Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beginning again

As I was going through my records and looking for some articles I've written regarding life as an Army wife, I came across this blog I began back in 2007. As life became hectic and I was busy during DHs' deployment, I let my blogging fall to the wayside thinking it didn't really matter.

Looks like I was wrong judging from the comments I received. I want to apologize to those I didn't get in touch with and I hope all is well. If you still follow me, please let me know how you are doing today.

Things have been pretty busy since my last postings here. My husband came home and I'll be posting on the issues that redeployment and reintegration pose. He had to attend schools as soon as he got back so a few more separations were necessary.

Then as Army life will surely do, another wrench was thrown into the works and we received orders to Arizona with only 2 months to report. He gave me the news on the phone and I have to say it took my breath away. I was in shock to say the least. And then I realized this was a good thing as it meant he would not have to deploy for a while. So I'll have lots to write on moving a household across the country and the pros and cons of Ditty moves, or do it yourself moves.

We've been in Arizona for a year now and I'm loving it. He's an instructor and although the hours are long he comes home most every evening unless he has staff duty. We ended up renting a house out in the desert. A lovely old adobe ranch house with 10 acres. With 5 animals it was the best option for us. We are about an hour away from the base, but the peace and quiet has been a blessing for us both. So stay tuned for life in the desert postings as well.

Orders may come down the pike at any time, but we are hoping to be able to extend one more year here. But eventually, I know our time here will end and we will once again be looking at moves, deployments and all the issues that come along with it.

I've been able to spend time working on a writing career, and I will be using some of my posts here to start a column with the local I'll let you know when that gets into full swing.

I remain a proud Army wife even with all the ups and downs that come along with it. It hasn't gotten any easier and with each new post and/or deployment a whole new set of issues come around. But we've made it so far and become stronger for it. I am proud of my husband and his continuing service to our Country and I'm proud to have played a part in the support of his mission. So with that said, I'd better get busy there are lots of things to cover. I hope you will join me on this amazing journey as a Army Spouse.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Beautiful Viewpoint - Author Unknown

For all of you who wake up in the morning, lay there for a few moments, trying to swallow the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach as you wonder where your man is, or how he's doing...this is for you. For all of you who start a countdown the minute he leaves, and continue to until he is back in your arms again...this is for you. For all of you who tear up everytime "Far Away" comes on the radio, or who press repeat when "Come Home Soon" plays in their car...this one's for you. For all of you who see Military billboards, ads in the paper, or commercials on TV and next notice the tears rolling down your cheeks, this is for you. This is for you. I am one of you too. This is for us. For all the times we sleep with our phones on the loudest possible volume, just as to not miss the call that just MIGHT come... For all the times we roll our eyes when another girl is depressed because she hasn't seen her guy in a week... For all the times we hear our guy's name mentioned out loud, and are momentarily a love. For all the late nights that we spend alone, cuddling with our stuffed animals, wearing our guy's sweatshirts and sweatpants, and clutching the precious dog tags around our necks... This one's for us. We may feel weak on the inside, but on the outside we're strong. We may be drowning in tears on the inside, but on the outside, we are a rock. We may want to crawl in bed and sleep until our man comes home, but instead, we get up and go on with our daily lives with our men in our hearts. We may feel like we're slowly dying with each day we spend apart from our men, but instead, we put one foot infront of the other, and take each day as it comes. We are strong, and we are proud. We have more love in our hearts than we ever thought possible, and for this, we are thankful. We are thankful for our men and also for each other. We are Military gals, and we lean on each other. Alone we are weak, but together, we are strong. We help each other, and we survive. To all you Military gals out there, hold your head up and be proud. We are connected, ALWAYS.

Author Unknown

Friday, April 20, 2007

Marriage and the Military

As I was reading through the Relationship forums, I was amazed at how many men and women wrote asking advise on marriage, finances, and fidelity issues. Should I get married, should I get married after Basic, my spouse is cheating, I don't know what to do...etc. You get the drift. Many of these stories were heartbreaking, however, being prior military myself I had to remind myself I was only seeing one side of the coin.

Marriage in the best of circumstances is not an easy task. It takes maturity, communication, and plain old hard work. In a world that wants and usually gets everything instantly, marriage has become a disposable commodity. Folks rush into it way too fast and when the going gets tough, they get going. They don't take the time or the effort to make it work. That is a sad state of affairs (no pun intended).

