What it means to be an Air Force wife, to me, encompasses so many different attributes, emotions, feelings, responsibilities, fears, expectations, and aspirations that it is
The Air Force used to feel like this mysterious and obscure entity. Something I knew about, appreciated (looking back now, my 'appreciation' level is laughable), but it was separate. Separate from me, my husband, our lives, and our future. Seeing my world now, and how utterly blessed and enriched it has become in just a short year, leaves me scratching my head in wonder as to how we ever existed outside of this glorious (and aggravating) military (read: Air Force) world.
For me, being an Air Force wife means representing my husband in an honorable, brave, classy, and strong way. It means being able to carry on conversations about everyone else who works in the bomb dump, who is on leave, who is deploying, returning from or heading to Korea. It means being able to know who is new in Line D. It means knowing how dispatch works, the difference between chaff and flare, bombs, rockets, air to air missiles, and air to ground missiles. It means always being aware of when the A-10's will be night flying and being able to know whether or not it truly is a thunderstorm shaking my house or just the jets. It means being able to differentiate the planes by how they sound flying over my house and being pretty good at guessing where they must be visiting from. It means knowing the gate guards shifts and whether or not my "favorites" are on duty.
Being an Air Force wife means switching my sleep schedule to match that of my husband's so as to get as much time together as possible, helping prep his Dress Blues (holding the ruler and telling him whether or not things look centered), and lint rolling him from top to bottom. It means checking in on him to see how his CDC's are going and offering relentlessly to help him study. It means giving him weekly head shaves. It means making cookies, cupcakes, and other treats for his shop. It means praising the littlest bit of improvement in something or an opportunity to get training for something else, even if it does lessen our "home" time together.
It means living 2,000 miles away from our families, friends, and everything familiar. It means days, nights, weeks, and months of loneliness. It means being overwhelmed and not being able to explain why. It means having so many plans and dreams but also knowing that making plans is a little idiotic because there is no guarantee you'll ever be able to follow through with them. It means my cell phone is an appendage to my body and willingness to walk out of church (gasp!) when it goes off.
Being an Air Force wife means keeping his ABU's clean and hung up, his flight line badges, ear plugs, and ipod/headphones all together so its easier for him to get ready for work. It means being prepared for the worst but readily (duh) accepting the best. It means finding numbered stickers all over everything we own and aspiring to be able to do DIY PCS but realizing I'll probably never be that brave. It means facing the possibility and eventual reality of many separations, TDY's, deployments, and PCS's. It means hurry up and wait and nothing is for certain. It means we have a steady income, a roof over our head, and food on our table.
It means tearing up when 'God Bless the USA', 'Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue', 'Letters From Home', and any other slightly patriotic (and chances are country) song. It means having a fabulous network and support system of other military spouses, from all branches, and creating unbreakable bonds with women I have never met. It means my body physically hurting and my heart aching when I hear of another fallen soldier or wounded warrior. Another ultimate sacrifice, another broken family, another pain-filled journey ahead of fatherless children and another widow getting a folded flag. Another Gold Star family. It means being HUA (Hooah, Oorah, Hooyah) through and through. It means immense pride when I see my Airman jump to attention and salute. It means butterflies in my tummy when I see him swagger through a crowd of camo.
Being an Air Force wife, to me, is everything. It is indistinguishable from who I am and who I will continue to be throughout his entire career. Being an Air Force wife is a blessing, a gift, an honor, and it's something I wouldn't trade it for anything in the entire world.