Military spouses are our own kind of resilient. No, we aren’t the ones shipping overseas or showing up for training. Instead, we are the ones holding down the fort back home. We are accessories to unclear or changing plans. We are caring for children solo while our partner is deployed. We are having hard conversations, staying motivated through impossible situations, and we are doing it all for little or no recognition.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t perks to this lifestyle. In fact, there are plenty. Just ask seasoned military spouse Carol Lammons. Lammons, now in her 70s, spent years as a military spouse with her first husband, a retired colonel. In 1999, she married her second husband, Rodger “Jim” Lammons, who is a veteran and former civilian contractor.
Military Families Magazine spoke with Lammons to get her insights about military life and learn how to make the best of new life experiences that are unique to service members and their families.
Here are the ways Lammons believes military spouses can, and should, lean into life as a military spouse:
What are some of your best lessons learned as a military spouse?
“Get involved and you can experience things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen,” Lammons said, referencing overseas tours, cultural events with her grandkids, and more that would not have been possible without the military as part of their lives.
“I had a close-knit group. We saw many things we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.”
What’s your biggest advice for a new milspouse?
“Make the best of where you are.”
What were some of your favorite parts of military life?
“You make friends, and you make really good friends wherever you are. I almost wish everybody could be military at some point because it’s such a good experience. It creates a better understanding and gives children a sense of what real life really is.”
Today, Lammons gains perspective from her grandchildren — those that are growing up in the military and those outside of it. One of her grandaughters is married to a service member, and watching her experience military life has provided new insights, like how she has expanded her horizons and understanding of the world with each move.
During Lammons’ own overseas experiences, her family spent five years in Germany. Her kids cried to come back to the U.S., but eventually, they made new friends and met new teachers. Overall, it helped them grow.
“You make wonderful friends, and it really is hard to leave. But then you find new ones.”
What are some of the best takeaways of the military spouse experience?
“Experience in the military was very, very good. It’s a great life. It’s a great opportunity for these young people who think, ‘I don’t think I wanted to …’ They really are missing a wonderful opportunity.”
Travel, including her time as a spouse to a civilian contractor, was a reminder for Lammons to be grateful for safety and all that others do for everyone back home.
There are many perks to being a military spouse. As we finish one of the toughest years and begin what is hopefully a much better one, this reminder brings up some of the best points we can dwell upon for ourselves and our future military spouse friends — that we can be appreciative of how much a military spouse can gain from this transient, fulfilling lifestyle.