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Friday, October 16, 2009

A quick glance into the future

Somehow a whole month has managed to pass without me making a single update to this little web log of mine; for shame! It's not that I've been terribly busy or out painting the town red, but something about this time of year just feels as though everything is speeding past me at a breakneck pace. Add to that the pressures of actually having a full-time relationship once again, and, well, it's easy to get caught up in the minutiae of daily life.

Captain Husband and I continue our reintegration process, which, at times, can be pretty darn brutal. We seem to be over the worst of it (it's been at least two weeks since our last argument, and before that they were an almost nightly occurrence), but I'm still having trouble with the realization that even though we've now apparently gotten used to the "new" normal, it's only a matter of time before our world is turned upside down again. For those of you who are unaware of the situation, CH decided while in Afghanistan that he wanted to return to active duty service once he got back from his mission. He's since put in his request and now we're just waiting to hear whether or not the Army will take him back (and we're pretty sure they will), which should happen in the next two weeks or so.

CH and I have had several discussions in which he outlined the various possibilities of what will happen when he receives his orders. The best case scenario would be that CH is sent to officers' school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he would undergo the necessary training required for him to receive his next promotion, while I would stay behind in Virginia for the six-to-eight months that he's gone. After that, CH would volunteer for a year-long assignment in Korea, where he would hopefully receive a command position and continue on his path to promotion. Depending on the situation, he might extend his stay in Korea to two years, all the while I'm in Virginia, holding down the fort, working at my current job, and (theoretically) paying down my student loans. The best part about him being a geographic bachelor in Korea is that I could go and visit him if we opted, plus he would have regular access to a cell phone and the internet--something he definitely did not have in Afghanistan. Then, once he was through in Korea, he would return to the States with his promotion in hand, and request to go back to school for eighteen months to get his masters degree through the GI bill. This is, of course, the best case scenario, and the Army--albeit in my limited experience--often has an uncanny knack of doing the exact opposite of what you've hoped/planned for, which naturally scares the bejeesus out of me.

I know some people hear military spouses' tales of woe and apprehension and think to themselves,"Well, you knew what you were getting into when you married him/her." However, in my case, that isn't necessarily true. When CH and I met, the Army was a part of his past, not his future. He was still active with the Virginia National Guard, which I respected, but he told me that he had no intentions of going back to the Army life that he had left behind. You can imagine my surprise, then, when he informed me only three and a half months into our relationship that he had made the decision to volunteer for a one-year mission in Afghanistan. Never in a million years, though, did I expect our phone calls and emails while he was gone to turn more and more to the topic of going back to active duty service once he returned from the sandbox. I secretly hoped that CH's experience in Afghanistan would change his mind, but it only seemed to strengthen his resolve. And once he returned to his civilian job this past August, CH's decision to return to the Army was all but cemented by his extreme dissatisfaction with his current work.

So where exactly does this leave me? Well, I'm not sure. I am able to accept the rationalization behind CH's choice--job security, a good paycheck, excellent benefits for both of us--but it is terribly difficult for me to accept the drastic effects that his decision will have on my life. Eventually, I will have to quit my job (which, though I complain about it, is still extremely satisfying to me on an intellectual level) and move to a place that I know nothing about, far from my support network of family and friends that I relied upon while CH was gone. It's a scary prospect, and the feminist in me is having a hard time coming to terms with the reality of my situation, but I am trying. Fortunately, CH realizes this and is understanding when I air my frustrations and fears. If anything, the year apart has taught us to trust each other and support one another no matter what, which has come in very handy while in this stage of unknowing, and for that, I am thankful.


Katharine R. said...

With your Army family you are never to far away from a support network. I'll watch your back, if you watch mine :) Maybe my husband and CH will end up in Korea at the same time!

L. said...

Wouldn't that be awesome, having our geographic bachelors over there together? I'm sure hijinks would ensue!

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