The other day, I was complaining to a friend about how much I hate the Army. (Disclaimer: I don’t hate it every day, just some days. And I know you do, too.) All my life, I’ve always been a “family first” kind of girl. So sometimes it’s very, very hard for me to accept the fact that my family doesn’t come first anymore. The Army does. It has to. It’s not by choice or by preference, it’s just the nature of the beast. I know that. I knew it when I said “I do” to my soldier. So I can’t complain, right? Ohhh, but I complain nonetheless. Because knowing ahead of time what you’re “signing up for” and actually living it are two very different things.
My friend, thinking she was being clever, said, “Well…the Army is your husband’s mistress.” I had to laugh.
“No, it’s not,” I argued.
“Isn’t that what they say?” she asked. “I swear I’ve heard that somewhere.”
“Well…. ‘they’ are wrong. The Army definitely isn’t my husband’s mistress,” I told her. “I am.” And it’s true.
The Hubs is currently stationed at Fort Hood, which is over a thousand miles away from our home in Michigan. So “coming home” is less like actually coming home and more like a vacation for him, as he only gets to do it for a week or two at a time every couple of months. I’m not the one my husband spends his everyday life with, the Army is. I don’t make sure he gets up for work on time every morning, or make his lunch, or schedule his doctor appointments, or hound him about keeping his apartment clean, or cook him dinner, or tell him where he can and can’t go or what he can and can’t do. The Army does all of that.
I’m the girl he calls late at night when he needs someone to talk to, just to hear my voice. I’m the girl he texts discreetly during the middle of a meeting, simply to tell me he’s thinking about me and that he misses me. I’m the girl he sends flowers to when he misses out on important events in my life, the girl he keeps pictures of in his phone so he doesn’t forget what I look like, and the girl most of his friends hear him talk about all the time, but have never actually met. I’m the girl he hops on a plane every few months to visit, the one he shuts the entire world out for just so we can spend time together.
I’m his escape, his safe place, his not-so-secret little secret. I am my husband’s mistress. The Army is his wife. And my gosh, does she know how to crack that whip….