Yesterday, my husband and I were in the waiting room of a shipping company, waiting happily for our car to be delivered to us. We recently shipped it from Hawaii, during our PCS, and took the day to go and pick it up. We goofed and laughed during the two hour, traffic filled drive, excited that our personal belongings have finally started making their way to the east coast.
They are pretty strict at the shipping company, for safety reasons, and only let my husband in the loading area to inspect our vehicle for pick up. I had watched a few other servicemembers go in and out of the inspection area, happily coming back with the keys to their cars. I said to myself, “Ten more minutes and we will be sitting at a Panera Bread for lunch. This will be a cinch.”
Ten minutes passed. I thought it was maybe just a little busy, there were a lot of people there. No big deal, I had a riveting game of Angry Birds going and was amused by a young mom telling her daughter about their upcoming move to Korea.
Thirty minutes passed. Now I was getting antsy. I hoped my husband was ok. Then, in the middle of reading some gossip on Facebook, my phone rang. It was my husband. “We have a little bit of a problem,” he said calmly. “The car won’t run. I tried to drive it and it just won’t run. I floored it, no gas, nothing. All the check engines lights came on. I called a tow truck. We have to get it towed back home.”
Then, I could hear him waiting, nervously, for my response on the other end of the phone. What do you think I did? Freak out? Cuss? Stomp my feet? Cry?
Nope, I laughed, and really hard too. I asked my husband how long for the tow truck and went back to my game of Angry Birds. Sure, I cared and was worried about a million different things, mainly what in the world happened to our car, but throwing a fit in that waiting room would not have accomplished anything. Plus, I didn’t want to scare the small children.
As military spouses, we have to be on our toes for anything. All it can take is one phone call or email and everything is upside down. I remember the day my husband found out he was getting deployed. I walked through the door from grocery shopping and he told me about an email he just received saying he had orders to go to Afghanistan for a year. He was leaving in a few short months. Sure, I wanted to cry and totally lose it, but I didn’t. I looked him in the face and said, “ It is okay, this is your job, I am here for you. What do we need to do? What can I do?” (I did freak out in private later, but that is another story.)
Remaining calm, cool and collected during stressful times is a must. There have been a lot of times when I want to throw my hands in the air and say forget all of this, or act like a drama filled reality star. Sure, I have a diva moment or two, but, that isn’t my reality as a military spouse. The less drama the better when it comes to life.
And that is just it, this is life. Cars break down, my husband leaves home a lot, and we pick up and move to the far ends of the earth every few years. Life happens and most of the stuff that happens in it, we have absolutely no control over. It is not about controlling everything, but reacting accordingly when things pop up.
So the tow truck came and we laughed some more. Then, we thanked our lucky stars things weren’t worse. My husband and I enjoyed our day off and went on with having a wonderful day together. (The car is in the shop and it is not super serious, thank goodness. Annoying, yes, but dramatic and horrible; not so much.)
As the car was getting loaded to be towed, an employee from the shipping company couldn’t apologize enough to us for what had happened. He said, “What horrible luck, this is just awful.” All I could to say to him was, “Don’t worry about it, it’s just another day in our military life.”