I was bouncing off the walls excited – my boss had called me to let me know that they need coverage on a project for a client based in Malaysia and he thought I was the perfect fit!
*boss babe dance party*
I would get to travel to Kuala Lumpur 2-3 times over the next several months, and they highly encouraged tacking on a trip before or after with family. My husband and I are huge travel bugs so this was a dream come true! I was already planning our trip to Bali and Thailand, this piece of the world that we’ve always wanted to visit and never have. He came home from another long day on formal release, and I wait approximately 2.7 seconds before dumping the rainbows and shooting stars of joy all over him: I’M GOING TO SOUTHEAST ASIA FOR WORK AND YOU’RE COMING WITH ME AREN’T YOU PUMPED?!?
Have you ever had a moment like this? Being ridiculously excited about a new opportunity/development in your life with no thought of anything getting in the way of your everlasting happiness? Maybe you decided you’re going to run a marathon in Alaska. Or you found a perfect pair of puppies at the shelter that already consider you their momma. Or you’re going to start that Etsy shop now that you have there perfect product. Or you found plane tickets and a cruise for 2 for half the price over your birthday week. Whatever it is, it hasn’t even happened yet, but you can feel the rush of endorphins already hitting you.
But then that itty bitty detail hits you too: your husband is in pilot training. And you have no time or money. And we’re here for his dreams, not yours.
Does this sound familiar to you? I know I’ve had many of these moments myself where I feel angry and frustrated and sad and guilty all at the same time. I’m angry at the Air Force for stealing my husband away from me so much. I’m frustrated that I have to wait to do something that I want to do now. I’m sad when I see how disappointed he is too. And most of all, I’m guilty because I feel so selfish through it all. And us Air Force wives aren’t allowed to be selfish now, aren’t we?
I think we’ve all had the thought cross our mind: my husband is more married to the Air Force than he is to me. Oaths are basically vows, right?! Maybe I’m the affair in this relationship, distracting him from his duty, trying to pull him away from something he’s pursued for so long. This is the point that the real mental mushrooming sets in: it’s going to be like this forever. I’m always going to be the other woman, the 2nd priority.
Ladies, when this happens, I want all of us to take a seat, grab a glass that says “perspective” on it, and take a big ole gulp. As the refreshing truth washes down and sinks in we remember a few things:
We are strong.
We are important.
We are so loved.
We are not alone.
This too shall pass.
We are a special breed of ladies, us Air Force wives, but we too have weaknesses, emotions, needs – let’s never forget that these come with being human. We should never be ashamed to admit they are there and communicate them to our loved ones. Admitting hardships and frustrations is the first crucial step in making sure they do not control us.
We are here to support our husbands, and we are ALSO on this world to live our best lives and pursue our dreams. His career may be more strict, more demanding, but that does not make it any more important than your calling in life. We just get to be more creative in how we go about it 🙂 that may mean taking a job where you can work remotely, or working/volunteering locally, or raising the very best fur babies/real babies that you can! Where there’s a will there’s a way, and air power comes with some super strength will power.
And finally the last, and in my opinion most important – never EVER forget how much your husband loves you. Odds are, he hates letting you down in these situations more than you know. He is going through his own mix of emotions. But YOU are the one he promised his whole self to. YOU are the one he wants to share his entire life with. You are his rock, his love, his best friend. And together, you will get to do all of those those things on your dream board.
I’m writing this as I overlook the skyline of KL, reflecting on the incredible 2.5 weeks I’ve had between running training sessions and galavanting across Malaysia and Indonesia by myself. Hubby didn’t get to come along this time, because he’s busy rocking out his formation flights and finishing phase 2 strong. And rather than feeling that original anger, frustration, sadness, and guilt, I feel instead an overwhelming amount of peace, joy, and gratitude. I got exactly what I needed out of this trip, even if it wasn’t what I had in mind when I first got the phone call.
There’s an incredible sense of satisfaction and fulfillment when as a pair, you are growing into the best versions of yourselves. When you both look challenges in the face and tell them that they’ve met their match, because they’re dealing with a couple rockstars who can’t be stopped. When you work through the crippling sense of doubt or fear, and decide to work out a way – together.
I know I’ll be back here someday with my best friend by my side, because we promised each other our lives and we’ve got a whole lot more living to do.