The alarm goes off at 5:30. I usually don’t hear it, but my husband eventually gets up and gets his little PT outfit on– black Army shorts and black t-shirt, girded with a yellow, reflective belt– and reports to wherever it is they are meant to work out, by 0600. They work out and Spencer makes it back home around 7:30 or 7:45. He eats cereal, showers, and gets back in bed. I used to wake up to cook him a hot, nutritious meal, but my husband prefers
cereal. He prefers cereal.
I usually get up around the time he gets back in bed and head to Crossfit at about 20 ’till 9. Spencer has to report back to his cof, Company Operations Facility, by 9:30 am, but it varies.
Depending on how long I procrastinate at the gym or visit with the other people since they are the only other people I usually talk to in a day, I make it home between 10:30 and 11:00. Somewhere around 11:30 I get a text saying “omw,” which is my cue to start fixing lunch.
Spencer comes in and removes his boots and jacket and sits down in front of the TV. We eat and he chills out, sometimes naps, until he has to report back at 1 pm. I may or may not have my eyebrows drawn in at this point. Ideally, I’m dressed and have the dishwasher unloaded by lunch, but I can get distracted easily.
I spend the rest of the afternoon doing chores, including looking for jobs. My goal
is to have the house clean by the time Spencer comes home between 4:30 and 5:30. I get a text for that, too. (In the spring he was home by 4 or earlier almost every day!) Honestly, sometimes I’ll lie around for like 3 hours and then get up and start cleaning at about 4 pm. For some reason, those seem to be the days I get “the house looks good, babe.”
When Spencer gets in, he takes his boots off at the door, and takes a shower, because he usually smells like “outside.” I usually try to have dinner ready between 5:30 and 6, so by the time he’s cleaned up and sits down, it’s time to eat. We generally spend the rest of the evening straight chillin’. And yes we go to bed at the same time, but I might iPhone for an hour on a night where I’m not that tired. We all know Pinterest and Facebook are 20 times more interesting when you need to go to sleep, so I’m not complaining.
Spencer shaves every night and gets his hair cut every other weekend (when it isn’t buzzed.) I told him to let me learn to do it to save the $13, but he doesn’t want to trust me.
Before I got involved in this lifestyle. I had no real idea what it meant to be in the Army beyond going overseas and narrowly escaping death. Since a solider is not deployed at all times, they obviously have an everyday life as a soldier, but we don’t usually think about that. It’s like how we never thought of teachers having lives outside school until we saw them in jeans at Schnucks (grocery store). There are other variables and elements than what I wrote about as well, but day-to-day it is fundamentally like any job. In fact, we call it “going to work” as opposed to something like, I don’t know, “reporting for duty.” This has surprisingly been regular experience.
When I was in Missouri, people were asking me how we were doing and all of my responses started out with “I mean…” Because we are happy in terms of being married to each other, but the Army isn’t really a thrilling experience, but it’s not bad either. It’s like those SourPatch Kids. First it’s sour, then it’s sweet… then it’s sour…
There is plenty I like about being in the Army. Yes, I consider myself in the Army. I wouldn’t tell someone those words, but I definitely say WE are in the Army because the Army influences almost all aspects of my/our life. I like that Spencer is still accessible during the day, and can take care of important errands if need be. Of course I like the benefits, discounts, resources, health insurance, but I also take pride in being a part of something important. I’m not serving, but I am serving a man that is serving THE NATION.
What is crazy about the Army, from my perspective, is the fact that the Army owns my husband. If he is required to stay at the cof until midnight because someone lost something, there’s nothing anyone can do about that. Or, with only a few days notice, my husband may be going out “in the field” for a whole week. On the positive side, we always get extra days off for holidays, but if we want to travel more than three hours away, we have to secure a pass.
Schools and exercises are the middle ground between daily life on base and deployments. Spencer is about to go to Ranger School in Fort Benning, GA for a minimum of 2 months. We won’t have phone contact and he only asked me for 5 postage stamps. Don’t worry, I’m not feeling sad. The wives all cope.
I don’t have kids to deal with on my own, so I really can’t complain. Our husbands also go out for field exercises for weeks with their units to get hands on experience and training. That is either on the outskirts of the post or at another station in the country. We can usually communicate by phone. Soldiers also attend schools where they usually go to a different station to go through some sort of course to increase their skills and bragging rights.
All families expect deployments. I haven’t been through it yet, but it is not as scary as it seemed 12 months ago because I have been around so many women going through it. I have never met a woman who whines about it, and no one seems to offer pity, but rather sympathy. It’s also important to know that most soldiers want to deploy! That is why they became soldiers. In spite of that, I know it’s hard for spouses to see their soldiers excited about leaving when all they want is to be a family.
At this point, I’m very pleased with how things have turned out. I was actually forlorn about my future when we became engaged. I expected Spencer to be gone a lot and berated by his work and oppressive superiors. I know things are different in other companies and stages of the military career, but right now Spencer’s responsibility level is such that he still has something to give to me at the end of the day, and I’m grateful for that. (He is also in a specialty unit, which seem to operate better than larger units.) Some women have their wedding and their husbands deploy a week later. I feel very blessed I did not have to go through that, but if I did, I know it would only have made me stronger.