A few years ago, I read Shonda Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes. It was a really good read. I expected nothing less from the writer of my favorite night of television: TGIT. I’ve been a Grey’s Anatomy fan from the beginning and while it took me a few seasons to start watching Scandal, once I did, I was hooked.
While I think I started watching these shows for the drama and the romance, what I really came to appreciate is the depth and breadth each of Shonda’s female characters embodies. They are surgeons and political fixers. They are sassy, classy, and a little badassy. They are the things I aspire to be: strong, confident, witty, and really good under pressure.
It was amidst the chaos and pressure that precedes a wedding that I was reminded that I already belong to such a group of women. These women are the original Olivia Popes of their domains, exclaiming, “It’s handled!” at any task thrown their way.
These women are military spouses.
This community of gladiators as Olivia would call them is on its A-game anytime duty calls. The resounding cry amongst the military spouse community is, “It’s handled.”
Cross country move? It’s handled. Extended deployment? It’s handled. Fifth set of new school forms in 3 years? It’s handled. The gifts and talents this group brings to the proverbial table are unbridled. Along with everyday life stressors, military spouses face constant change. At a moment’s notice we pick up our whole life and transplant it somewhere else.
Strong. Confident. Really good under pressure.
Embodying these traits allows this group of fearless females to tackle one of military life’s age-old questions that often comes across more as an accusation, “But you signed up for this.”
In my years as a military spouse it’s the question I love to hate, because the short answer is, “Yes.” The longer answer looks more like a list of the hardships I’ve handled and the unexpected joys that come from living this military life.
Originally, I signed up to marry an enlisted sailor on shore duty.
Turns out I also signed up for Officer Candidate School beginning on our first wedding anniversary and my spouse moving to Rhode Island, while my three-month old son and I stayed in Virginia.
Within the course of one year I signed up for a traditional Navy ship deployment, immediately followed by a combat deployment to Afghanistan.
I also signed up to give birth to our second son while my husband was deployed.
I signed up to make friends with every permanent change of station.
I also signed up to leave those friends and make new ones wherever the Navy sends us.
Surprisingly, I signed up to meet presidents and First Ladies, attend fancy balls, and tear up at change of command ceremonies.
These are just a few personal examples of life as a military spouse. It would take thousands of words to recount all the badassery exhibited by military spouses.
Mostly, we Olivia Pope our lives, handle all the things, because what we signed up for is living life with the men we love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.