It's a Love/Hate Relationship, This Military.

Posted on: Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Amy,

First of all, let me apologize for the delay in this letter. Last week, Harry and I spent 15 and a half hours in the car driving up to Shreveport, LA to see my best friend from pilot training, another military spouse, graduate from her masters program. Funny timing, as we decided to make that trip because her husband, an AF pilot, had to miss her graduation due to work.

So there you go. One of the hardest parts of living in the Air Force world. We're not really the decision makers behind our own vacations, our own weekends, our own life events. Our husbands are always at the beck and call of someone else. To Jon, Harry and I always come first. But that's not necessarily how the Air Force feels.

Thank you AF for this lovely trip. (seriously.)
It's not an easy life, the life of an Air Force wife, but there are definitely things I really like. You've heard my love letters to England and Scotland over and over. I loved that place so much, and it absolutely would not have been possible to go without the AF. Forget the fact that Jon's passport was expired (and we didn't realize it until the morning we were leaving), but we flew to the UK and home for free. We were able to do the whole week long vacation for less money than it would have cost us to fly commercially there and back. Those kinds of opportunities are plentiful.

The Air Force has forced me to come out of my shell a bit. I was a shy kid. A SHY kid. As in, cried when I had to order the pizza. As in, didn't know how to talk to peers. Now, I started my path away from sever shyness well before Jon joined the AF, but man. That first assignment in Oklahoma gave me a crash course in making friends. We got there, and six days later Jon left for a month. I knew no one. So I put myself out there and started making friends. Because that's what you do.

You nailed it on the head... I'd do anything for this dude.
I like the dreaming. While Jon was in pilot training, we dreamed about what plane he would be assigned to, and where that would take us. Right now, we dream about our next assignment, and the trajectory path that will follow. We dream about what we will do after the Air Force. It's a breeding ground for dreaming.

And you know what? I like who I've become thanks to my role as an Air Force wife. I've realized I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. A lot more independent. More tough. Sure, it's toughened up my skin a bit, and no, that doesn't mean it's any easier to deal with the rougher times that are part of this life, but I'm proud of what I can do and I have the Air Force to thank for showing me that side of myself.

It's kind of funny to think about the difference even between our military experiences. Our husbands are in different career fields, and I would bet we are privy to a whole list of different acronyms and jargon. Even Aaron's deployment and PCS schedules are different than Jon's. It's so much of the same... but so different at the same time.

Like, did you know that Jon has a "dwell time?" So, instead of a "deployment bucket" like I'm assuming Aaron is part of, Jon has a 2-1 dwell time. So say he's deployed for four months. He has to be "home" for eight. But there are always ways to get around that. Waivers are a big part of our world.

I'd love to hear what kinds of questions there are out there. We've got such a vast knowledge between the two of us on this subject. I know I had a billion questions about the Air Force before Jon joined (and even after... heck I still have about 500K). So here's your chance, readers... what questions have you always had about military living? Maybe you're curious about our housing allowance? How often we move? Why we move? Please, feel free to comment or email and let us know what questions you have. We'll spend this week trying to answer them all.

And who knows, maybe we can help some poor soul whose husband just told her "I'm thinking about joining the Air Force." It's hard, but it's really not that bad. I promise. Shoot us some questions.

Eagerly awaiting your questions,


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