My Military Family: The Island of Misfit Toys

The military- as stated by many people- is an entirely new family for anyone who joins. The military is a family of broken families; a family of lonely spouses, mix-matched loves, and an international bond that can’t be broken from distance. The military is far more than just people coming together for a greater good. No, the military is a home for those who don’t have a home.

“Family don’t end in blood.” -Bobby Singer.

multicolored abstract painting

I was never a popular person in school and was often the butt of jokes for being different. It led me to learn to hate myself, inside and out. I’ve never felt completely accepted by a group of people as I have since finding my place among the military wives. You see, we’re all a bunch of misfits. We’re people from all over the world who can say that they all have at least one thing in common- being alone. Speaking for the wives, I can say with absolute certainty that because we come from all cultures, backgrounds, races, religions, upbringings, family life, and social class, we are bonded in a way that no other group of people could ever be.

woman in pink dress shirt riding on brown horse

I thought I found my family in the horse industry; to an extent I did. We shared the common goal of having quality horses and being quality horsemen. But the goals of being a quality person were never there. So to suddenly find myself thrust into a community where I feel loved and accepted by everyone I have met so far is an astounding revelation. The fact that we come from all backgrounds makes it so easy to talk with people (coming from a person with crippling anxiety about general life) and find more common ground. And even if there’s nothing other than being a military wife connecting you to the next person, it’s such an amazing friendship that I can tell will last a lifetime. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my horse family. They’re family too, but they have a much simpler life.

A quick tidbit from today- 26 Feb, 2019. I was over at Micah’s house with Candice and Adalita, and all of their kiddos (it was Micah’s son’s birthday, and mine was the following day). I was watching Adalita with her adorable daughter who is just a few months old. I said, “Adalita, I’m not usually a fan of kids, but your daughter is pretty adorable.” She agreed, adding on her own compliments to her youngest. Candice then turned to me and asked if I wanted kids of my own.

“Not for a few years,” I replied to her. Then, something amazing happened. She gave me this… this knowing smile and said, “Erika, it’s ok if you don’t want kids. It’s a completely normal thing.” I have never had validation for the fact that I don’t want kids. I want kids for my husband because I know that Adam will be a great father, but I’ve never been fond of them. So to hear a woman, who has two children of her own, tell me that it’s ok to not want to bring life into this world? Candice, if you’re reading this, you will forever be in my heart as the one person to tell me that it’s ok to be different.

photo of person holding polaroid

I just wanted to tell the world that a family in the military is a family worth keeping. We all stand by one another since we’re all in the same boat. Here’s another little anecdote for you as I sign off on this post. “Blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”

We are family. We are in this together, good and the bad, because we are what we have. Our blood-born families are far away, so we make our new families with those around us. We may be on an island of misfit toys, but it’s ok, because we’re misfits together.

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