Hey there, Idaho mil-spouses! If you're wondering why an article like this isn't featured on an official military spouse blog or website, stay with me and we'll get there.

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For starters, let's unpack what this article isn't.

  • It's not about your service member–sorry, not sorry, brother.
  • It's not about deployment tips, tricks, or hacks.
  • It's not about surviving your first or umpteenth PCS.
  • And it's definitely not about scholarships or employment opportunities.

We can jump into those topics another day if you want.

For now, this itty bitty article–written by some chick you don't know from Eve–is about acknowledging Idaho's mil-spouse kind. Before we go on, I suppose some context is due if I expect you to take me seriously. Transparency is the Caller ID of the 2010s, ya'll. I get it.

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I'm Ryan, friend. And I'm a mil-spouse, too. Now that we're pals, forget the fact that I'm a radio personality as it's not even close to being the main event. That's all you, dear.

At 36, I've lived and traveled around the world and from coast-to-coast over the last 14 years. Sounds glamorous, but those in the know know it's not. Right?

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Along the way, I've made friends who've become family and acquaintances that've shaped my life for better or for worse. I spent the first eight years of our nine-year-old daughter's life as a solo momma, feeling my way through the adventures of first-time motherhood, and building a life in the Valley.

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I suppose it's also relevant to share that of the 14 years I've been living life in the wife lane, my husband was deployed for 11. Sharing this has nothing to do with establishing bonafides, stripes, or martyrdom. Instead, it's got everything to do with helping you understand how much I understand military life and what it demands of those hitched to the ones who don the uniform.

That's enough context for today.

This has been an article in the making for the last seven years and change that I've called Star, Idaho my home. Why? Because as much as I love the Treasure Valley, no one really sees us. Military spouses, like Idaho's military community overall, go mostly unseen except on federal holidays, when the cameras catch a homecoming arrival the airport, or when our service member is wounded or dies.

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Once you round those bases, we typically don't rate in the grand scheme of things. Is it a crime or tragedy? Certainly not. And most of us aren't bothered by it. We're not out there looking for recognition or special treatment in the slightest. Is Idaho a patriotic state? You betcha. Are there many who appreciate military families? Sure. And we're grateful for it.

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But on a granular, someone-really-gets-it-level, I just want you to know that I see you.

  • I see you trucking through your degree or your training after work when the kids are finally asleep.
  • I see you working hard to build a career that pivots at a moment's notice for the needs of name-the-branch.
  • I see you not wanting kids and feeling like an outsider because of it.
  • I see you with a baby on your hip, another in elementary, and one on the way.
  • I see you with dreams and aspirations that don't fit military life.
  • I see you trying to make a beautiful home while making ends meet on a tight budget.
  • I see you taking the high road when someone makes a crack or takes a dig at military life or yours and your spouse's relationship.
  • I see you doing the work of two parents while your service member is deployed.
  • I see you trying to find your tribe and missing the one you left behind.
  • I see you, the cherry, looking for advice, and you, the Yoda, dispensing it freely from the heart.

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I see you, friend. And because you're in the middle of it, it's nearly impossible for you to appreciate what I see in you. You're spectacular. Your story is awesome. And no matter your life's aesthetic, you're more than someone's spouse. Of course there's honor in marriage and in being a true companion to your partner. Just remember that it's equally, if not more important, to invest in yourself, your dreams, and your own happiness.

You're in my heart, Idaho mil-spouse.

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