Last week, my family and I, got the opportunity to break away for a few days for a vacation before our move. We have been looking forward to it for a long time, since my husband has been deployed for the last year.
We live in Hawaii, so vacationing to the neighboring islands is a must. We were able to spend a few days exploring, hiking and mostly relaxing at the beach.
Our toddler was in heaven on the beach at our hotel and quickly made friends with the other children on vacation there.
While our son was playing with a couple of children, their mother approached me and started to casually chat with me. She asked me a few questions about how old our son was and if we were having fun. Then she asked where we are from. I always giggle at this question being a military brat and now spouse because I never really know exactly how to answer the question with giving a explanation . No matter how you put it, you have to give some sort of reason on why you are living in an exotic or different location. I tried to give her the short version.
“We are stationed in Hawaii. My husband is in the Army and we are here celebrating his homecoming after a year in Afghanistan,” I said.
Her jaw hit the floor or sand I should say. She looked at me and said, “What? You are kidding. That is amazing. I can’t believe that he leaves for a year at a time. My husband travels a lot, but nothing like that. I really don’t know how you do that.”
At first her reaction caught me off guard a little bit. Mostly because it has been a while since I have encountered someone that has not had any contact with the military. Living on post and being in our community, it is a tight network. Even our surrounding community has close ties with the military. So running into someone who hasn’t had contact with the military is a rare occurrence.
I guess I have been in a military bubble for a while. I don’t think it is a bad thing, just a comfortable place, that’s all. While in this comfortable place, you really start to forget that there are people out there who don’t have ties to the military, don’t know much about our lifestyle and only get information from television and movies. So, when they encounter a military family, it is only natural to have questions and be interested. Having interactions like this should be a welcoming experience. I quickly became excited to talk about things that I love most – my husband and the Army.
I told her how much we love being an Army family and how much my husband loves his job. I also said that deployments are hard, but there are so many benefits to being in the military.
She asked me a ton of questions about moving, housing and what my husband does and I didn’t mind answering any of them. Well, she did ask if our lives were just like the television show Army Wives. She said, “I have always wanted to know if there was truth to that.”
At the end of our conversation, she thanked my husband for his service and wished us the best of luck in the rest of our endeavors.
Not only did we have a beautiful sunny day at the beach on our vacation, I walked away feeling wonderful knowing there was one less person out there who didn’t have contact with the military.