The Navy and Traditions

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As you all know I am on maternity leave from my blog right now, and so I have set up some awesome guest blog posts for you to read! Today’s scheduled post and guest blogger is: Meaghan @Marrying the Navy. Meaghan is a military wife who blogs about her life being married to a Navy guy among other things! Hope you check out her blog after reading her post!

I have come to a conclusion about the Navy. I came to it as I was reflecting on my birthday this year, and our Easter celebration with the Midgets. To preface, I’m a big fan of traditions. And routines. And schedules.

My conclusion about the Navy is that it does not allow for traditions. Or routines. Or schedules.

For the past several years, NavyGuy and I have done different things each year for my birthday, for Easter, for Christmas, Halloween – basically for almost every special occasion. For most of my life growing up, each holiday or special occasion was a collection of rituals and familiarity; ham at Christmas, the kids’ table, search for your Easter basket, don’t tell your sister when you find hers, ho-ho cake for birthdays, Labor Day cookout at the camper, Uncle D plays Santa and hands out the gifts at Christmas, green jello pineapple rings, family.

Now every holiday and occasion is different. And that isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just non-traditional. As a Navy family, we don’t have a regular weekday schedule. There is no such thing as a daily routine. I suspect it’s because the Navy is built on traditions and routines and schedules; the beast that is the Navy doesn’t leave room for individuals to establish anything that resembles patterns or schedules in their own lives. NavyGuy will be deployed for the next Thanksgiving. Who knows if we’ll be able to establish any kind of tradition for how we celebrate our wedding anniversary. Maybe he’ll be here for my birthday next year.

Deployment cycles are always changing, so NavyGuy could be around for a holiday one year, and not the next. Some occasions we may celebrate with the same people, but more than likely, we’ll be living somewhere else and surrounded by a completely new squadron and new friends. Traditions and routines and schedules and planning are no match for the Navy; it will win every time.

Which could really put me in a foul mood if I dwell on it. However, even though I’m going to have to accept that routines and traditions are going to be few and far between for the foreseeable future, the Navy does allow for one important thing: memories. I won’t always be spending holidays with the same people or doing the same thing to mark my birthday, but I can make sure there are memories.

Fellow Navy/Military spouses – do you agree? How have you dealt with this feature of Navy/Military life? (Or are you less concerned with tradition and routines?)


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  1. I'm a naive idealist. I agree and disagree. The Navy does mess with traditions, but gives you new ones if you're open to them. For the past three years my husband has spent his birthday out in the big blue ocean. Our tradition has become celebrating early with all the same fanfare. I drove Thanksgiving dinner over to the Newport News shipyard two Thanksgivings ago.

    We definitely have a daily routine and pancakes every Sunday. This is only interrupted if he has duty. Our motto: "You signed up for this." I sure don't complain about the navy ruining our traditions on the first or fifteenth of the month.

    It takes a hard woman to live the lifestyle of changing and adapting to new traditions. Traditionally, there is a cookie bouquet awaiting him when he gets home from being out. Traditionally, I send him a letter for everyday he is gone.

    We have two wedding anniversaries thanks to the United States Navy. We take weekends together instead of weeklong vacations.

    You just have to bend with the "beast" and not bite the hand that feeds you.

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