Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reunions and Reality Checks

It's been twenty days.  Twenty good days, but also twenty bittersweet days.  We're together, and I'm thrilled about that, but being here brings certain previously avoided realities to light that put a damper on my mood.  Amid the castles and train rides and cookie baking and other magical things... There is a lot of tension and quite a bit of fear.

I LOVE visiting here.  Germany is by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  I don't think I'll ever be bored of exploring here, and there isn't a word that can describe how wonderful it is to be able to see Kyle at the end of each day.  His hours are long and his days off are far between, but the few hours we have are heavenly...and strained.

It's hard, having been apart so long.  Both of us have been changing at our own paces, adapting to the situation the best way we know how.  For his part, he's been morphing into the "perfect soldier."  Unfortunately that includes shutting out a lot of emotions and not thinking about things going on back home or things that will happen "after the Army."  And me?  I'm the exact opposite.  I do my best NOT to think about Army things and focus on making our home and looking ahead to the freedom of being out of the Army.  It makes for rather tense conversation.  (I mean, how exactly do you reconcile a soldier's need to deploy with a wife's need to protect her family?  Both are deep-rooted and valid instincts.  How do you discuss that without wanting to rip each other's hair out?)

We are so different.  We always have been though, so I'm not really surprised.

Don't get me wrong:  There are no second thoughts or regrets, and not even the inkling of doubt.  But that doesn't mean that our being together comes without effort.  It is a gargantuan effort.  On both our parts.  I mean, to be perfectly honest, our being together is holding both of us back.  I'm putting my college and career on the back burner, and he's turning down opportunities that would take him away from me.  Not being together is not an option, so we have to find a way to accept the sacrifices without being resentful.

I love Kyle with everything in me, but I also love a lot of people back home I'm going to be leaving behind.  I love security I had there. I love my crappy car and my desk job with a forgiving boss (who isn't firing me, by the way).  I don't want to leave those things, but I also don't want to be without Kyle.  Kyle will always win out in a self-imposed ultimatum.  And that's exactly what becoming an Army wife is.  It's a self-imposed ultimatum between your life and a life with the man you love.  It's not like being any other kind of wife, because in those marriages the two lifestyles blend.  In the Army world, their lifestyle takes over and you have to hang on for the ride.  It takes a lot of strength, truck loads of patience, a lot of work and enormous amounts of love to forgive that loss.  And for me?  It's forgiven, but the hurt and frustration is still fresh and prominent.

Am I even making sense?

But here's the real kicker. Even with all that frustration, even with the constant inner-struggle, I am happier here with him than I have been in the last months of comfort at home without him.  I don't regret my decision at all.  I honestly think it was the right one.  How on earth can so many contradictions exist in one person?  I think you have to be a certain kind of crazy to choose this life.  (Both soldier and spouse.)

Four more hours until Kyle's done working for the day.  I'm off to bake some more cookies.

16 comments:

  1. Sounds like you are figuring it out Carrie. No pain no gain? Enjoy your remaining time with Kyle and the land of fairy tales and magic. (I love Germany!). Be safe.
    Lyn

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  2. I think that when you decide to make a life together you always have to make sacrifices and there is always frustration and pain and hurt. It's just the way it is. There are so many things I wanted to do with my life that I decided weren't as important and marrying my hubs - and there are so many things we are still trying to work out that just come with time. I just hang on and hope that one day I will finally understand him and he'll finally understand me and life will be easy. Being married is hard work!
    I know you and Kyle will make it and although you will have made sacrifices and he as well, something wonderful and beautiful will become of it. I grew up in the military and I know a lot of military wives who stuck it out for more than 20 years and loved it. It can be a great life - filled with so many opportunities the average person doesn't get to experience. Being part of the military family can be such a blessing.

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  3. When you decide to make a life with someone you definitely take all the bad with the good. Marriage isn't easy - and I can imagine being an Army wife makes things less easy.

