Last year on this day, I wished my husband a Happy 8th Anniversary.
Today I seek to do the same, only I’ve decided to unleash our skeletons from the closet and announce to all of you that we are Polygamists.
Yes. You read that correctly.
No. It is not another woman. Or another man.
Nine years ago today, in a beautifully rustic stone forge built in 1757, in front of just twenty-two people and an Army Chaplain, I married the SGM and The Military.
Polygamy wasn’t previously on my radar. I grew up Catholic, so it’s kind of a no-no. But it was pretty clear that this was a packaged deal and I wasn’t getting the SGM without also making vows to The Military.
While the first several years of marriage tested SGM and me to our very core with deployments and unexpected parenthood and less-expected feeding tubes and heart surgery and autism, I don’t think The Military struggled with these life events as much as we did.
The Military did come with a dowry that sounded pretty great on paper. Steady income, medical and dental benefits and life insurance. Then there were the perks such as travel, military galas and ceremonies, and all the ibuprofen a girl could ever want or need. In reality though, I am not the one who gets to travel and I can bet the SGM would pick better places to visit that do not involve terrorists. Our Battalion doesn’t do galas, so I don’t get to dress up like a goddess once a year and get tipsy at an open bar. Lastly, I pay for my ibuprofen out-of-pocket because I am a dependent not living near a Military Treatment Facility.
But I keep my vows to The Military despite the fraudulent dowry. I don’t argue when SGM is called away to war. I man the homefront when he is gone, whether for two days or two hundred. I fix leaky faucets and take the air conditioners out of the windows in the fall and lug them up to the attic. I bite my tongue on the telephone as much as possible so that he isn’t burdened by stressors at home such as I.E.P.s when his stressors at work are I.E.D.s.
Sometimes in polygamy, you are just the odd woman out. After nine years, I am confident The Military has had a lot more say in how SGM spends his time but I am not jealous or resentful of The Military. Remember, I signed up for this.
However, I do have a bone to pick with The Military on our anniversary today, and flowers and a card are not going to smooth things over this time. I want OUR children to be better cared for whether one of them needs open-heart surgery or autism therapies. Step up, The Military. SGM and I have upheld our vows. It is time for The Military to take a turn and uphold its vows to care for us in good times and bad and stop the segregation of medically necessary treatments for autism into ECHO where they are no longer available to us when SGM retires. C’mon, The Military – Remove that arbitrary dollar cap on autism care that limits therapies to less than half of what is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Navy and Army Surgeons General.
I want to grow old with both my SGM and The Military. I want our service and sacrifices throughout our marriage to mean something more than idle promises to care for one another. I want The Military to continue to care for our children after retirement as it claims to do. Because even if retirement was the equivalent to divorce, The Military would still owe child support. It was all part of the agreement we entered into when we forged this relationship.
And really, SGM doesn’t get to pick and choose which of his children he cares for, why should The Military?
We’ve got some things to work out, The Military. Like all marriages, there have been some major bumps on this ride but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Let’s make this right for all of our kids, ok?
Happy Anniversary, SGM and The Military.
I love you both.
[One in eighty-eight military dependent children lives with autism and current military insurance does not provide adequate care. Dependents of retirees, even those of Wounded Warriors, receive NO autism benefits. Please show your support for HR2288 - Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act (CMKAA) at http://cmkaa.org. There are three easy ways you can choose one-click support of this critical legislation.]