Unexpected Roles

I never imagined that I’d be the wife of a soldier.

Or the mother of seven (soon-to-be-eight!) children.

I didn’t know homeschooling was even a real thing.

I never thought I’d know how to milk a cow or take a chicken from the coop and have it on the table in under three hours.

And becoming a Catholic?  Not a chance!

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, opportunities taken up or passed by that forever change the course of our lives.

I’ve never regretted the roles I’ve taken up.  They’ve made me the woman I am.  Indeed, I’m shocked when anyone suggests that what I’m doing is extraordinary.  It’s not; it’s just my life.  My life: chosen and embraced, right down to the very smallest acts.

So I was a little bit surprised the other day when Davey came home from his first appointment with the VA.

“She asked me if I did my own shopping or if you did it for me,” he said.  “I told her, “Nope.  I don’t buy a thing.  Jen does it all.”

“You’re supposed to do your own shopping?” I asked. “But I’m the one going to the store!  It seemed only natural to ask you if you needed anything while I was out.”

“Well, she wrote it in her notes.  And she gave me this brochure for you.”  VA Caregiver Support.  Hm.

Did you know your man is supposed to buy his own underpants?  I had no idea!  Nor that doing it for him elevated me to caregiver status.  I thought we’d have to get way more down-and-dirty before I took on that title.

Now I wonder what else he’s supposed to be doing for himself.  Pouring his own coffee?  Finding his own keys?  My whole world, everything I thought I knew to be right and true, is unraveling before my very eyes.  I hope the VA doesn’t leave me hanging like this for long.

But in the meantime, just add that to my list of titles: Catholic, Wife, Mother, Teacher, Farmer, Business Manager, Homemaker, and Caregiver.  What the heck.  I had a little free time on my hands anyway.

9 thoughts on “Unexpected Roles

  1. Barbara says:

    So you are supposed to be buying or not? The only thing my husband shops for are his shoes and ties, and only because he likes shoes and ties. If I sent him to the store with a list, it would be miraculous if he came home with the right stuff. And he’s s pretty capable guy — just not domestically. I can’t imagine why anyone would expect a husband with a wife at home to not do those things, unless our culture has changed that much. I hope not. I love our separate roles. And you ARE amazing! Don’t shortchange yourself!

    • Jennie Cooper says:

      No idea. We’re applying for a VA caregiver benefit, and I can think of enough genuine issues he has that require my assistance that we don’t have to worry about the shopping. 🙂 We’ll see what the VA says, though, when they follow up. Apparently, this is one of the few things they move quickly on. Disability rating? Could take years. Caregiver support? Done in a matter of weeks. I hear they can make arrangements to modify the home environment to better manage his physical issues, as well. This might be one of the few truly beneficial programs they offer. As for selling myself short, we often just do what needs to be done without trying to get credit or acknowledgement, and I’ve been really trying to think through what I do for him with regards to his physical limitations and his PTSD/TBI diagnosis. And you know what? It’s a lot! I’m going to go ahead and take that caregiver title. It kind of rolls right in with the Wife one, but I will refrain from modesty on this one. 🙂

  2. Susanna says:

    You’d hinted at the PTSD, but I hadn’t heard of the TBI part till now. I’m sorry to hear about that.

  3. Beckie R. says:

    That is pretty funny…. I do all of the shopping as well, so it only makes sense to get the stuff he needs while I’m out. I’m pretty sure that most families do this. Quite honestly, since I’m the one who’s out most of the time shopping, I wouldn’t trust him not to overpay for some of the things he needs and for which I know the prices. I never send him grocery shopping…that’s a recipe for financial disaster!

    love you lots!

  4. Michelle Reitemeyer says:

    Funny…I did have my husband go to the commissary yesterday after work – bacon and bratwurst are half the price over there and it’s 20 miles away, so I don’t go, but he passes it to get home. But I always keep those lists short and specific and discourage him wandering up and down aisles. My friend, though, has her husband do almost all the grocery shopping. Costs more, but she feels it’s worth it so she doesn’t have to go.

    Woohoo on the caregiver support. Sometimes I’ve seen services offered: massages or pedicures. For your free time. Did the army not do a diagnostic before he retired…or is this all a result of that? Hate to think about the years of suffering that could have been mitigated if the army truly had a culture where medical help was encouraged.

    • Jennie Cooper says:

      He was diagnosed long before retirement but did not or was not able to get the help he needs. It’s a story for another day, but I was so angry when I finally made all the connections and figured out why we were all so miserable.

      I only go to commissary once a month, and I didn’t even know it was closed till it opened again. 🙂 Looking forward to losing missing next month’s paycheck, too. How about you?

      • Michelle Reitemeyer says:

        it’s never wise for a government to not pay its soldiers…historically, that tends to not work out too well. At least I know we will eventually get paid. I have several friends who are GS and furloughed and will not get paid for this “vacation.”

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