are called up, their positions are often given to another employee, transferred to another department, or, as in our case, eventually eliminated altogether. Those who own their own businesses close their shops and lose their clientele. Promotions are bypassed and careers are put on hold. Such is the nature of the Guard and what is at risk when service members choose to serve.
My husband and his Pollyanna attitude are not worried. By law under USERRA, any deployed soldier is guaranteed his position back or, if unavailable, must be given a position of equal stature and pay. He is protected from simply being cast aside, though the matter of how long a company must retain a deployed service member once they return from deployment is a grey area. But unlike active duty members, who continue to advance their careers during deployments, gaining promotions and advancing in rank, Guardsmen and Reservists put their careers on hold.
His employer has been fantastic to us during this time, and I have absolutely no complaints and nothing but major praises for a company that has not only supported its deployed employee, but that employee’s family as well. I have gotten phone calls checking in on us, and any questions I have had, have always been answered within the hour, with lots of follow up to ensure that my question had indeed been answered. I am told that his name is brought up almost daily and is fresh in the company’s minds. There will be many hugs when he eventually returns there to work.
No, my Pollyanna is not worried… or if he is, he’s not voicing it. And since I trust him and respect his judgment, I will swallow my pessimism this time and choose to believe him and, more importantly, to believe in him. Our rowboat is still afloat because of him and his unerring faith. We will meet whatever the next challenge is together like we always do.