I'd like you to imagine for a moment that you have to move far away from everyone you love. You're not moving to a place where other family members live, or are nearby. You move someplace so far away that you feel pretty alone most of the time. You have a few good friends close by, but for holidays they go spend time with their families, so on the most important days of the year they're not around.
Now, add to that "circumstance" the inability to visit home--at all. You don't know when you'll be able to go back permanently, and you definitely don't know if you will ever get to visit home while you're gone.And I'm not talking about a couple of months. I'm not talking about one year. I'm talking about years. YEARS. Years of just phone conversations, just Internet communication, just letters sent back and forth.
Driving home is not an option, because it would cost upwards of $1000, and your car--while it isn't quite a clunker--probably would need extra maintenance to survive the trip, which you can't afford. It would also take three days to get there, three days to get back, so you'd be taking a lot of time off of work. Flying would also cost about $1000--because, I forgot to mention, you're married, so there are TWO people that need to get back to see their families. Two roundtrip tickets for that great of a distance (approx. 2000 miles) are at least $400 each. Taking the train or bus is out of the question. The train is slightly less than flying or driving, but you have to buy food no matter which you choose. These are definitely more cost-effective options, but like driving, they take too much extra time.
Every time you have a birthday, every time something fantastic happens, you can only talk about it. At Thanksgiving and Christmas you can Skype, or send presents in the mail. You can take lots of pictures and e-mail them back and forth and obsess about Facebook in a way you never wanted to but now you have to because it's the only way you can keep in touch with 90% of your family (because Grandma doesn't have one.)
...Now, before I get ahead of myself, I know what some of you will say. Get an extra job. Sell stuff on eBay (which I've done). Be more frugal, blah blah blah. Or, as one friend so blithely put it during our first Christmas here, "Make your own memories!" (We spend 90% of our time with each other and only each other, we've got plenty of "happy newlywed" memories.)
But my husband has had so many jobs in Illinois I don't know how to describe that chaos to you. Right now he's working 40+ hours as a manager at one job, but will soon be adding a second job (both paying just over $10 an hour.) And do you know what those jobs have amounted to?
Last year, I spent half of Christmas Day alone. That's right, I sat in the apartment all by myself because he was at work. He also worked on New Years Day. And the day I graduated from college, I didn't have anyone to celebrate with except for my husband, but at the last minute he got called in to work. So I, again, spent the day alone in the apartment. I also spent my 25th birthday... alone in the apartment.
Somewhere out there, some military spouse is probably growling at my blog because they have to live without their loved ones all the time. I have a few things to say about that too.
A. You probably still have more ability to see the rest of your family than I do..
B. The average length of deployment for the military are as follows:
-Air Force 4-12 months (120-360 days)
-Army 12-15 months (National Guard & Reserve is only 12 months) (350-450 days)
-Navy 6-12 months (180-360 days)
-Marines 7 months (210 days)
As of right now we have been away from our families for 819 days.
|This is the last time I hugged my mom, 819 days ago.|
Also, check out my pasty white legs.
I'm not writing this to complain. I have a good life and I love my tutoring job and my husband and my church. But I want to go home for Christmas. WE want to go home for Christmas. I'm not afraid of shameless self-promotion.
So I'm asking you again, to watch this video. I'm asking you AGAIN to please visit our GoFundMe page and to donate--even a small amount helps. I'm telling you again, that there are awesome prizes handmade/handwritten by me if you donate. Please watch the video, please share the site with your friends, and please consider donating. And pretty, pretty please with a gingerbread man on top... share, share, share!