Marriage in the Military world is even harder to maintain, especially in times of war, frequent deployments, low pay, and lets not forget the affects of stress on our Troops. Talk about hard work? They're not kidding when they say being a Military spouse is the toughest job in the service.

So, lets talk about the main problems I saw posted on the boards. Gods, where to begin.... about the frequent posts asking about getting married. First is should I get married before I get in, after tech school, right before a deployment?

There are so many many reasons not to get married before a deployment or upon initial enlistment in the Military. Especially for the new young troops. Here is my opinion on why.

Most are away from home for the first times in their lives, many right out of High School. They are lonely...someone pays attention to them...usually a young girl or guy that wants to get out of their homes. And let us not forget those that are just looking for that guaranteed income...G.I. (many times found at bars, on first tours overseas, etc.) Now before I get hate mail....this is not always the case but I gotta tell you honestly I saw much too much of it from my troops when I was in. All of a sudden they are in Basic Training...guess free housing for the spouse. How will you handle housing issues? The troop is away at training for a long period of time or on that first 12 month deployment. Contact is sparse during initial training sometimes for up to a month you may not hear from your soldier. Contact can be sparse for the first few weeks of a deployment or for the entire deployment.

Getting the picture so far? Guess what happens next?

The spouse is not used to handling things on their own. All of a sudden it's not as romantic and carefree as they thought it would be. Feelings get hurt because of the lack of contact. Then when there is contact....its a barrage of accusations, tears, and fights. The troop gets defensive and withdraws cause they don't have any clue about dealing with relationships. Most don't even know themselves yet. Add to that a pregnancy or financial issues. Now you have a huge mess. Just imagine the problems that will stem from this extension in deployment time.

You have your spouse crying, complaining, accusing you of cheating...because thanks to the rumour mill that is FAMOUS on Military Installations they hear the guys or gals are having a big party 24/7 and sleeping with everyone but you. Troops are worried about their spouses leaving them or cheating. Yes, it does happen...its called the "Dear John" syndrome. There is the stress that the Troop has to deal with in their day to day job. Expectations that were too high to begin with are dashed. All of a sudden this is just one big hassle. Ever notice the endless supply of divorce lawyers that swarm around Military bases? They make a fortune off Joe. They don't know how to get help for the issues befalling them and have no real support base. Before you know it you are either in trouble with your command, your divorced (and yup there goes most your paycheck for child support). You can consider yourself lucky if that is all that happens. Consider the ramifications of having your finances totally in the dumps, facing bankruptcy. Charges of Adultery...the list goes on.

So, to get to the point, and my Soldier agrees with me. NO NO NO. Don't rush into marriage. Make sure your expectations of your lives together are not too high. Consider premarital counseling and financial counseling. If you are in your late teens or early twenties...take some time to find out who you are before you take on the responsibility of being a couple and/or parent. If your relationship is strong it can wait until you better able to handle being a couple. You have to realize that your Soldier belongs to the Military and that responsibility must and will always come first.

And I'm going to include the older Soldiers and spouses in this little message. Cause I've seen some 40 year old people that act like they are still teenagers at times.

Another big item. Internet romances. Now I'm not going to say it doesn't work out. I met my Soldier on the Internet and we spent a year doing the emails, web cam, phone calls and we did get to know each other better than most who've been dating for years. This is rare folks. We were lucky. I met him when his deployment was over and we've been together ever since.

I see women and men posting that they are in love with this person that they've been emailing on the net. First of all, how can you love a person you've never met. (it can happen, but it is rare). Also, keep in mind that anyone can say anything on the net. They can put any picture up. And yes they can pretend to be something they are not. Anyone can buy a uniform, dress up in that for a pic. Most the girls don't know what the uniform is supposed to look like except what they see on CNN. So don't be fooled about that. I know one such young lady...that has been chatting with this "Navy Seal" on the net. He sent a pic of someone in uniform. Supposedly he's been deployed 2 years somewhere secret. Can't tell her anything. She was upset because he keeps canceling their meetings, doesn't call when he says he will....etc. Granted due to OPSEC if he is a Seal he can't tell her much. But the fact that this has been going on for two years and meetings keep getting canceled....BIG RED FLAG.

