If I ever have twins (which are very common in my family history) and if they are boys, I will name the oldest Charlie and the youngest Mike. Anyone military-related will find that funny. I think it would be hilarious. CM, or Charlie Mike, is an acronyms in the military for Continue Mission. For military, this not only applies constantly to on-the-job duties, but it also becomes a way of life for their families.
I remember a week after returning from our honeymoon, my husband and I were driving across Fort Hood so I could get my military ID. While looking around at the familiar and homey barbed wire, and parade fields, I commented that this must be quite a culture shock for some new brides. I grew up Military, so marrying my husband wasn’t a complete culture shock. I was confident that I knew it all. I would be fine. This was a smooth transition for me.
I was wrong. The military that my father proudly served in was quite different than the one today. There were no deployments, to speak of. While he was away often, we didn’t go long periods without seeing him. So, while I have been able to operate on day to day duties, I am beginning to enter a culture shock of my own.
Deployment is always a possibility. In January, my husband was put on orders suddenly and told he was going to Haiti for six months. Within a week, his entire unit was prepared and practically walking out the door, only to be told to stand down. I still to this day think that week took ten years off my life. Reality slapped me in the face. I was in no way prepared for a deployment, emotionally or otherwise. I cried so many times when he wasn’t looking, worrying over who was going to help me get through. How was everything going to get done. I knew I’d have to start educating myself and getting ready. It was inevitable. Charlie Mike. Now, a probable deployment is on the horizon for this Spring.
Richard and I have had a lot going on since we walked down the aisle. Life hasn’t calmed down. While that has brought some blessings, like our honeymoon surprise daughter (and that was a huge surprise), life has brought us a great deal of Crosses, too. It seems as though just as life is beginning to feel calm and predictable, it turns upside down.
This rang all too clear for us when we found out we were pregnant with our second child. Only four months postpartum, I was in no way prepared for another baby. I called my mother crying, asking her how this happened. (Yes, I do know.) She comforted me as best she could. When I got off the phone, I looked at my husband. “What are we going to do?” Charlie Mike, was his response. And we did. I took the time I needed and began emotionally preparing myself for two. I told myself that I can handle anything if I am forced to. It’s not a choice, it’s a must.
When we lost our baby, I mourned and grieved, but I Continued Mission. I had to go on. For Elizabeth and Richard. It wasn’t a choice, it was a must.
While Charlie Mike has always been a joke (honey, I forgot to thaw something–what now? Charlie Mike!) , this has become a way of life for me. I am no longer that scared young mother that stood in the nursery that cold January day, wondering who was going to change the garbage bag if I forgot when Richard left. I am now the military wife and mother who, when I have an armful of groceries and am holding my daughter while realizing the door is locked and my keys are in the purse, thinks “Charlie Mike, Adrienne.” Figure it out, now. Practice.
I no longer worry about the deployment, wondering “Oh, God. How am I going to live 12 months like that?” or, “Who will help me?” Now, I acknowledge, “Bummer. But, we’ll get through it.” There will be hard times. I very well maybe brought to my knees some days. But, bring it. I am a military wife. When life gets tough now or during deployment, I might cry sometimes, I may whine at moments. But I will stand up each time, envision my husband’s face, and Charlie Mike. Because he deserves it.