by, 17-09-2011 at 13:27 (552 Views)
Here is a short essay describing me, the hubby, our situation, and why I am suddenly turning to this site years after joining (and promptly forgetting it existed).
Once upon a time, in America, a girl from Tennessee and a boy from Chicago both wanted to be field medics in the US Army. They were in the same trade training class and by the end of the course they were married. My big brother was born a year later, then I followed 18 months after that. Two more kids came in due course, but I am the important one in this instance as the focus of this blog!
Fast forward. In the first 21 years of life, the girl (me) lived in many, many places, including Germany, and learned almost zero social skills, because in the US army the whole family is institutionalised, including on-base schools for army brats until they're 18. My first job was over the summer at a Burger King... on base. This is because daddy was active duty until I was 17, and the very month he retired with his 22 years, mommy went from Reserves to Active Duty and we were a full time military family again. I thought I knew it all- deployments (Iraq, both wars!), 24 hour duty with no notice, and holidays being celebrated late so we can all be there. I am used to keeping my nose clean in case there's an officer looking and addressing people by their rank.
When I was 21, I decided to finally leave the safety zone and live the dream. I moved myself to England so I could become an archaeologist. And yes, I did do that- dual major Archaeology and Ancient History. I'm pretty proud of that. But while I was doing that, something unexpected happened. I met someone.
He had already been TA for a couple years and he dreamed of serving a 30 or 40 year career in the regs. He was pretty much my dream guy (here's the gooey bit)- English accent, tall with bull shoulders, blue eyes, big laugh, and enough scars and experience to stay interesting. And he was an army medic, the same as my parents and most of the people I've ever cared about. I loved him from date 3. Fast forward again: we got married after I got the degree. Fast forward to March of this year, and my hubby has finally done the thing he always wanted- joined the Regular Army. Sure, he has to go through training again, starting at basic when he's been qualified for years, but he'll be glad of not having missed the experience. And now he's really happy.
He finishes his phase 2 training in December of this year. Since the wedding I've been CRAMMING- on how to be a Good English Army Wife. I have learned loads from his parents, especially his mother (and I hate to buck trend but my mother is law is amazing in a good way; she really has stepped in to be my mother as mine's in the US). I think I have a lot of the living in the UK stuff down, including how to make a decent cup of Julie Andrews tea. I'm taking the Home Office test soon. But now, with Hubby coming out of phase 2, I have to come to terms with something else. The whole Army part of it.
I am fine with my career being his, the long separations, moving with him, etc, that doesn't worry me. I was trained as an Army wife by mother, who was the best on record- and that's by America's higher patriotic-enthusiasm standards. So on one hand, I think I got a lot of it down.
On the other hand, I am SO ignorant. I've learned the ranks so I can read uniforms again, a little, but there is so much I don't understand, and we can start the list with Acronyms. It took me ages to figure out that OH is other half and MQ is married quarters.
I love my husband more than everything else on this planet, including my family and homeland, hence staying here with him. I would rather cripple myself than disappoint him or let him down. I want to be the best Army Wife ever. And I am so scared I have too much to learn before this stuff gets real in December.
So here I am, trying to learn about the resources we have, the rules and regs, and all that good stuff to be a supportive and competent partner to the man I love. I put on a pretty face, keep calm and carry on, but inside I am quaking. I don't want to screw up.
Any help and friends forthcoming will be warmly received.