Here we are again with the Clark family. Two weeks ago, we introduced you to MSG Clark in the blog titled 4-Star Family – part 1 of 2. More than twenty years ago, the Clarks were just Michael and Wendy embarking on this journey of military life. They both profess that one of the things to love about military life is that there is never a dull moment! (#925).
It is a journey but also a ride: a roller coaster ride.
One spouse featured in another book by 1001 co-authors Kathie Hightower and Holly Scherer agrees:
It is so overwhelming at times, especially the moves, but as my Grandma used to say,
‘I’ll take the roller coaster over the carousel any day!’
(Kris from Help! I’m a Military Spouse: I Get a Life Too!)
We’re between fifteen and twenty years ourselves, my husband and me. I like to share with the younger spouses what I’ve learned, and I like, just as much, to learn from other spouses who are willing to share their “secrets to a successful military life.” This is a wonderful thing about being a military spouse. There’s a sisterhood. I remember telling one spouse when I moved here to Missouri, “You are the only person I know here, and now you’re my emergency contact. We better become good friends.” She, of course, was ready and up to the assignment. Wendy would have been too; I can tell. Such is military life.
370. Knowing that no matter where you are on your journey
someone is right there with you who shares the experience
or can mentor you because they’ve “been there and done that”
Being that Wendy is ahead of me in this journey (and probably ahead of a lot of you), I asked her to share her reviews of this roller coaster ride.
LML: What is the best part about being married to a military man?
The best part is knowing that my husband is not only protecting my family but also protecting every American. In my eyes he is like my super hero just like all the soldiers in the armed forces. The other wonderful thing is we got to travel around to places that we would of probably never have seen if not for the military.
Some people’s heroes wear capes, mine wears Kevlar.
LML: And the part you wear kevlar for, your least favorite part, is what?
The worst part is him being gone as much as he has had to since the kids were little. He had to miss out on a lot of “firsts” for the kids. The “not knowing where you are going next or when,” the “you’re going to deploy, then you don’t,” that’s why we call it the roller coaster effect; your emotions are always up and down.
LML: Speaking of varying emotions, is it different to have a husband vs. kids in the military? I have heard IT IS!? Can you say how?
For me to have my two sons in the military creates mixed feelings. I have the natural mother hen side that comes out and is terrified that something bad could happen to them. I send a prayer up to god every night to please watch over them, and if they do have to deploy to walk beside them. I sent another prayer to my father that has passed to please watch over them and make sure they are ok. I also know that this is what they wanted to do since they were little boys. I have to take a step back and let them fly and become the soldiers they have always dreamed about being.
As for the wife with a husband as a soldier, oh my, it has been the most wonderful experience and the scariest. The feelings of my husband being in is a little different and almost the same. Mike and I have been together since we were 16 years old. We are now 39. We have been together for 22 years and have grown up together. This last deployment changed our whole family forever, and then my dad passing the same year Mike came back from deployment – whoosh.
Well, like I told you before, we have learned a very good lesson. “Life is too short, don’t sweat the small stuff, laugh a lot, and most important live everyday like it is your last.
The sense of knowing what’s really important in life that comes
of having to leave your family to go to a war zone
or of watching your spouse deploy into a war zone
LML: Sounds like we have that in common. Perspective is what I claim as my greatest reward for “living the life.” What is your greatest resource?
My greatest resource is my family, I don’t know what I would do without them. They have always helped me get through bad times while we have been in the military. My dad was my hero through this all. He helped Mike and me a lot by talking to us and encouraging us to drive forward. My husband has been the most wonderful; he never brings work home with him. He always leaves it at the front door. He has also always let me be a part of what he has done, always showing me what his job is. I like being able to say I know about Mike’s job, exactly what work he has every day, and how it is done. He is my hero in every way.
LML: What advice would you give to a newbie spouse just beginning the military life?
I would say to a newbie, make sure you get to know your husband’s job. Be a part of it. Sometimes you get a spouse that does not want to understand what their spouse does all day. I know it helped us out a lot!
I would also tell them to take advantage of all the resources the Army has for them.
#593. The many support programs available
at the installation Family Service Centers or through the Office
of Work-Life Programs, especially deployment and mobilization support
Good advice from a good couple of folks. This life isn’t easy, but whenever I was in conversation with Michael or Wendy, they chose to focus on the positives. They’re a military family and Proud of It! If that wasn’t obvious from their 4-Star Flag out front, it sure has become obvious through learning of their 4-Star Family traditions. I hope you’ve enjoyed a look beyond the flagpole; I know I did.
Want to get noticed for your military pride? Here are some options: