Today is Rob's last day in the Army. He has been on terminal leave since October, but today... today he is really done.. and with that, we are really done with Army life.
The last almost 7 years of my life have been dictated by the Army and their needs. When I married Rob in that small Annapolis courthouse back in 2010, I only had a small idea of what was to come. We have experienced so much life thanks to the Army and it has always been an adventure.
Am I sad that this chapter is ending? Yes and no. There are so many great things about the Army that we will truly miss...
-Free healthcare. It goes without saying that not having to worry about co-pays and hospital bills is a huge relief. It may not have always been the best or quickest care, but we've always been healthy and able to do what we needed to do without worrying about a giant bill at the end.
-Opportunties to see and live places this Kansas girl would only dream of living. While we never made it overseas to live... we called Maryland, Georgia and Tennessee home. Places I never imagined I'd ever call home in my lifetime. Of course, there is nothing like coming home. But I can say I left, and I became a better person because of it.
-The sense of community. There is no community like the military community. We are bonded by the fact that we are all separated from home and our loved ones. We move somewhere often knowing nobody and we build a new life within our new community. We stand behind and do everything in our power to support our service members. And I'm not sure we will ever find a community that compares.
-The overall job security. Except for the fact that the Army can choose to Med Board you after any doctors visit and because of any ailment... overall there is great job security in the military. If you excel at your job and are continually striving to achieve promotion, you can easily make the military a career and retire young.
-Built in volunteer opportunities. My years spent as a military spouse included many volunteer opportunities. If you want to help, there is a niche for you within the military community. Being far away from home and not having a job left my days empty and needing to be filled. I personally enjoyed serving on the board at Fort Meade's Enlisted Spouses Club and Fort Gordon's Spouses and Civilians Club. Was there some drama here and there? Yes. But it was rewarding to see the clubs do such good in the community.
-Making friends from all around the country. Without a doubt the very best part of the military life is the people you will meet. Brooke's Godparents and our military best friends are originally from Massachusetts and West Virginia and our paths would have never crossed had it not been for the military. I've also made friends from other countries and states both near and far filled with all different lifestyles. It taught me a lot about life... because lets face it.. not everyone was raised as I was and culture shock is a real thing y'all.
We have the Army to thank for a lot in our life. It opened many doors for Rob in his career that allowed for him to succeed out here in the civilian sector. Our two sweet military brats are thankful beyond words to be around family on the regular now. Apparently mom and dad are boring. And for me it helped me become the wife and woman I am today. Taught me many life lessons and social skills I was lacking.
If you have been along for this journey, I have you to thank. To name a select few... Rachel. I could never thank you for helping me that first year at Fort Meade. So many conversations were had that helped me see what I wasn't already seeing about life outside of my bubble. I am very thankful that our paths crossed again at Fort Gordon. You are one of those military spouses the Army should be thankful to have. Abigail. That night we met around the bonfire in your backyard, I didn't envision you become one of my closest confidants and friends at Fort Gordon and beyond, but you are in so many ways. I can't wait to meet baby V #2 and watch your journey unfold even more. I only wish we were still just a few minutes away from each other for those late nights and countless memories. Heather. I feel like you are my spirit animal in that we are so alike, but still so different. I remember many a pep talk about how it is what you make it and this life can only make you stronger. Now I'm watching you kick butt in so many ways, first and foremost as a mama. I only hope our paths cross sooner, rather than later.
(While the above list could go on and on, please know that if I met you thanks to the military, a special place in my heart will always be reserved for you.)
This chapter is officially closing and a new narrative has already begun. But we will look back someday at our years spent within the military world and we will smile... it's where life began for us...