Not Active Anymore

by Karen

“Why are you at Ft. Sill? Is your husband Army?”

“Ummm…no. Not really.”

There are days I forget that Clay isn’t active duty Army anymore. It isn’t that hard to do. We live ten minutes from post, I do all of my shopping at the commissary, we have DoD stickers on our cars, and Clay goes TDY quite a bit. Honestly, he is gone just as much as he was when he was active duty, maybe even more! All of the acronyms all the same, he works with active duty soldiers all day long, and we were even hailed* into the group by the Colonel, complete with a yellow rose for me.

We don’t have free healthcare anymore, but we still have a pretty darn good plan, courtesy of his federal position. He is in the guard (soon to be reserves) and does the whole full-uniformed military dance one weekend a month. But it is odd – in a lot of ways (as explained above), it still feels like we’re active duty Army, minus a looming deployment over our heads at this current time. An active position isn’t out of the question for the next assignment – that is the beauty of Clay’s current arrangement – we have choices. Lots and lots of choices.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to go into detail about Clay’s specific position. In the ‘regular’ world, asking what a spouse (or you) does for a living is a natural occurrence in conversation. I tend to answer in general terms and deflect the follow-up questions as best I can. Not currently active duty, works for the Government, Reserves etc… It is an interesting in-between classification. But I suppose that is par for the course of being married to Clay – his job (and accompanying lifestyle) has never really been boring. I try to be as supportive as I can, operating on the limited information he can provide. Let’s just say that I smile and nod my head a lot.

So we’re not an active duty family anymore. There are elements of the lifestyle we miss and others we don’t. Our current arrangement has its own set of stressors and unique predicaments. We have discovered the secret to success is to remain flexible and not to rule anything out. We have no idea what the future holds for us or where we will be two years from now. For some, the uncertainty is unnerving. It certainly is for us at times. But we really try to focus on the exciting aspects – I mean, I doubt we would have lived in the exciting metropolis known as Lawton/Ft. Sill, Oklahoma on our own. In all seriousness, we have learned a lot about ourselves, us, and life from being put in situations beyond our comfort zone. Why stop now?

* “For the United States Army, a Hail and Farewell is most often celebrated at a formal dining in when there is a change in command. This provides the unit with a formal setting in which to welcome the new commander and honor the old commander. Some units may elect a less formal Dining Out in which family member and other non-military guests are encouraged to take place in the unit change. There are no official requirements outlined by the United States Army to have a Hail and Farewell celebration. It is up to each unit to carry out this tradition as they see fit.” (source)

PS – It was hot as a cat on a tin roof around these parts this past weekend. Combined with the 35mph winds, it was like being hit in the face with a hair dryer all day. It was hot all over the country…were you trapped in a hair dyer all weekend too?