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Lucky To be A Military Spouse: A Different Perspective

This month’s topic is supposed to be about being lucky to be a military spouse. As I sat here and tried to think about what it means to me to be lucky to be a milspouse, I decided I didn’t like that word- lucky. I think I prefer to use words like thankful, fortunate, blessed, privileged- all words that are synonyms of lucky, but I feel offer a different perspective. 

 

I am thankful to have been a military spouse because it gave me my four boys.

 

My husband graduated college with a degree in political science. Other than going into politics or teaching, what on earth does someone do with that degree?

Naturally, the answer is go into military intelligence! Seems so obvious now. My husband accepting his commission not only eventually helped him figure this out, but it also gave us benefits (steady paycheck, healthcare, etc.) that allowed us to have our first child.

After that, an additional four years welcomed the arrival of a second son, succeeded by twin boys a decade later. 

 

I am fortunate to have been a military spouse because of the things I learned.

 

Acronyms are probably the things I learned the most but in fact don’t even know half of them. I learned that stop signs are a suggestion in Italy. When stationed in Florida, I learned that the two main human characters in A Dolphin’s Tale are not real people.

I learned there is a difference between an acquaintance and a friend. I learned firsthand about how other countries manage healthcare how it can be vastly different from the care in the States.

I learned that you can be good friends with someone for a period of time and that the friendship can fall away when you leave but that doesn’t make it less of a friendship.         

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

 

I am blessed to have been a military spouse because of the people I met and the friends I have made.

 

I took career/personality strengths quiz a few years ago and not surprisingly, it listed my top two strengths as connectedness and relator (not to be confused with realtor). Directly from my Clifton strengths report: “You build bridges between people and groups. You help others find meaning by looking at the bigger picture of the world around them, and you give them a sense of comfort and stability in the face of uncertainty.” This is so accurate for me, it’s a little scary. I truly believe that pairing that connectedness factor with the relator aspect allows me to help people in a unique way, one that I had never known or thought about prior to being a military spouse. 

For me, part of having these strengths is that it often ties neatly into the people I have met and those who I have either not met in person or have just met.

For a little over two years, I worked for a nonprofit whose only goal was to help military members and their families find answers when they PCS’d. As the military expert on the team, (I’m truly NOT an expert but I did know more than the civilians on the team and so I was subsequently labeled as such), my primary job was to find the answers for their questions.

Quite a bit of the time, this meant I would be able to reach out to someone I personally knew who had either lived in the location the family was moving to/asking about or because they knew far more than I about the topic. It was a unique way for me to use my experiences and connections to help other people. 

 

And continuing along the blessings path, I am not sure I can even wholly describe the blessings that are my friends.

 

The friends that I have made over the years are true, salt of the earth, “give you the shirt off their backs” friends. They are small in numbers and are currently spread across 4 time zones.

They are “I thought of you when I saw this” meme/reel sending people who know to only send me reels with words on the reel otherwise, I won’t listen to it. This has to do with the number of small children who live in my house and hear any kind of video like sound from any device and immediately want to watch it with me which immediately sucks the fun out of whatever was sent.

They are the ones who know that I don’t necessarily like to talk on the phone but that I will for them. We send messages as a way to catch up but know that while life often gets in the way of even that simple communication, we are still there for one another. My friends are the ones who get it, who get me.  

“I think about the years I spent just passin’ through. I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you. But you just smile and take my hand. You’ve been there, you understand.”Rascal Flatts (God Bless the Broken Road)

           

I am privileged to have been a military spouse because of the perspectives I have today.

 

I don’t know if I would have the ability to see outside of my own opinions had I not had my military spouse experiences. We lived mostly in locations that were very similar to where I grew up (read: PNW and NOVA) but I saw and learned about local traditions and customs that were vastly different.

It allowed me to become open minded to people who are different from me and embrace those differences. Living overseas for two years really opened my eyes to so many things- how difficult it can be to learn another language, how some areas of the world really live differently (taking a month off in August for your country’s holiday, closing your shop in the middle of the afternoon for a standard afternoon rest time, just to name a few), and how generally the world views America.

It is quite amazing to see the world from someone else’s perspective.       

I use these words in place of the word lucky, but that’s because it is simply my preference to do so, despite the odd fact that blessing is not at all one of my favorite words. Lucky could just as easily fit into this blog in place of those other words. It’s all a matter of perspective.    

 

 

*For more posts by Erin, visit our M:M Experience Blogger Page.

 

Author

  • Erin Lorenz

    Erin Lorenz was born and raised in Minnesota and lived there until her husband went into the Navy in 2003. Twenty years and many duty stations later, he has retired, and they now reside in their beloved home state near family. They have 4 sons, the oldest attending Purdue University, and the other three acclimating to their new school in the Twin Cities area. Erin has a BA in Social Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, and Human Development) from Washington State University and has devoted many hours to volunteering with her church and various nonprofits over the past twenty years. Erin loves singing, watching her Minnesota Vikings play with all their hearts, spending time with her family, and finally being back home in Minnesota.

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Supporting Our Military Children

Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

Mission: Milspouse is a
501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

EIN Number: 88-1604492

Contact:

hello@missionmilspouse.org

P.O. Box 641341
El Paso, TX 79904

 

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