    But I think you are realizing that if you truly love someone the good outweighs the bad. No, marriage isn't always easy but when it's worked at and done right it can be a pretty amazing thing.

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  4. As a former Navy brat as well as the ex-wife of an Army man(we divorced waaaaaaaaaay after he got out) I can tell you that the strongest people in the world are the spouse's and children of deployed military. The hardest part is learning to be partners when you are finally together. I grew up watching my mom do EVERYTHING, seriously...my dad didn't know how to balance a checkbook or fix something broken in the house, he spent nearly 21 years in the Navy, most of them on submarines. When he retired (the first time) my mom realized she had grown so much without him that she was happier being able to do whatever she wanted/needed when he was gone. That is the hardest thing to balance, I have gone through it, soooo many of my friends are working hard on it, it is definitely a trial by fire. But in the end, when you are more happy for him to come home than to leave, its all worth it. Be strong in yourself and in your love, but be gentle with him, its not easy being a soldier away from everything you know and love. Remind him that you are in it for the long haul, but do not push. One thing the military is great for, is building walls, they have to, do do what they do, but its terror on loved ones. Love him wholly and gently and live.
    <3

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  5. It's natural that you're going to feel torn between your friends & family and Kyle. It's two different types of love. You're such a strong person and I admire you greatly for that. Your friends and family will always be there for you and you can always go visit them, but if you feel like you can't live happily without Kyle, then it's the obvious choice (which you've already made!) It'll take patience and it'll take understanding on both of your parts. Don't worry so much right now, just enjoy your time with him. <3

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  6. A warrior life takes a warrior wife.

    You go girl.

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  7. Courage is something I admire in both of you. Compromise is essential to all relationships, but you have both had to give up so much in order to be together. I really hope things work out for you, even if it takes a lot of time and uncertainty. You know we're all rooting for you!

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  8. It makes sense, Carrie. The Army will always come first. Once you accept that fact(as you seem to have)then you can start building your own life both inside and outside of it. You figure out what you want to do and what is going to work and what isn't. I have a life outside the army, but it is the top priority. If I have to create a new life because of it, I will. I have done it before. Because I love my husband and support him. And he loves and supports me. It sounds like you and Kyle have the same thing so you will make it work :)

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  10. Yes it does make sense. A really weird crazy kind of sense, but it does make sense.

    I wish you and Kyle the best of luck.

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  11. Enjoy your remaining time there! You'll be back soon!

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  12. Its only natural to want to do your own thing, after all you are young and your only young once, just think it might be hard now but you and kyle have a whole life together to look forward to, if its meant to be itll be the hard part is not to think about it too much and your partner doesnt need to be in the army for that to happen, i would know haha i am going on my first solo holiday without my partner in ausgust with my best friend, and even though i really want to go with her alone and have a great time everytime i try and talk to him about it i feel so guilty about leaving him behind but i know i would regret giving up the oppurtunity if i didnt go just to please him. because at the end of the day you know your girlfriends are the ones that are always there and i never would want to take that for granted. hope my ranting helped a bit =)

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  13. you always write things so concisely, I could never have described everything you did like that... I feel for you lovely but you seem to know your options and exactly how you feel so I have a feeling everything will work out for you both, sometimes making the right decision is the easy bit, its making that work thats all the effort.

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  15. Scuse please... where is your tea party? you are second on the list?

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  16. I wish you all the best, truly. The best advice given to me as a young bride was "Choose your battles wisely," which is another way of saying "Don't sweat the little stuff." My own two thoughts on being wonderfully happily married (for almost 15 years, by now)? First, don't be afraid to be mad at him, or not understand him. After all, there are times when we are mad at ourselves and don't understand ourselves, either, so how can we expect otherwise with someone else? It's not the being mad/not understanding that creates problems, it's what we do with these feelings/incomprehension that can be problematic. Second, it's not enough to love someone, you have to *want* to love them, too, even when they've made you mad, or you are at odds with each other. These thoughts help me, and I hope that they will you, too. All my best!

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