Friday, January 06, 2006

Decisions, Decisions...Out of Our Hands

I take a certain amount of pride in being a military wife. I like to think of myself as strong, and when things get tough my internal mantra sounds something like: I am a military wife. I can deal with anything!

But I also know myself pretty well. And the one thing I can't deal with is uncertainty.

When I met up with my friends in New York, they all asked me about this decision I've been alluding to. The thing about this decision is that it's not so much a secret as it is just really hard to explain. And I generally avoid talking about my husband's job here anyway.

It's complicated.

You see, my husband's next promotion board is in three short years. And it's a big promotion. He needs to do something pretty big to stand out in these next three years, or he won't get promoted.

He is currently in limbo here. He belongs to one squadron but is working in another. It's all fucked up. And it's all because he is a hot commodity. There are only three or four people on this whole base with his exact qualifications, and everybody wants him.

But the job that he should be moving to is on this base. It's a steady, predictable kind of job. And it is a three year commitment. Which means that we'd be living right here, in this same house, with the kids in the same school for another three years. Which sounds great, is he going to distinguish himself to get this next promotion?

Enter the decision.

He has the opportunity to do something that will really distinguish him from his peer group. He has the opportunity to go to Iraq and serve on a staff for a year remote tour.

(Notice my use of the word opportunity there.)

And most importantly, after serving in Iraq for a year, he would get his choice of follow-on assignments. The military folks out there know how huge that its. It would open up a world of opportunity for us. We could finally go to Europe. He could serve on a command staff. His next two ranks would be locked in!

So we had to decide. Did we want to pursue this opportunity and break our ties here? Or did we want to live a safe, predictable life together for the next three years.

We talked and talked about it. We weighed all the pros and cons. We talked about our life's priorities and dreams.

And we decided that, yes. This year-long deployment would be worth it in the long run. It was interesting to note that we also both brought up one particular point while we were discussing this.


He joined the military to serve. And there are kids dying over there. Who is he to walk away from that just because he has some rank and a cushy job?

So we got ourselves all psyched up and he met with his commander to tell him our decision. Only to have his commander tell him that it is out of his hands now. His interest in the assignment has been noted, and it will be discussed. But the powers that be don't really want him to go. They can use him here.

So we're in limbo. We're floating in the unknown.

If the answer is no, we probably won't even hear. If the answer is yes, he could be packing his bags for the next flight out.

I hate the unknown.

I can deal with anything. Year-long separations. A husband in a war-torn country. Danger and loneliness, and lost friends, and more.

But I'm learning to deal with the unknown. Because that is my constant state of being.

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