JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - In the Army, each Soldier has
been told “no one left behind.” This can be applied to every aspect
of the service.
One area several Soldiers tend to forget
about is the home front. As much as I am sent on deployments,
training missions or school courses, I still struggle with doing my
job and not forgetting to help my family.
This brought me to
the question of “merge or overtake?” Do I keep trying to make all
the decisions miles to continents away or work with her?
wife keeps the day-to-day operations of raising our children, paying
bills, managing the vehicles, keeping the house clean, cooking food,
and taking care of anything situation upon my departure. She has
first-hand knowledge that time and life don't get put on hold, but
sometimes surge forward faster than expected. She can get so busy
with appointments, events, tasks and trying to find time to Skype or
call me that she becomes overwhelmed and sometimes feels under or
One experience was shortly after I got married
when I left for three months for a reclassification course eight
hours from her. I tried to adapt and help with every issue or
problem she faced. Instead of helping her, majority of the time
ended up more difficult for my wife.
This led to my spouse
playing catch-up with all the decisions that I made when trying to
help. After having this experience, I told myself I needed to not
overstep any boundaries and help where I could. This caused me to
drift more and more toward doing less and less until she was giving
me updates and me not making any decisions.
I am guilty of
this on more than one occasion. I went from one extreme to the
other; now when I am away from my spouse, I tend to make fewer
decisions about situations back home and focus on myself. This is
dangerous because thinking only about myself when away causes my
better half to feel alone in decisions.
I am pretty good
about being perceptive and realizing something is bothering my wife,
but I am completely oblivious to when what is bothering my wife is
me. When she tells me how she's feeling, it sinks in, and I realize
I have not been doing what I promised her in our vows.
my last deployment, I thought I had found the balance of knowing
what to make a decision on and what to let her do. Unfortunately,
after noticing she was getting stressed out again, she told me I had
been making it harder by making the decisions in the areas I had no
As much as I knew that she had stuff she had to
do, in the back of my mind was the thought that everything would
wait for me until I returned home. I knew better, but was extremely
difficult and hit me hard watching my first son grow up on Skype
without me there. For example, I was fortunate enough to see him
stand up on his own and take his first three steps on Skype. I was
so proud I wanted to pick him up, but then realized I couldn't and
was depressed. It happened repeatedly before that seeing the
pictures of his teeth coming in, eating hard food, playing with
toys, laughing, but hit me hard when he started to walk.
are told to be patient and realize life has continued to go on
without us back home, but hard to keep a grasp of when you don't
want to miss a single moment. I remember being told throughout the
deployment to be patient and understand my family has their own
lives and schedule in place, and not be discouraged if they don't
have time to talk. My wife was told the same thing about me when she
attended briefings from the Family Readiness Group and other unit
officials. After she was done with the meetings, she would tell me
what was said and show me some brochures or pamphlets about how to
help her with me. This makes me think more emphasis is placed on
preparing the family for the Soldier but just as much should be
placed on preparing the Soldier for the family.
If it weren't
for my family, I would not have the drive and motivation for
accomplishing the mission and strive to succeed in classes. For
example, when I was single, I was content in my career, still trying
to progress through the ranks, but no real push to become a pilot.
After I married my wife, I realized being content was not the best
thing for my wife and family. I suddenly had more intent and drive
to accomplish more. She kept telling me not to be scared to try and
accomplish my dreams and I could do whatever I wanted. With that
push and support, I started to move forward with the career
progression that I had wanted to for years but didn't because I was
I could build a house. With the support of my family,
I could build a skyscraper. What I am asking you is when you leave
for school, training or deployment, don't forget about the home
front. It is the best thing going for you so do not take them for
granted and they will stay by your side. Make sure you do your best
to help with whatever they need, be there for them, and make them
feel they are not alone.
Remember, no one left behind, this
applies to your better half. They can be the most powerful thing you
have in your arsenal. So when you are not home, ask yourself “Merge
By U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
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