Many times it's some married man (Soldier or otherwise)who is trying to get someone to chat with them. It could be the case of a lonely Soldier that is deployed that just wants company while deployed and will lose interest as soon as they come home. They will say anything. It could be a pervert looking to reel in their prey. You just can't fall for everyone that chats nice nice on the net. A lot of times, you're not the only one they are chatting up.

Do your research! Never give them personal information. If you do finally meet do it in a public place. Get to know their family. I was talking to my Soldier's Father on the phone when we met on the net. He would call me to see how his son was doing, because he spent all his free time with me. lol. And for God's sake don't rush into marriage. My Hubby says it should be a law that you live together for a year before marriage, and I have to agree with him. Take your time, make sure it's going to last and that you are both on the same page. Make sure you know what it takes to fill the roll of a Military Spouse.

Now for the big one. Infidelity. I read some posts from some very bitter women (and men) that had caught their Soldier and/or spouse cheating on them. Sure it happens. But is because of the Military? NO! Some will say that because of the very nature of Military life, (i.e., all the separations), that infidelity runs rampant in the military. Wrong answer. It does not and I'll tell you why.

First, you have the suspicious spouse that thinks that just because they are separated that the other spouse can't go without sex. Alot of times the accusations are unfounded, but it ends up adding a tremendous stress on the marriage. No matter what you do or say they will accuse you.

Then you have the rumour mill. It's amazing but people will say anything in the military rumour mill. Someone is always talking about someone, and the big one is usually about who is sleeping with who. Or you have the bitter spouses that make statements about cheating military spouses. Just because it may have happened to them, doesn't mean that all Military members are incapable of keeping their pants on.

If your spouse is going to cheat on you, they will do it whether or not they are in the Military. If your spouse doesn't, then they won't start as soon as they join. If your marriage is based solely on sex than maybe you should rethink things. I know many long loving marriages that have never had that issue even with frequent long deployments. There are ways to keep you intimacy smoking with a little imagination and communication on both of your parts.

Infidelity issues stem from other deep seated reasons and many times immaturity. Oh and guess what? There is this code of military law....UCMJ. They frown deeply on Adultery. And really think about it....your Soldier is working 15 hour days now with no time off, living in tents. Doesn't sound like a wild drunken orgy to me.

Last but not least we have finances. If you took a survey you would find that most married couples fight about money. Who has control, spending issues, and meeting financial responsibilities. You'd be surprised in this day in age those that don't have a clue how to balance a check book. You have those couples where one person pays all the bills and handles all that. Suddenly they are deployed. The other spouse doesn't have a clue how to deal with it. You have the spouse/s who blows whatever money comes in.

I find it a hoot how the troops around here have the best stereos, brand new luxury cars, blue tooth, cell phones, gold jewelry and designer clothes while living in a trailer that is falling down around their ears. Those are the ones who get the electric and cable turned off and have empty refrigerators. Again, not all but I see so much of it. When I was between paydays, a lot of those stereos and big screen TVs ended up in the pawn shop until the next payday. Heck, most the time their gadgets and jewelry spent more time there than in their homes.

Again, much of this comes from immaturity and inexperience in running a household. Believe me no one gets along when there are money issues.

All the above mixed in with the day to day stresses of the Military can wreak any marriage. But it doesn't have to be that way. Being married to the Army or any Branch of the Service, takes commitment, dedication, loyalty, communications, lots of love, and a ton of hard work. Don't give up at the first flicker of trouble. Nip the problem in the bud right away. Be open and honest with each other. Talk, talk, and then talk some more. Take the time to do special things for one another. Tell them you are proud of all they do and the sacrifices they make everyday. If problems do arise, take advantage of all the help available through the Military.

Yes, being married to a Soldier is the hardest job you'll ever have, but I will have to say that it is also the most rewarding and loving job you'll ever have.

Just my 2 cents,
Laura Roberts,
Proud Army Wife

Rock of the Marne!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hubby Reenlists!!

Well, Hubby reenlisted for another four years yesterday in country. He wrote me an email hoping I was proud of what he did and that I won't mind too much being married to the Army. Well, I promptly wrote back that I was indeed very proud of his service to this country and that I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now some think I'm absolutely nuts. Oh well, then I guess I am. Why don't I mind? Because for one thing he likes what he does and he's damned good at it. Of course I'm proud and supportive of him. How could I keep him from doing what he loves anymore than I'd want him keeping me from something I felt was important and that I wanted to do.

