So this is it, the last week I will spend being half a world away from my husband. The wait is almost over and it seems so surreal. Everyone asks if I’m excited…umm…is that even a valid question? OF COURSE I’M EXCITED, I’m ecstatic! This journey subtly tagged as “contract work” has really opened my eyes to the lack of understanding that the general public has for not only our military & contractors, but for the families supporting them from the home field. Some questions or comments that you hear literally want to make you smack the person they are coming from. Seriously, a book should be written on what NOT to say to the spouse of someone deployed to a warzone. So what are some of these comments and questions you might ask? Here are just a few….
· Do you worry about him? Gezzz, let me simmer on that for a minute…. Yes I worry about my husband; he’s in a warzone for crying out loud! You tell me you worry about your husband’s transit to work daily and you ask me if I’m worried about mine. Really?!
· Do you miss him? Would you miss half of your heart if it was missing, I think so! I miss him, but life does not stop without him. I can’t sit down and have a pity party for the duration of his deployment. Just because I’m not a sobbing mess doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my husband.
· You’ve got it made making all that money. Never, I repeat NEVER say this to a contractor’s spouse. A fury unlike no other may be unleashed on you if you do so consider yourself warned from this moment on. You can’t put a price on having someone physically home with you plus, the paycheck isn’t as high as you imagine I’m sure.
· Don’t you get lonely? Of course I get lonely, especially at my age when the majority of my friends are married and have families. You find your circle of friends get smaller since you are considered the “odd wheel” or you’re not asked because it may be uncomfortable for you and you are rarely invited out by them because of that. Hey people, why not be a friend when a friend is needed the most?
· There are PLENTY of jobs here in the states; he didn’t have to go overseas. I’m still waiting to find out where this sea of jobs can be found (along with hundreds of others)………. End of story.
· When we first moved our relationship past the “friend” stage he’d send me flowers and things. Never refer to gifts as him “buying your love.” Your husband/boyfriend takes you out to dinner and buys you the occasional flower bouquet every now and then and I don’t refer to this as him buying you so what is the difference? If my husband wanted to fill our entire house with flowers/cards/gifts so be it! It made him feel better when he wasn’t home to take me out on dates.
· How connected can you be if he’s never around? After conversations with numerous people, I’m confident in saying that I’m more connected to mine than the majority that live daily with their spouse. We communicate as opposed to many who just share air space.
· My husband travels for work so I know exactly how you feel. If your husband is in a work zone where he is surround by people whose goal in life is to kill and destroy people like him, there are mortar & rocket attacks, he lives in a tent, has no access to a hot breakfast or decent meal, threats of not only terrorists but vipers (not the cars) and scorpions, he’s gone for months at a time (for some spanning over a year) then yes, yes you know how I feel. Otherwise, shut it!
· You’ve not seen your husband/boyfriend in a few days or a week or a month…. Really, you get absolutely no sympathy from me…NONE.
· He’s “just a contractor.” This statement has chapped me every time I hear it. Do you know that there are more contractors than troops SERVING in war zones now? Do you know that they are just as much at risk as military? Do you think they are bullet/rocket proof just because they are a “contractor?” My husband, as well as so many others, have sacrificed more than you could imagine so be grateful and don’t discount their sacrifices for our country.
· During our family loss, “you need him here, can’t he just come home?” This is no 9-5 job people. No, he can’t just come home. Do you realize how many deaths, holidays, important events, births, etc that our troops and contract workers miss as part of their duty to our country? Don’t be naive and think that just because you can ask for a day off, that they can.
As this chapter of our life comes to a close, I can’t help but be thankful for all the things that I have learned from it. I know that every day together is a gift and should be treated as such. I know that sacrifices are made daily in the war zone and the home front. I’m excited about what the future holds for John & me as he adjusts back to civilian life. My daily prayers will remain with those who are still in waiting for their loved ones to return home.