Salute to Spouses Blog

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A Christmas letter to military families everywhere

If we actually wrote a Christmas letter, this might be what it would sound like. Part nostalgic, part sentimental, part sarcastic … but all of it a pretty good reflection of our retired life.


Dear friends and family,


We haven’t written a Christmas letter for years.


For one thing, we can’t keep up with all your addresses. Our apologies if this letter was forwarded three times before it reached you!


For another, we went years with nothing much exciting to say. We moved, a kid was born, we went through a deployment, another move, another deployment, another kid, another deployment, another move … you get the picture.


Twenty-six years of military life went by in a flash. Sometimes it seemed like the movie “Groundhog Day,” where every day is exactly, monotonously the same. Other days it seemed like a blurry lap around a spinning race track at 200 miles an hour, where nothing remains constant.


But mostly, it felt like a time warp. The rest of American society passed us by while we were living overseas, or just too focused on trying to survive and keep our family in one piece to notice. We missed significant events in pop culture and politics. We lost track of time and family milestones. Every once in awhile, we even lost ourselves.


Now, in retirement, we should have more time to keep in touch. We should be able to reconnect and gather everyone’s current address. We should have time to actually go to the Post Office and buy stamps. (Side note: How much is a stamp now days?)


We have the luxury now to watch movies and pay attention to new music and take photos of our kids. Of course, since they are nearly adults now, we’ve adopted two cute fur babies to take their places.


We didn’t even move this year. In fact, we actually finished unpacking everything. For the first time since we moved into this house 15 months ago, there is not a single plastic tote sitting in the corner of the living room or hiding behind the couch. Most of the windows even have curtains!


We have time to enjoy an adult beverage. Or, one too many adult beverages.


We eat dinner together as a family most nights, although the kids complain that they no longer get a steady diet of Easy Mac in front of the TV, “like we used to when Dad was gone all the time.” They report that they also miss fish sticks and cereal for dinner.


And speaking of Dad, my husband has time to be a parent now. A lot of it, actually, since he doesn’t have a job. What a joy it is to have him home 24/7 to help around the house!


All that being said, our biggest accomplishments this year were choosing among the 122 new dental plans offered to military retirees, and managing to actually get our flu shots before the clinic ran out.


We know many of you are also recently retired or nearing that stage. We hope your transition is a smooth, stress-free, happy occasion. Maybe you’ll be the only person we know who doesn’t struggle with the change that retirement brings. Maybe you’ll be more well-adjusted than we are.


Or maybe you’ll join us on the patio for a drink, or two, or three. That’s what got us through.


Here’s wishing you all a peaceful and joyous holiday season. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for all the mundane details of our daily lives!




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