Recently I had a friend ask if I regretted being a Navy wife. At the time I thought, what a horrid question, until she rephrased it and asked if I would have preferred to be a “normal” housewife. I am not sure I liked the question any better when phrased this way but, in the end, I understood what she was trying to ask. I answered with the same response I always give, which is no, because to have it any other way would mean not having Don. She was happy with this answer and changed the subject but, for some reason, the question stayed with me and I found myself pondering it in a way that I never have before.
I wondered if I would feel differently if I still was able to marry Don but that he would have had a “real” job. Now I am not putting it like this to in any way suggest that I do not consider the Navy to be a “real” job, I was simply wondering what life would have been like if Don would have had a job he would go to and return from on a daily basis.
I must admit, with Don currently deployed, I find myself missing him a great deal and my first thought was, wouldn’t that have been the ideal life, never to have known extreme loneliness, never to have had to explain to the kids that daddy couldn’t come and “visit”, never to have had to make a decision on my own and hoped that I had made the correct one?
Still, as I sat thinking about all of the positives of being married to a man with a “real” job I also realized that the things that I just listed are the things that have made me into the person I am today. While there are times when I feel so alone it hurts, I am also very comfortable being alone with myself. While I hate going up to the ticket counter and asking for a movie ticket for one, in my younger days this is not something I would have ever considered doing.
Just this past weekend, I went to a busy restaurant and asked for a table for one. Why? The answer is simple; I had the confidence to do so. This is important because there have been times in my life when I wanted to eat out and, if I did not have the confidence to go by myself, I would not have gone. It is not that I do not have any friends, it is just that sometimes the friends I have are located in another state.
I also realize that living the lifestyle we have lived, moving from place to place, experiencing new cultures and constantly meeting new people, have also contributed to the person I am today. You cannot meet new people without experiencing new things. Granted, some friends make bigger impressions than others but those impressions and those friendships have helped to make me the person I am today.
In San Diego it was our landlord who orchestrated a gathering of hodgepodge furniture when, what little furniture we had, made a tiny detour through Hawaii before finally showing itself months after our arrival. It was our neighbor, Melody, who rushed out to buy preemie outfits for my newborn daughter who, at just over nine pounds, was still somehow swimming in her newborn outfits.
It was in Charleston that I met Lana, who taught me how to shop and encouraged me to get involved with all things Navy. We formed a friendship that still stands to this day and yes, I still love to shop.
It was also in Charleston that I met Julie and Sondra who, at long last, taught me the proper way to “put on my eyes” This was probably the single most important thing anyone ever taught me, because until then I had never learned the proper way to put on eyeliner.
It was also Julie who taught me it is okay to ask for good service. We were at McDonalds and, upon receiving our order, found ourselves eating cold fries. Without hesitating Julie scooped up the fries, went to the counter and returned with piping hot replacements. At first I was mortified. I mean, this was only McDonalds, not a five start restaurant but Julie made her case, saying it was important that one get what they pay for no matter the price paid. To this day I take that to heart and do not hesitate to ask for hot fries, among other things.
In Michigan it was Vonda who taught me that prejudice is not limited to skin color. I hope that I taught her that just because someone has a southern accent does not mean they are beneath you. No… come to think of it, I don’t think she ever learned a thing from me. Her loss…
It was also in Michigan that I met my dearest friend Sheila. My sounding board and the only person, besides my husband, that knows everything there is to know about me. I like to say that she knows where the bodies are buried. She may remain in Michigan but we still chat on nearly a daily basis. It was Sheila who inspired me to begin writing in the first place and who I would have never met if I had not followed the journey that life has lead me on.
There have been many others I have met along the way, too many to mention, but each and every person that has come into my life has left me a better person because of the experience. Some gave me a piece of them, others showed me who I did not want to become. They all shaped me in some way.
It was the Navy that brought us back to Virginia, to our house that we love so much. I am happy here and have met some wonderful people who I am sure will help to make me an even better person. I can’t help but feel that we have finally made our way home. It may not be the home I started with but then I am not the same person I started out as.
As you can see there have been so many people in my life that have helped to mold me into the person I am today. People who, knowingly or not, have guided me along the path I was supposed to take. While I am looking forward to the day my husband walks off of the ship for the last time in order to be by my side each night as I sleep, I do not begrudge the life we have led or the career that has taken him away from me for months on end. It is that life that has led us to where we are now and has helped to transform me into the person that I am today. I may not be perfect, but as I look at the person who I have become, I am content with who I am. As I reflect upon the life I have led, I can honestly say, given the choice, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Sherry you get beter and better everytime I read your blog. I too like the person you have become and hope that I will have a chance to know you better. keep it coming and thank god for everyday that we are here. Miss you !
April 8, 2011 | dianna Thank you Dianna, I am glad you are enjoying my blogs and I assure you your praise means a lot to me. I miss you too!
April 8, 2011 | Sherry A Burton Sherry, I only started reading your blog recently...since we met....but hands down this is my FAVORITE!!! THANKS for sharing!
April 8, 2011 | Shelagh