March 25, 2014

Separation

I was listening to Pandora the other day and the song I Never Told You by Colbie Caillat came on.  It’s been awhile since I heard it and all these feeling came rushing back.  I listened to this song a lot during The Man’s deployment (it was on my deployment playlist.)Many Waters Separation from The Navy  I know the song is about missing an ex but so many of the lines fit with missing my husband while he was gone for a long time. It’s amazing to me that five years later the song can still make me cry. It’s not the only song either.  Most of the songs on my deployment playlist still elicit that response from me.   Missing and longing for your other half is nothing new to a Milspouse.  It goes with the territory.



The Man separated from the Navy 20 months ago.  I don’t miss it.  I don’t miss the long days, the uncertainty in everything…what time he’ll be home, if he’ll have to work over the weekend, if they’re leaving, if they’re coming home early (yeah, right) or late (almost always) from a TDY or a workup or a deployment, of getting orders, or thinking you have your orders to nope, you don’t have orders to FINALLY getting orders.  I love knowing his schedule, knowing when he has to go in and when he’ll be home.  Sure, sometimes he works overtime but he knows when and can let me know.  Plus, he gets paid EXTRA for it.  Amazing, I know.  Well, that’s expected in the civilian world but in the military?  You stay until the job is done and there’s no such thing as overtime pay.  When I’m sick, he can call in sick and stay home to take take care of me or the baby.  He can call in sick if he’s sick and doesn’t have to go in first to see anybody and then come home again.  He has more flexibility for taking vacation (and taking a Friday off doesn’t mean he has to use two days of leave for the weekend either!)  We’re loving civilian life. (I don’t even miss Tricare or “free” prescriptions!)

The Man doesn't miss much about military life either.  He doesn't miss the BS, the politics, dealing with officers & chiefs who are clueless, the procedures.  He doesn’t miss being owned by the military.  He does miss doing his job.  His actual job, when they were deployed, not when they were in port or in the shipyard.  He also misses some of the ceremony and tradition. When we first met he thought he was going to stay in for 20 years but it turned out that isn’t what was best for our family.  For him, staying in would have made it very hard to stay sober.  His sobriety is WAY more important so he got out.  He now has 3+ years of sobriety.

The Man didn’t join the Navy until he was in his mid-twenties, so he has spent more time as a civilian than he did in the military as an adult.  I think this helped the transition.   The civilian world wasn’t all new to him, like it often is for those who join the military right out of high school (there is nothing wrong with doing that!)  The fact that we didn’t move when he got out helped with the transition as well.  We had bought a house while he was active duty.  At the time we were hoping to get back to back tours in the PNW, something that isn’t all the unusual for the area.  We know several people who have been here for 10, 15+ years…some for their whole careers!  We figured that we could rent it if we PCSed somewhere else but knew that we wanted to come back here.  We just love the area, so it was natural for us to stay here.  Staying put hinged on The Man getting a job in the area and we are so, so thankful that he did.  He now does something very similar to part of his job before, just as a civilian now.  It took longer for him to start work than we expected but he now has a good job, with a good paycheck and benefits.  The Navy helped provide this.

Another perk is that he’s been around for the past 20 months to see Munchkin grow and change.  He LOVES his daughter and he loves being here.  If he had stayed in, he would have deployed three weeks after she was born.  Instead he was unemployed and was home a lot and was able to bond with his daughter.  We’re still in touch with some guys from the boat & their wives and if he was still on that boat, he would have been in and out of her life (and he would have still been on that boat.  They refused to let him transfer, multiple times.)  I know the constant being apart from family is so hard and it affects everyone in the family in so many ways.  I’m so thankful for the people who do it, who sacrifice for our country.  I’m just glad it’s not us anymore. 

  Many Waters WA State Fair Stuffed Animals
The Man is in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve.)  It’s not the active reserve where he drills one weekend a month and two weeks a year.  Basically he just musters via a phone call or the internet once a year and needs to keep his uniforms in order.  There might be more to it but that’s all I remember at the moment.  So technically he’s still “in” and I still have a military ID as well.  We still have base access and privileges.  We don’t use them much. Part of me feels like we shouldn’t since he’s not really in. 

With everything considered, separating from the Navy was a good thing for our family.  We’re happier and love civilian life.  It works well for us. 

29 comments:

  1. My brother in law recently got out of the Navy after finishing the 4 years he signed up for--and he and his wife are very glad to have that season of life behind them! I think the lifestyle works better for some than for others--it wasn't the best for them either.

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  2. Sounds like things are going great, yay! :)

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  3. I'm glad everything is going well for you guys! That's awesome!

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  4. So very glad to read this! We have less than 3 months until we are done. We have lived a civilian life before so that doesn't scare me at all. I get nervous with everything we need to work out. I know it will work out and once it does it will feel so good. I know we couldn't stay any longer in the Military either. There is already talk of another deployment! We are also staying here which takes a lot of stress off. I don't want to add moving to everything else.

