I used to watch Oprah regularly and then I stopped for a while and kept missing good shows every now and again until I finally learned to set the TiVo and watch what sounded good when I had the time to do so.
Last night, as I was cuddling with The Sickest, I checked in to see what the deal was with "The Bravest Families in America."
Talk about enlightening.
I mean, there's a lot I'm still adjusting to in regards to being a military family. This is after being in JROTC in high school, going to a service academy, being in the reserves, working as a civilian for two different armed forces, and being married for BD for nearly 5 years.
There's still so much I don't know.
Oprah's topic explored the need for increased awareness of the realities of our country's military families. Her guests were people that served and came home wounded, caregivers, parents who lost a child, the spouses that stayed behind, and those that believed that more should be known about and done for these people.
Again, I was brought to tears. (I cried at some point during every Australia episode. Don't judge me.)
I cried for the people who clearly have a tougher way to go than I do.
I cried for myself because I realized, most clearly for the first time, that I had a right to feel the way I felt when BD was deployed. For the most part, we were isolated. Most people do not get deployed from grad school. There were not supports in place for families like ours. I was fortunate to have friends and respite, but when it came to formal "Now how do I handle this?" stuff, there was nothing to be found.
I wasn't sure what to share with BD or what to keep to myself (Would he feel bad that he wasn't there to help in the bad times? Would he feel bad when he misseed something good?). I was lonely. I was tired. I was running myself ragged, not sleeping, trying to be everything I thought everyone else thought I should be. The perfect wife, mother, friend. I wanted to prove that I was like what I thought every other military wife was: strong in the face of adverse circumstances, never complaining, making it happen at all costs.
I still believe that those women are those things, but now I see that I was, too. I never gave myself that credit. Much like when we received Playette's diagnosis, a new normal was created and the clock didn't stop.
Sometimes you have to give yourself a pat of the back where it's due. This lifestyle may be chosen (BD did not knock me in the head and force me unknowingly into marrying him - he wore his uniform in our wedding. I can't say I didn't know he was in the Navy.), but it's not easy. This is not how most people live. No pity required. Just self-acknowledgement that it's ok to say that it's hard. Some times more than others. And not everyone can relate. The end.
I have to accept that I'll make friends and lose them. I have to suck it up that my career does not take priority. I have to get used to packing and unpacking and fighting battles with school districts any and everywhere as we move just as we start to get comfortable.
But I also realize that we have a good life. My husband is safe and he is well. He likes what he does and I support him fully. There are people I could be supporting better in our community and I will. It's the least I can do.
It was just so nice to see our reality acknowledged on the show.
I needed that.