Life Between Villages, Part I
I am a military spouse. I have been part of the military lifestyle for almost 16 years, 4 as active duty, and the rest as a spouse. I've learned a lot in that time, and gone through a lot of villages, so to speak, finding your tribe is never easy. If you are reading along, and haven’t found your village yet, don’t be afraid to get out there. Be awkward, be you. It has worked for me so far, and I would only steer you wrong if it was for a good road trip.
About me and mine.
R and I got married at lunch, the day after our first fight, in a group wedding, at the courthouse, spontaneously, with no engagement. I didn’t know my witnesses. It was a hilariously perfect event for us. This is relevant to the title, I swear, but I will elaborate.
It was a Monday, and we were supposed to be moving into a 2-bedroom apartment across town on Wednesday, our son was 2 months old and it was time to upgrade that 590 square feet. Sometime in the afternoon, the shady apartment complex we were going to move to called and told us their current tenant decided not to vacate and we were essentially screwed out of the money we paid for applications and background checks, but we should have a nice day. If we wanted, they had a 3 bedroom, we couldn’t afford, available. Panic set in. You see we were baby military and had no family to catch us as we fell. Our supervisors let us go early so we could do a mad 48-hour scramble to find a new place, since we had to vacate our current apartment.
If you ever live near a military base, you will be familiar with the following things: tattoo parlors, payday loan places, dry cleaners, car dealerships, and loads of rental houses. We were in the market for that last one. Behind the strip containing the aforementioned places near Tinker AFB, there were loads of tiny houses for rent. We cruised the streets and called numbers on signs. I drove, he called. One particularly adorable tiny brick house caught our eye. After reaching the owners, they informed R that they changed their mind, and wanted to sell the place. My *boyfriend* proceeds to negotiate with the people. I lose my mind. I whisper-yell for him to, “HANG UP THE DAMN PHONE.” He does and we drive home in silence. At home, with hours ticking away, I finally let loose on him. I am NOT going to buy a house with my boyfriend, houses are a huge deal and a giant financial burden I am not ready to take. He shouts back that we are getting married so what does it matter, and I will tell you that shut me up, and moved me to hysterical laughter. Me- “Oh really? And just when are we doing that?” R- “TOMORROW”. Our first fight was embarrassingly short.
No shit, we got married the next day. Tuesdays are great for surprise weddings.
I told my favorite co-worker I needed a long lunch because I was getting married, and I have no idea if she thought I was kidding, but she covered for me. We dropped by the BX and grabbed plain white gold bands. We then went to the OKC courthouse, grabbed a license real quick, and hopped in on a group wedding. Yes. Group wedding. They broke our group up into two groups, those who were exchanging rings, and those who were not. We went first. Our witnesses were another lovely, highly prepared couple. I cannot remember their names, but he was still in his construction reflective vest and she had a house arrest bracelet on, and these things made this event extra amazing to me. I cannot remember what we said, I am sure it was amazingly romantic and not at all scripted. We went back, signed our forms, and stopped in to the local tailor to have a name tape pulled from his uniform and put onto mine. We went back to work and waited for people to notice.
Also, that apartment complex we were vacating rushed a cleaning and got us a place a street over. It all worked out in the end.
That is us. We didn’t have money, we didn’t have family close, and we didn’t have a village. We also have no regrets about it. Things are sometimes atypical for those of us in this particular lifestyle. I left the service 12 years ago and started following him around professionally, as he is still in. While my story may be unique, the quick courthouse marriages, in the military, without friends or family, are not. I don't regret any of it, not a minute, but over the years I have learned the value in making your own family and village.
This series of events took place almost 13 years ago. We've had a second son, our family is complete at 4 humans and 2 fur babies and counting. I have people now who would show up to a courthouse without a single question. I have my village. Your family and your village will change, grow, shrink, or you may have to leave it behind. Change is incredibly hard, making friends in a new state is downright painful, and making a village is harder still. I am still muddling along, and figuring it out myself. I am going to tell you all about it.
This first series for me will be about my hilarious successes and fails at making villages, finding my happy places in new states, and more about my crazy life where I am now.
Drop a comment for me, do you have an amazing wedding story? How did you find your village? Need village advice? I cannot promise it'll be great advice, but I will give you something. Like a fortune cookie you can't eat.