MSEJ August 2018 - Page 20

Letters from the Road

Dear Military Family,

By the time you read this, I’m sure everything will be fine. It will be mid-August, and on my calendar, that’s the red-letter month that’s been keeping me going since April. It’s the month where life is supposed to return to some kind of normal. Life with the Army has trained me to be skeptical of the terms “normal” and “supposed to be,” but I’m trying to embrace something akin to optimism. Between our recent move to civilian life and my husband’s tendency to hunt the good, some of this optimism stuff is bound to rub off, right?

We decided to leave the Army just a little over a year ago. Yes, I said “we”—and now’s just as good a time as any to say that the term “dependa” has no place in any branch that claims to have values. When I say “we” made the decision to leave the Army, I mean that it’s a decision we both took part in, a decision neither one of us made lightly.

I never wanted my spouse to leave the Army until he felt that he’d done exactly what he was meant to do. I wanted him to feel like he was leaving on a good note, even if Army life had cost me professionally and personally. But, there was a limit as to how much I could take. He, in turn, didn’t want to leave until he felt like he had done all he could. But, as it turns out, he also wanted to be able to walk and still have use of his shoulders by the time he turned forty. In his early thirties, it started to look a little dicey.

Waiting it out until retirement just wasn’t in the cards for either of us. We wanted to see what life would be like if we could spend a whole year together in the same place. So, somewhere on the road from South Carolina to Arkansas, we made the call. And we’ve been making all kinds of calls ever since. We prepared for this transition through a

deployment, two jobs, and a death in the family, and somehow, we’re still transitioning, even though his last day of work on post was at the end of May.

On that road trip from Arkansas to South Carolina, we had all kinds of dreams and debates about what it would mean to be out of the military. Aside from working at a grocery store in his teens, my husband had never had another job—the wardrobe would most definitely be a change.| HOT JOBS 20