Five years ago when my husband reminded me of the 22 year promise, I knew I had to go out into a world I had no clue about. That world, in MilTerms, is the Civilian World. I have only know the MilWorld. I only know of a world that has everything done for me. I only know deployments, TDYs, Acronyms, and reading military time on clocks. LOL.
Once I began Esty school, I felt so out of place. I felt like I had entered another realm. There was regular times on clocks and no one spoke in acronyms. It was full words. I loved it! AND...I was never asked what my husband did AKA what rank my husband was. No one was deciding how to treat me based on my husband. It was so refreshing. I found out that it was all up to me now. I was either going to sink or swim on my own.
BACKSTORY: I enjoyed keeping my husband's rank and job a secret. I didn't want people's attitude towards me to be gauged on that information. Did I enjoy encouraging him and helping him succeed from the shadows? Yep, I sure did. I always looked at his success as his own and I was just blessed to be along for the ride. I began speaking to spouses groups about deployments and mental health because it brought me joy to share my experiences.
Back to the original story. We began a running joke between the 2 of us. I told him one day it won't be " You're Chief Cooley's wife". It will be "You're Jessica Cooley's husband". Guess what? IT HAPPENED!!! While at the tradeshow in Florida, he was my partner-in-crime and helping run the Skin Wand Pro booth. While it was slow, we went on a walkabout. Of course, you always run into all your Esty Besties from around the world and...it happened. Saw one of my dear friends and introduced her to Cooley and IT. HAPPENED. "It's so great to meet Jessica's Husband" . My brain went to full celebratory mode. I heard the words that I had been longing to hear. I made it!! He was NOW Jessica's Husband!!!! If you're from the MilWorld then you know exactly the feeling I'm talking about. Going from belonging to him to HIM belonging to ME ment that I had come full circle. Life is full now.
After the amazing laugh and me throwing it in his face for a good hour, he hugged me and told me that he was proud to be "Jessica's Husband". The tides had turned and it was amazing. I was a little nervous about him coming with me. I didn't want him to get bored or feel out of place but he blew me away. Cooley would go walk around and mingle with other vendors and talk about Skin Wand Pro. He embraced the chance to join me and made it his own. When we think about the switching of positions within the family structure, one may get nervous about being able to live up to the others successes. I know I was. But he has 30 years under his belt and I only have a tenth of that. Either way, I was so proud of him and proud of myself for making good on my little promise that was buried with in the big one.
Going from the MilWorld to the Civilian World can be scary but at the same time, it can be AMAZING!!!!