Monday, January 14, 2013

Mil-Spouse of... Aaron.

Some sweet soul named Kristen nominated me for Military Spouse of the Year and said the nicest things about me in the nomination. I got the email and activated, but as my inbox filled up with more emails and instructions from Mil-Spouse magazine and MSOY, I felt overwhelmed. Last year I didn't even know I was nominated until it was too late to activate, and I wanted to do better this year. But... I just don't think I'm in the right place or really, the right woman for the job. So I'd like to thank anyone who thinks of me as a model military spouse. I wouldn't suggest my methods of coping, surviving, and thriving to anyone but I don't regret anything I've done to get through the past 16 months or even the year and a half of normal mil-spousedom before that.

It's astounding to me that in just a few months I will have spent as much time as a wounded warrior wife as I did as a "regular" Army wife. And then I will have spent more time on this side of the fence than back there. I often wonder what I should do with it. I've been playing with the idea of becoming active in the hospital environment again. I'm pretty vocal but can be tactful as well (I promise!), and maybe I can help someone new not get screwed over or confused. For instance, apparently we could be living rent-free elsewhere through an organization. The goal was to get off-post AND away from the domestic intrusion of the Army, not every bit of the wounded warrior lifestyle. I was under the assumption that this particular need was for financial distressed warriors and their families only, and while Aaron's paycheck is not ah-mazing we do well with just ourselves. Hell, a certain organization won't even look at us because we don't have kids (it's either that or  because Aaron "only" lost both legs above the knees [and a slew of other injures], but what the hell do I know). What I meant to say before I side-tracked is that maybe I can prevent someone else from missing out on something like that. Or helping them navigate the caregiver healthcare. I want to leave the hospital better than I found it, but I have to think about it.

Part of me just wants to move on. Another reason why I don't think I'm MSOY material is because I'm happy to leave the Army behind me. I don't hate the lifestyle- never did. I met some incredible people during my time. But that road is ending soon and I'm not sad. Some people get really upset about their spouses leaving the service or being forced to medically retire, but this is okay. Aaron did one job in two branches of service and loved nearly every second of it. It was the only job he wanted to do, he did it well, and now he's ready to move on, too. He could stay in and teach or work as a liaison, but he's pretty excited to go federal or private yet continue to use his expertise in... hell, dangerous material is the only way I know how to describe it. He wants a career in nuclear stuff, and I'm lucky that he has aspirations like that. You wonder sometimes what happens to some of these guys- if they ever join the regular world again. Or if they live in the past, never overcoming who they became after injury. Aaron isn't perfect but he does have achievable plans for the future that don't have to be pushed by me or anyone else. That makes me a very lucky woman.

Even though I'm passing on the MSOY campaign, I do have something else huge coming up: receiving a USO-Metro Patriot Award. It's kind of a big deal, and I still don't believe that it's happening to me. I've missed volunteering very much and have spoken about my USO story several times, but it's not the same as serving up coffee to frozen soldiers in a Fort Drum winter. The new wounded warrior USO center should open at the hospital later this year, and I look forward to volunteering there. But, someone (or many someones) somewhere in the USO thought that what I've done by Aaron's side, and the things I've said about my story, were worthy of mention and honoring. The awards night is in March, and we've already filmed an interview and I am on orders to contact them if we do anything "fun" and "big." Aaron has a few sports things coming up, but I am just hoping to survive the semester and transfer to a good school this fall or next spring term. And speaking of, it's late here. Just thought I'd check in, and say thanks for all the support. I'm really not a role model but it means a lot some people think that what I've done is good for someone, somewhere. But for now I'll remain Aaron's warrior wife, sharing here and maybe elsewhere on the 'net (that's a hint). Night, folks. I hope everyone you love is safe in the morning.


  1. Well...I think you are a great candidate for it either way. :)

  2. CONGRATS!! That's rad and you deserve it. I remember you talking about the USO on fb ages ago and it made me want to go sign up and help out. I can totally understand not being down for MSOY. With everything you've dealt with and are still dealing with, I think I'd be ready to move on too. Whatever you decide to do you'll be amazing. You're intelligent, articulate and don't metabolize BS very well (it's bullshit intolerance and it's a real, requiring a strict no-bullshit diet that unfortunately limits the amount of exposure you can have with politicians)and THAT makes you a strong advocate for people who would otherwise be left behind.

  3. Congratulations on your award! You definitely deserve it. And you should get involved with the USO at the hospital! I've said for months now that you should see what you can do within that hospital, maybe even beginning a patient advocacy program. Becoming an advocate for not only the service member's needs, but also the spouses.