Dear Dr. Laura,
I just listened to your caller whose husband did not want to come home for leave from war, he wanted to just wait it out until his year tour was over and then come home. Years ago, I would have agreed with the wife, but where I am now in my life and marriage, I understand exactly why the husband feels the way he does.
We are currently living in Japan, yes we were here for the earthquake, and my husband is attached to a ship that is called forward deployed. Forward deployed means in military terms, the emergency ships who are called first when something happens. In a Navy wife's words, it means they are gone on average, 8 months a year. They do 2-3 months stints here and there, are home for a few weeks, and then leave again.
It is a hard life. I cry a lot. When night hits and the kids are asleep, I allow myself a certain amount of time to cry, eat chips or watch cheesy tv shows from the 80's. But I deal. It's tough, but I also have four kids. I home school and during that time, I am a rock. I am happy, flexible and by actions show my kids how much I love them and how amazing life is no matter what it hands us. Even if I am cringing in the inside, I never let it show to my kids. I, by no means am a robot, they have seen me upset, sad and any other crazy emotion women have, but I took on the responsibility of being a warrior's wife and I do not take that lightly.
My husband is amazing, and I don't let one minute pass I don't tell him that, or my kids. The earthquake was truly a test for me, as a Navy wife, in how I handle emergency situations. We are close to Tokyo and felt the many, many earthquakes and dealt with the radiation scare. My husband was, of course, underway helping the Japanese when all this happened, but through it ALL, I kept reminding myself of one thing, "I wanted this job, I need to be tough".
When I meet a new military wife, I always want to pull them aside and tell them a few pointers I wish someone had told me. Don't ask what time he will be home, just have a plate in the oven for when he does. Do not tell him you have it harder than him; HE is the one in a war zone, not you. But mostly, you have to be tough. This job is not for the weak and no one can do this job as well as my husband, and he needs to know I am home supporting him, cheering him on and doing what I need to do, so he can keep this country safe.
I also have my soft side, and lingerie, for when he IS home and the kids are asleep. After all, I am doing what I can for my country and sleeping with my sailor!
Thank you for making me into the wife and mother I always wanted to be, and you haven't even met me.