I hear the word permission and I am immediately taken back to low a brown building with fluorescent lights, watching my then boyfriend, now husband, ask for permission to come aboard. As someone, who, at the time, was completely unfamiliar with military customs, all I could think was, “Aboard what?”
We were in a hallway, of a building, with a reception desk, why in the world would we need permission to come aboard? This was the first of many confusing and slightly comical things I’ve come to love about life as a Navy spouse.
Though I think back on that memory and chuckle, it reminds me of how often I’ve waited for someone, anyone to grant me the permission to come aboard. Aboard what? My life.
A few years ago I sat down with a mentor to unpack some heavy truths that I held onto with an iron fist. Truths that led me to believe that I should parent, cook, clean, and partner with my spouse the way that was modeled for me in the home I grew up in. I was always trying to attain the greatness in my own life that I saw in the lives of my parents. If I could only do my life a little bit better, a little bit more like theirs, I would not be sinking in the hard parts of marriage and motherhood.
As I was listing all my failures and frustrations for my mentor, she stopped me mid-sentence in her no-nonsense North Eastern way with these words: “You’re not them.”
I’m not them. Truth. Those three words gave me the permission to look at my life and myself in its true perspective:
- My husband doesn’t come home every night for dinner.
- I haven’t lived anywhere near my hometown in years.
- I have all boys instead of all girls.
My mentor also dropped another heavy truth bomb on me that day: Not everyone is made to live the life I lead, but I was. What?!? Seriously, I came up with a thousand reasons as to how anyone could live my life and probably live it better than me. I kept telling my mentor that my lifestyle as a military spouse wasn’t hard, you just do it, because you just do, it’s the life I married into and this is how it is.
She adamantly assured me that there are few people who can truly live while incessantly picking up and settling down thousands of miles away from their last home. Additionally, there are few people who can walk into rooms full of strangers and make new friends, every two to three years. Furthermore, there are few people who can be so gutsy as know these things may be required of them when they get married, but don’t really know what it’s going to be like and they do it anyway-over and over and over again.
Mind blown. Heavy truth dropped. Permission granted-to see myself and my life not through the lens of everyone else’s lives and realities, but through my own.
That day my mentor gave me the permission to come aboard my life and embrace myself for who I am and the lifestyle I lead. To truly love myself, my life, chaos and all, and to let go and let God take me where He wants me to be.
“Permission to come aboard?”
Every day. All the time. Period.