When I resigned my commission fifteen years ago, I couldn’t wait to bid my active duty days adieu and head into the full-time Mom and writer sunset. I was proud of the nine years I’d served after graduating from the Naval Academy. My jobs in the Navy had been challenging and enjoyable, and at times felt so natural to me that I couldn’t imagine ever doing anything else.
The call to motherhood came and for me the personal choice was clear–in order to keep my marriage thriving and provide the stability level for our family that I was comfortable with, it would require me to leave the service. Maybe if my husband had been a civilian I would have chosen a different path, but he was and is still, active duty. Active duty Navy, which means months away on ships or in squadrons, all over the world.
So with heartfelt good-byes I left the US Navy to become…a Navy wife. The first year was an adjustment. No longer the active duty woman in uniform, I was relegated to the back of the line at medical, the pharmacy, and even in the commissary or exchange where doing rush hours active duty in uniform have front-of-line privileges. As they should, of course. I relished time with my toddler son and before long we were blessed with his sister. The kids gave me a sense of purpose I’d never had before.
The people who meet me now have remarked that they can’t imagine me as an active-duty officer. The people who knew me as Lieutenant Commander Krotow have a hard time believing I went from the service to stay-at-home wife and mom, and now romance novelist.
I don’t see the issue. Because to me I’ve continued to serve my country. As a vet I can say that I know my contributions mattered while in uniform, and they matter now. Even if I wasn’t married to the military, raising and guiding healthy children to contribute to the greatest nation on earth is not only just as viable but essential. From a global perspective, I’m raising two kids to whom I hope I’ve imparted a sense of self-sacrifice and healthy esteem. I hope they understand and live the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around any one individual or country–we’re all connected.
Where I learned the “we’re all connected” the most was firstly in my own home with a mother who always invited strangers to our Thanksgiving table or sent a meal to the hermit who lived across the street. Secondly, I learned it during my Plebe year at the Naval Academy.
I’m part of a special, privileged, blessed team of people who’ve served their country and indeed the world for the sake of freedom and peace. What I did to deserve this I’ll never comprehend, but I’m so grateful today. Thank all of you who’ve served and support those who serve. To the countless souls who’ve lost their lives for all of our sakes, thank you.