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  5. Glad you seem to be doing well. Wish you the best, and hope you keep writing :) Would love you to check my blog & follow along if you like it. Thanks! :)
    Brianna
    http://briannababbles.blogspot.com

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  6. That's awesome! I never hear much from my blogging friends once they separate, so I never know how it's going for them on the outside.

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  7. The lifestyle does work better for some. I was ready to make a go of it for 20 years, I know we could have and would have done it if it was what was best for us. But it wasn't and that's ok. I sometimes feel guilty my husband got out.

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  8. Thank you! Sometime I feel guilty that The Man didn't reenlist but it wasn't what was best for us, and that's what is most important. And military life is great for some people, and if that is what will work for your husband and your family, then great! I hope it works out for you guys! I think so many forget that the military really is a great career!

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  9. I think not moving is HUGE! You get to stay put and not have to worry about that upheaval as well. The details made me nervous but they worked out for us and I know they will for you! Maybe not in the way you think but it will work out. I'll be praying for a smooth transition for you and your family!

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  10. We are doing well, thanks! I have no plans to stop blogging at all:)

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  11. It can be different and once you're out, you kinda no longer fit as a milspouse. I sometimes wonder if I should leave the FB group. It's a world that you understand but are no longer a part of. I'm so thankful civilian life is going well for us:)

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  12. I need to send this to my husband. We got out around the same time as you, moved for a job, and he HATES his job. He sometimes wonders if he should have just stayed in, but he HATED that, too! I keep trying to remind him that at least he gets to see his daughter every day! He's putting some plans into the works, though, and I think he'll be using his GI Bill for a master's degree in a year or so. Scary, but I'm tired of being around an unhappy husband who goes to bed at 9pm and still works weekends.

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  13. I'm sorry it's been rough for you guys! Can B look for a different job? The nice thing about being a civilian is that you're owned by the company like you are by the military. I hope it gets better for you guys.

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  14. My husband left the Navy a year ago and he loves it also. I think I have struggled the most with it, only because we are living in Ohio and I feel stuck here... I liked that with the Navy I knew I would only be in a location for so many years and then we would go some place new.

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  15. I'm glad things are going so well for you guys. I think we'll struggle a lot when my husband gets out. This life is all we know. I'm an Air Force brat. He's an Army brat. So it'll be weird.

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  16. I am an Air Force Brat and my father put in 28.5 years. My husband is Navy and he gets out next year. It's funny because when I was a kid I could not have imagined life any other way. I realize now what my mom went through. I am counting down the days. Thank you for this perspective. It's still hard to realize that the military won't be part of life - I was born into it - but the freedom we will gain; I'm so looking forward to it!

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  17. Glad the transition is going well for you guys! My husband joined later too, so I get the whole difference between the military and civilian world. It amazes us sometimes how those who haven't had that experience know so little about the civilian world.

    I am surprised there's no politics at his new job, it's been my experience that it's just the same in the civilian world vs. military -_-;; Guess that just means his work is a great work environment, so that's great!

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  18. What a great post. Sounds like him separating truly was the best for your family. We will both be happy to go back home after it's all said and done with. We are from the same home town.

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  19. I think it will be weird since that's what you've know for so long but I hope that it goes smoothly for you guys. Change can be good and I hope it's a good adventure for you both.

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  20. It sounds like you have a good handle on what's coming. The freedom is amazing. I wrote this back in March and we STILL love being a civilian family. I hope you will too!

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  21. 19 years is a long time! There are benefits to going longer and I hope you guys figure out without too much struggle what is best for your family.


    And I must admit, I LOVE having DH home, especially with another one on the way! It would be so hard for him to miss the birth and the time with the girls.


    Thanks for hosting the link up:)

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  22. Thanks! And don't think that there aren't any politics at his current job, they're just a little different. And he's a little freer to speak his mind:)

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  23. Thanks! I think it will be nice for you guys to be close to family, especially after being away for so long. Family is awesome!

    Thanks for coming by:)

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  24. It's great to see it was such a good transition for you guys. To be honest, I'm a bit terrified of the day my husband separates from the ARNG, if only for the awesome tricare reserve select. I mean, really. In this new world of healthcare, I'm so thankful we have this affordable option for our family when very few employers offer affordable care anymore :(

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  25. I'm so thankful for DH's government job and the health care we get from it, even if we do pay a lot for it. We pay more because it's the one that works best for us now...so I do understand! And is he planning on separating soon? I thought he was considering going AD...

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  26. Oh, he's got 5+ years at least, whether we go AD or not (which is still up in the air - and he hasn't had any time to work on his packet). With our growing family and the low pay in our area, we definitely need the affordable care. Plus TRS is awesome in that I have no PCM, can self-refer to specialists, and can see whoever I want as long as they accept tricare. :) And the premium stays the same regardless of the number of dependents.... definite plus.

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