I understand the Military, the people who serve selflessly, and I understand the mission. I grew up in the Military. My family has a long tradition of military service, and my sons will follow in those footsteps. It is because of those that volunteer that we have the freedoms and comforts that we do today. It's the reason we can sleep safely in our beds at night.

So the next time someone says I'm nuts...I'll tell them they're right and I'll wear that badge proudly.

Laura "Nuts" Roberts
Proud Army Wife

Latest News

Well, he left earlier than expected and now gets to stay 15 months. I was actually geared up for 18, so the 15 months really wasn't that hard to take. I figure if I can do 12 months, 3 more months I can do standing on my I've been reading the forums on and there is a lot of complaining by both the military members and spouses. I can't blame them...the back to back tours, leaving early for the surge, and now this has got to be wearing thin on everyone. But we can't let it get to us. I figure the best thing I can do is keep that smile in my voice when we speak and work to keep his spirits up. I love making him laugh and when I hear that, I know I've brought a bit of sunshine into his day.

Now one thing that disturbs me is the fact that the different branches are putting each other down because the Air Force for example is not getting extended tours. For on branch to compare the mission they do with another is just silly. The Army handles the ground...the Air Force handles mainly logistics and Air Support. Every branch has their own jobs and missions. It's like comparing apples to oranges. I think we have enough strife in our lives without fighting amongst our military branches.

We need to keep our mind on the mission..whatever that everyones job is vital to the overall picture....not the amount of time you are deployed. It's called making the best of the situation and getting the job done. Enough said on that topic.

I would like to send a message to our Administration. Cutting the funding of our troops in order to force the President's hand on a withdrawal date is the most idiotic plan I've heard to date. We need support the troops that are over there. Cut their funding? Do they want that blood on their hands?

A planned withdrawal date? Again, what are they thinking. Why don't we just let them know all the things we are doing so they can be sure to prepare. Shall we send the insurgents engraved invitations and perhaps plan a reception for them as well?

I don't agree with this war but we are in it for the long haul whether we like it or not. The best thing we can do back here at home is support the men and women who are giving their all. Leave the military stratagy to those with the experience to deal with it.

Just my thoughts,
Laura Roberts

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Did I really Sign up for This

Well, I'll be getting a really good taste of being "in the Army Now". Not as a Soldier, but rather as a Soldier's Wife. I'm ex-military myself and an Army brat to boot, but now I feel the heavy weight of responsiblilty more than ever as a Army Wife.

I know what the drill is, but dealing with it is still not a easy thing to wrap the mind around. Before I was just the girlfriend. We went through his last deployment ok, it was hard, but on this one, my responsibilities just quadrupled. Now I'm in the Army as well, and if your're a spouse, don't kid yourself. You just as good as signed up for service yourself.

2007 came like a flash, and now I must get used to the fact that my new husband is heading back over to the sandbox for yet ANOTHER year deployment. There are a lot of things to take care of before hand, and if I know the Army not near enough time together before he leaves. I try to imagine how it will be this time and if things will really be all that different. I need to familiarize myself with the base and all the services available to me there. I'll need to handle all the bills and a new mortage while he is gone. And to top it off, I really don't know many folks here.

My heart breaks some days knowing I have to give him up for another year.....and I ask myself all the time....Did I really sign up for this. I must have had a momentary lack of sanity when I did. CNN has become my favorite channel as I watch the news from Iraq and try to gauge how safe my love will be. Knowing full well that I really am not doing anything but finding more things to worry about.

I've taken to haunting and spousebuzz and reading everything I can get my hands on so that I can learn about this new life of mine. Things have changed a great deal since my father and I were in the service, and there is really so much more to learn about as far as services and I'm busy doing research and trying not to think of that day when I'll stand there and watch him walk out of my life for another year. I'll try to be brave and not cry and throw petty crap at him as I know he has to prepare himself as well.

All that put aside, I know deep down in my heart that yes I did sign up for this and I hope that I'll be able to live up to all the new expectations that are required. That I can make my soldier as proud of me as I am of him. And I also know that he's the love of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Well, there goes my opening ramblings. So welcome to my world...that of a Proud Army Wife

Laura Roberts