8.25.2011

Never Say Never

Today marks exactly one month that we've owned our new home. One amazingly expensive month of crapping out $1000 bills like they were growing on our non-existent money trees.

Though as the boxes become fewer and the dust begins to settle, we are able to look around our new house and basque in the culmination of the adventures and sacrifices we've made for this nomadic lifestyle.

As a Foreign Service Family, we have the opportunity to lead one exciting life. Raising our kids overseas. Traveling to places that they will be reading about in history books. Building relationships that will last a lifetime.

We feel very blessed.

I have spent many months thinking about my experiences over the last year. Trying to find a way to articulate the challenges, as well as, the tribulations of our year apart. A recap of sorts where I tie it all up with a pretty little bow.

But the reality is ... my words fail me.

When your spouse leaves on an unaccompanied tour you go into it with the Guerrilla Mindset, "Get in. Do your tour. And get out."

By the first R&R you're angrily saying, "Never again".

As you hit the half-way point. The holiday season. Your second R&R you lighten up a bit and admit that, "You can suck it up for a year."

And when you see each other on your final R&R, with less than three months to go, the tears are few and the excitement high. You realize that, dare I say it, "It wasn't as bad as you anticipated."


If I've learned anything at all in my years as a Foreign Service spouse, there are no absolutes. And what you once said you'd NEVER do ... you find yourself doing not once, but twice.

As many of you know, Matthew's job here in Washington D.C. is a one-year tour.

After thoughtful deliberation, starting way back at the beginning of this year, we have made the decision for Matt to do one more unaccompanied tour.

Next summer, Matt will be heading out once again to serve as of the Regional Security Officers in Afghanistan.

And the kids and I will be staying here. Remaining here in our new house. With our support system already in place.

Lest people criticize, I understand this is not for everybody. We are making a calculated investment for our future, and what it means to Matt career, as well as our financial security. It's not that he has a compelling desire to be separated from his family. It's obviously a gamble. But, we're optimistic that it's going to pay off down the road.

We have decided to refrain from telling the kids for awhile due to their inability to comprehend time. For now we'll just enjoy the year. And the moments we share together while making plans for our future...





18 comments:

Kash said...

I understand! People judge our decision to but we know what's best for us andour future and aren't just thinking about today.

Laural Out Loud said...

It seems strange that people would judge you for this! It's no different than military families that are separated over and over again, spending more time apart over time than you two will. And financial security for your future is nothing to scoff at in these times. You did an amazing job this last year, and you'll do it again when the time comes again!

Z. Marie said...

I know you and I have talked about this before, but of course it's a case of doing what you have to do. I learned pre-Foreign Service to never say never, but at least I never said we'd never do an unaccompanied tour. Good luck to you all. Maybe Kevin and Matt can hang out in Kabul ...

Shannon said...

Each family has to make their own choices. I can't believe someone would judge you for this. I know it will be tough but you are strong and you have your gorgeous new house to enjoy!

Ms. Sarah said...

As a military spouse. I commend you. I know its not easy raising kids on your own, waiting for the phone calls, letters, skype and so on. I do know being a semi brat that what we sacafice now for our chldrens future they will appericate when they get older. Anything to insure a brighter one kudos to you. We are all here to cheer you guys on. We are facing a six month seperation and I know we can do it thanks to your blog and story!

Kate said...

The next unaccompanied tour should be easier, you guys are veterans, you'll be settled in your own beautiful home, and the kids will have another year of staying in one place. Embrace your choice!

Mom24 said...

Oh Jill! My mind (and my heart) is just bouncing all around with this one. I'm sure you have so many mixed emotions. Still, you've been through it before, you know (sort of) what you're getting, you're one of the strongest women I know, you both can do it. I wish you all the best, and I'll be here as a shoulder to lean on when you want to vent.

Enjoy this year. I hope it's absolutely wonderful!

Liz said...

This post is eerily similar to the discussions Nick and I have been having about what happens after I finish at NYU. The "I know we said NEVER AGAIN, but..." line comes up a lot.

I hope your family has a wonderful year!

Tara R. said...

This is a decision only you and Matthew can understand. You're doing what you feel is best for his career and your family. Good luck. Hopefully the coming tour will go smoothly. At least you are settled in your beautiful new home and won't be going through that again.

Mrs.T said...

No one lives in your shoes and your house and thus should not pass judgment about your family's tough decisions. I commend you for the sacrifices you all make. Military and foreign service families make more sacrifices and carry the tough burden of all that's happening overseas for most Americans. I wish you all the best and enjoy this year!

Christy said...

I think you guys are so brave to make such a difficult choice, AGAIN. I know you'll make it through, and you can definitely count on me to be there for you when the going gets rough. Our guest room is always open, and our kids would LOVE to bunk up with yours!

Hope to see you SOON! xo

Camille said...

If anybody can do it, you guys can :) Tell those Judgey McJudgeyfaces to kiss your ass!

Issas Crazy World said...

Holy cow friend, that is big news. I think that it makes sense. In the long term part of your goals for life, it makes sense. Not to say it won't be hard. But this time you will be settled. This time your life and the kids lives won't be so temporary and up in the air all the time. That will make it easier.

My mom came from an air force family. They moved all over the world and at times they too stayed while my grandfather was gone for 9 months to a year.

It's the profession Matt chose and I commend him and you for making hard choices to better your future. And hey, I'll come visit before and after he leaves. How's that? ;)

Headless Mom said...

Every family is different and I'm sure you heavily weighed all the options. Enjoy your time together and build memories for your time apart. Having your own home and your own stuff this time will make it much easier, I'm sure.

Emily said...

At least you guys will have your beautiful house.
Hopefully the second time around will be easier.
I am glad that you are able to do what you guys want to do. That is important.

Daniela Swider said...

Wow, I am sure this was not an easy decision for you guys but if it makes sense for your family and for your future, more power to you guys! Here's hoping you have a terrific year together and that the year Matt's in Afghanistan goes easier and faster than his year in Iraq. And, I agree, spending that year in your own home will make a difference.

Delhibound said...

Bravo to you both!

Bfiles said...

wow. what a decision. i admire all of you so much. And so glad that this time, you'll be settled into your own home. It will surely be much easier. And you have a whole year to enjoy, first.

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