I am a soldier.
But, I’m also a mother.
I have been in the military for just over 6 years at this point, working on the next six. I love the army, I really do.
At this point in my life, I’m working on building a family. I have a husband and a child. I love them so much.
But, there’s a problem.
I spend weekends… weeks… months away from them, and it’s hard. I have a duty to both.
I missed my son’s first steps.
I missed my son’s first words.
I missed the start of potty training.
I missed witnessing his vocabulary expand exponentially.
I missed those tuck-ins and bedtime songs.
I missed wrestling him into pajamas.
I have missed so much.
I miss my husband.
I miss being there for him when he’s exhausted.
I miss helping clean the house.
I miss taking Gus so he can nap.
I miss being present.
I want to be the best wife and mother I can possibly be. But, I also want to be the best soldier I can be. If there is a perfect balance between the two, I can’t seem to find it.
With development in one area, the other seems to suffer. I’m stuck.
I want to be home with my family, but I can’t stand the idea of leaving my brothers and sisters behind. Guilt.
I have watched my peers move forward in their lives. I have watched them go to college and graduate. I have watched them obtain “adult” jobs. I have watched them grow into the type of people we all once dreamed of being. I see their normal, happy lives and I am jealous.
I joined the army. I went to training. I came home and left again for the desert. I returned and drank. and drank. and drank. I started college and got pregnant. I kept going to school through the birth of my son. By the time I graduate, my peers will have been in the workforce for 3 years.
I love my life, don’t get me wrong. It is beautiful… but it sometimes hurts. I wish I didn’t have to say good-bye to my family. I wish I didn’t feel so far behind. I wish I didn’t have to choose between the military and my family.
Maybe I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I’ve decided that’s okay, though. One day, I’ll reach the “adulthood” dream I created for myself. One day my children will understand why I was constantly leaving and returning.
One day I will be okay with my decisions. I hope.