Like Martha and Kate have both mentioned, and as many of you know, finding your way to a new "Army" normal can be quite interesting and sometimes difficult. This first hit me when we were at Fort Leonard Wood (FLW). FLW is primarily a training installation. Soon after my arrival, I began to notice lots of these:
And in case you cannot read that bright red sign on the front it reads "STUDENT DRIVER." Day-in and day-out I would pass huge vehicles with this big, red sign when going about my daily routine. I passed them coming out of my neighborhood, on the way to the gym or grocery store and even on the way to the park. Not that this experience in particular was weird or difficult, I had to get used to seeing trainings take place so close to home.
Army installations, it's soldiers and families have a strange way of making a new normal out of an Army life. That seems a bit funny to say because everyone experiences new normals, when a baby is born or a new job pops up, but this new normal is different. It isn't something that really has a routine, a consistency or even certain hours. This normal has a odd combination of training and working for something far bigger than yourself while still trying to proceed with everyday, mundane tasks. For example, our coat closet looks like this:
an odd splattering of everyday wear combined with uniforms that only select people in our great country are authorized to wear. Each weekday, Tyler puts on a uniform that represents a strong commitment to our country and on the weekend, although he gets to wear his "civilian" clothes, we know that he is still on duty and at the drop of a hat our phone could ring and he could go into work.
And then there is the nook where Tyler's gear is housed. At each duty station soldiers are given certain pieces of equipment that may be specific to their duty station or job. One piece of equipment is authorized everywhere ... a flack vest.
This guy is authorized because it protects the soldiers most important organs when riding in a hum-vee, training or at war. This little treasure sits and waits for my husband to need it, but could possibly be his saving grace one day when he wears it. That combination of "just another something I wear and this could possibly save my life" is so strange. A shocking twist of reality and just another piece of equipment somehow get caught up in our new normal.
I'm not really certain what I sat down to say tonight, but I hope that some of you who are struggling to find a new normal or to research to see what that new normal may look like have found a piece of what you are looking for here. Know that everyone's normal looks different, and the steps to get there vary, but you can find peace and happiness in this life. Please, do not be afraid to speak up about how you found your normal, what you're looking to find on this blog, or just to say hello; we'd love to hear from you.
Happy Hump Day!