Over the years, outstanding military spouses have been a source of strength and inspiration to me and my family through the ups and downs of military life. I have made it my mission to share these exceptional human beings with you, along with the invaluable wisdom they have to offer. I believe our stories can make a difference in the lives of others, and it is my hope that you will be inspired by them, too.
Without further adieu, meet this month’s Resilient Military Spouse, Stacy Roman – Air Force spouse, mom, writer and self-proclaimed sassypants. I have had the privilege of working with her since February 2016, and she has blown me away with her commitment to the military community, positive outlook on life and fierce love of family. Plus, she has a rad sense of humor, which makes our time together in the office lots of fun.
Hi, Stacy! Thank you so much for being open and willing to sharing your story with us! Will you tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience as a military spouse? Where are you from?
I originally hail from Dixon, California — a tiny town between Sacramento and San Francisco.
What was your childhood like?
I have an older brother and my parents have been married for almost 43 years (they were high school sweethearts). I grew up in California and was surrounded by my extended family. I was a latch-key kid and my relationship with my brother is rocky at best. I do have a good relationship with my parents though.
When and where did you meet your spouse? When did you get married?
I met Mark at freshman orientation for college. We were in the same group. We met on June 22, 1996 and were married on Dec. 30, 2000.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
2 kiddos, Gavin is 14 and Lauren is almost 11.
Why did your spouse make the decision to serve in the military?
We kind of ran out of options. We craved stability, but the job prospects in California at the time were terrible. Incidentally, we got married before he made the choice to join. He grew up an Air Force brat, so he had some knowledge of the lifestyle before jumping in.
How long has your spouse been in the service?
Almost 16 years. He went to OTS (Officer Training School) on July 5, 2001.
Where have you lived?
San Antonio, TX (Randolph AFB); Okinawa, Japan (Kadena AB); Bossier City, LA (Barksdale AFB); Honolulu, HI (Camp Smith); Lansing, KS (Ft. Leavenworth) and Ramstein, Germany (Kapaun AS).
What has been your favorite duty station and why?
Surprisingly, it’s hard for me to choose just one. Obviously, Hawaii was awesome. My husband’s family (mom, dad, aunt, uncle and grandmother) lives there, and his older brother ended up getting stationed there at the same time we were there. It was pretty cool. We also loved Kansas. It was beautiful, the people are super friendly and Kansas City has an awesome vibe to it. Germany has been fantastic for travel and job opportunities. 🙂
What has it been like raising children in military life?
Honestly, it’s hard, but I think military kids are some of the most amazing children I’ve ever met in my life. I have one kiddo that has been super resilient and rolls with the punches. He looks for the good in each place we live and makes the best of the situation. The other one is much more of a homebody and has a hard time adjusting. Funny enough, she’s much more social and has an easier time making friends. We’re very honest with them. When we know something, so do they. We encourage them to tell us their feelings, even when it’s not what we want to hear. It validates their opinions and often times, we feel the same way. We try to keep at least one constant in our household to try and make each place feel safe and like home. If it ever becomes too much, we know there are resources to help us, and if all else fails, Mark can pull the eject button and separate.
How do you overcome the challenges of military life every day? Do any specific habits or daily rituals help you?
After being a milspouse for almost 16 years, it’s hard for me to think in terms of military life and non-military life. I tend to think of it in more general terms of just life. I only realize that this life isn’t ordinary when it gets pointed out to me. I still keep in contact with a lot of friends that knew me/us before the military, so I think in a way, that helps keep us grounded. Being a military spouse is just one of the many hats I own. I’m a wife, a mom, an employee, a friend, but most of all, I’m me. I also remind myself that this isn’t permanent. Although this chapter of our life is one of the main ones, it isn’t our ending.
How do you communicate with your spouse while he is away?
We send nightly emails talking about our day, we text and sometimes we Facetime. We tend to find Facetime more annoying than anything. LOL
How have you worked to strengthen your marriage over the years in the midst of stressful events like relocation and separations?
We talk. Every night before we go to bed, we check in with each other. We don’t one up each other … if we’ve both had really crappy days, neither one of us had a worse day than the other. The first five years were the hardest — mainly because I didn’t understand that the military is bigger than me and bigger than us. He’s a part of something amazing, and I needed to stop and take a step back to see the bigger picture. This may sound a little crass, but after the first few years, I likened the Air Force to a jealous mistress. Sometimes she has to have more attention than I do. Hahaha! Honestly though, I think communication is key. Acknowledging each other and remembering that the military will go, the kids will go, and when they’ve gone, he/she will be left by your side. I support him fully, and he supports me just as much.
Looking back, what has been the hardest part of military life for you and your family?
I think the hardest is missing events back home … especially when you have a close extended family. Having to decline invitations, missing graduations, wedding and funerals really sucks. My family has a hard time understanding why we can’t get stationed close to home and why we always tend to end up so far away. We don’t do it on purpose; it’s just where the Air Force happens to send us.
What has been your favorite part? Feel free to share specific memories!
My favorite part has been meeting fantastic people that I probably never would have had the chance to meet otherwise. I wouldn’t have met awesome you!! I love that I have been able to see and do things that I had only been able to dream about as a child, and that we’ve been able to impart these experience to our kiddos. When they learn about the Berlin Wall, they can raise their hands and say they’ve seen it and touched it … where it stood.
What advice would you give to today’s young military spouses?
I would tell them to hang in there. It can be a tough life, but it can also be a very beautiful and full life. There is something good in every assignment, even if you have to dig a little to find it. Keep your sense of humor. You will find yourself in insane situations where you’ll either want to laugh or cry. Laugh. This moment will pass, and you’ll make it through. You are stronger and more capable than you know, and you are part of an amazing community. This life is an adventure waiting to happen. Buckle up and enjoy it. It truly goes by faster than you think.
Do you have a favorite motto, Bible verse, or inspirational quote, etc. that applies to your experience of life as a resilient military spouse?
I have two quotes from musicians … kind of cheesy, but applicable:
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Semisonic
“Only rainbows after rain, the sun will always come again.” – Andy Grammar