As a new military spouse, all of the things my husband did were exciting. From the alarm clock blaring at 4:30 am to the sound of retreat in the evening—I drank it all in. Everything was an adventure, everything was fun. And then reality set in.

After a few years, I started ignoring the alarm clock and the early morning phone calls. I rolled with the schedule changes and the late nights. I learned the difference between a four-in-hand and a bow tie, and which was worn when. I slowly morphed into “that Army wife” who knew what was going on without being told.

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As we approach the coveted 20-year mark, I’ve thought about the things I’m going to miss about this military life. The people, of course, will be the hardest part. I know we’ll maintain some of those connections and let others lapse—just like we do each time we move. But there’s more.

To help us keep the laughter in our lives as we start looking down the road to retirement (or just leaving the military in general) we compiled a list of the things we’ll miss when our spouses are no longer in the military. Some, of course, we’ll miss less than others.

Things Well Kind Of Miss About The Military

21 Things We’ll (Kinda? Maybe?) Miss When Leaving the Military

The sound of Velcro before dawn.

Being told he’ll be home in 30 minutes to actually have him walk in the door two hours later because “he got held up.”

The panic that sets in when the alarm doesn’t go off and you ask, “What time do you have to be at work?”

Keeping up with the tiny plastic ruler and tiny scissors so he can get his uniforms in order.

Being rudely awakened at 0515 to help search for the yellow PT belt, even though the orange one is on the closet floor and the blue one is the hall closet.

Things Well Kind Of Miss About The Military

Always knowing that where you are is just temporary and, in a few years, you will have to start all over again.

The drama on the spouses’ page when school is or isn’t canceled because of weather that does/does not exist.

Mandatory fun.

Those pesky PCS stickers adorning everything you own.

All the paperwork.

“I’ll be home soon,” or “Today should be a shorter day,” being code for “see you after the kids are in bed!”. Accuracy level 10/10.

Those boots.

Great photo opportunities when they’re in their “fancy” uniform.

Things Well Kind Of Miss About The Military

Cleaning up after he leaves for deployment to have him return 6+ months later and ask where that one thing was that he left on the couch.

And the, “Remember when I said yesterday that I was off this weekend and we got a babysitter and made those reservations? Yeahhhh, not anymore.”

Hearing “Does this look right?” when putting a dress uniform together. 
No, really. Am I supposed to know?

I will miss the balls…we don’t go to many, but I do enjoy them, and I don’t think he will want to go once it’s not pseudo-mandatory.

Eating dinner in the office on Saturday night so the kids can see their dad. While Privates wander in and out asking ridiculous questions.

Cake! Promotion cake, cake at the ball, cake at the change of command. Cake! (Ok, we’ll actually miss this one when leaving the military.)

Things Well Kind Of Miss About The Military

Being told where to live—It’s an adventure and we get to redecorate every few years!

Not being able to say, “Oh sorry, we can’t do XYZ. He has a work function.”

Yes, the military lifestyle has brought us amazing things. Some of us have lived overseas, some of us in Hawaii. We’ve made fantastic friends and taught our children resiliency. We’ve said goodbye to our loves and welcomed them home with open arms. And on the last page of the last chapter, whether that’s at year 4, 12, 20, or 30, we’re going to actually miss some of the crazier parts of military life. What are you going to miss most about leaving the military?  

Check out 5 Meaningful Military Retirement Gifts

Things Well Kinda Miss When Leaving The Military


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Photo Credit: Rebecca Alwine

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