This Tuesday I have a special guest blogger: my mom! She is going to do a short post truthfully describing what it's like to have a child marry into the military. Thanks Mom for your honesty and your perspective!
We've known Brian since Rachel introduced us to him when they were just 15 years old. I actually met him at Rachel’s 15th birthday party. He was a cute, quiet, nice boy. I thought well here the string of boyfriends begins! They continued to date through high school and to our surprise were still together when they started college. When Rachel was at the University of Minnesota and Brian was off at the Air Force Academy in Colorado I was 100% sure they would both start dating other people. Long distance relationship for 4 + years is impossible! So I said. We knew they had a very special relationship and we absolutely adored Brian but we never thought that the boy she started dating at 15 would become her husband.
Were we concerned our daughter was marrying someone in the military? Of course. We worried where would they live, would we see them, what would Rachel do and how would she cope when he is deployed? I was uncertain how to feel about them being a military family. All I knew about military life is what I have heard from a few people and what is shown on TV. Some people seem to love all the changes and others don’t.
I'll be honest, in 2008 after they got married and moved to their first base, I was very miserable missing Rachel and Brian. I would sob every time they left. It was so hard; them just being married and not seeing them on a regular basis. Ever heard the song “Stealing Cinderella”? The words are true. You couldn't ask for better for your child but they still are your baby and it's hard to let them go.
But at the same time how can I complain about the man who completes our daughter? The person she adores. The man who is a wonderful father and has enabled her to be a stay at home mom (having done it myself 8 years, I know how great it is)? It is so hard though having grandchildren far away. I am very thankful for cell phones and Skype to keep in touch but it is not like being there. I wish I could hold them, kiss and hug them at least once a week. It is so unusual to see them like 2-3 days straight every other month. It changes the dynamic of the relationship. It is nice how excited they get to see us when we do get to spend time together though!
The other unexpected plus is learning about the military. We thoroughly enjoy hearing stories and learning about flying the planes he's flown. Once again, something I know nothing about but love to learn and he is very patient teaching me. I just wish we could know more about his job, not easy for a nosy mother-in-law like me! ;) I love how our daughter supports him in all of this. It is not easy with 2 little ones at home. She has proven to be an amazing wife/mother/daughter. Love like that is hard to find.
If I had to give any advice to a parent whose child is going to marry someone in the military it would be this: Have faith. Trust in your children’s abilities and support their choice. Visit as often as possible. The other advice I would give is have a full life besides the children. Have a job, friends, and hobbies so that their being gone doesn't cause such a hole in your life.