Idaho Mil-Spouses, You Rock...
Hey, friend. If you're wondering why an article like this isn't featured on an official military spouse blog or website, stay with me and we'll get there. To start, I'll be crystal clear about what this article isn't.
- It's not about your service member—sorry, not sorry, brother.
- It's not about deployment tips, tricks, or hacks.
- It's not about surviving your first or umpteenth PCS.
- And it's definitely not about scholarships or employment opportunities.
...And You Matter
This is a wink and a nod to Idaho's largely unsung military spouse community. But before we go on, context is due if I expect you to take me seriously.
So, here we go. I'm Ryan, and I'm a mil-spouse, too.
- At 36, I've lived coast-to-coast and traveled around the world. Sounds glamorous to some, but I know you probably know better.
- I spent the first eight-and-a-half years of our nine-year-old daughter's life as a solo momma. So while I was trying to build a life in the Treasure Valley, I was also feeling my way through the adventures of first-time motherhood. I failed a lot, but I learned even more.
- Along the way, I made friends that became family and acquaintances that shaped my life, for better or for worse.
- As for my marriage, of the 14 years I've been living life in the wife-lane, my husband was deployed for 11 of them. If there's on thing I know for sure, it's what military life demands of those of us hitched to service members.
We're Not Silent, But We're Basically Invisible
In a way, this was an article in the making for the last eight years that I've called Star, Idaho home. Why? Because before I entered radio, I often felt invisible here. In short, military spouses, like Idaho's military and Veteran community, go mostly unseen except on federal holidays. Until the cameras catch a homecoming arrival at the airport, or the media learns of a wounded or fallen service member, service members and/or their spouses don't rate.
Is that a crime or tragedy? No. A lot of us aren't even bothered by it. We're not out there looking for recognition or special treatment. Is Idaho a patriotic state? You betcha! And we're grateful for it. But on a granular, someone-really-gets-it-level, I just want you to know that I see you.
Mil-Spouse to Mil-Spouse, What Do I See?
- I see you trucking through your degree or your training after work when the kids are finally asleep.
- I see you working hard to build a career that pivots at a moment's notice for the needs of [insert your branch here].
- I see you not wanting or not being able to have children, and feeling like an outsider because of it.
- I see you with a baby on your hip, another in elementary, and one on the way.
- I see you with dreams and aspirations that don't fit military life.
- I see you trying to make a beautiful home while making ends meet on a tight budget.
- I see you working through and healing from infidelity, long-distances relationships, and the struggles of blended families.
- I see you taking the high-road when someone makes a crack or takes a dig at military life or your marriage.
- I see you doing the work of two parents while your service member is deployed, at another course, or in another school.
- I see you trying to find your tribe and missing the one you left behind.
- I see you, the novice, looking for advice, and you, the Yoda, dispensing it freely from the heart.
I See You, Friend
Because you're in the middle of it, I think it's hard for you to appreciate what I see in you. You're spectacular. Your story is awesome. You're more than someone's spouse or the sum of your children. There's honor in marriage and true companionship. But please don't forget to invest in yourself, in your dreams, and in your own happiness. Come the day ya'll "get out," I want you to turn around and feel confident in knowing that every lane is your lane. That's all for now, friend.
You're in my heart, Idaho mil-spouse.
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