16 July 2009

Thank You

Growing up in a Navy town, and being raised by a retired Army officer, I always figured I'd end up married to somebody in the military. It just seemed logical, familiar, the usual path followed by a lot of girls I knew. I came close -- there was a certain Navy chief I dated for a while, but it ended, and in retrospect, it would've been disastrous. Not just because he his career was all he really cared about, or because he drank a little too hard and a little too often, or even because he was totally emotionally unavailable. But because I don't think I could've cut it as a military spouse.

I read a few military spouse blogs here on Ye Olde Internet, and it's amazing how much these ladies can handle. Dealing with moving halfway across the country, selling a house, raising kids...all these things seem pretty run-of-the-mill, until you imagine doing it with your spouse half a world away, stuck someplace where you can only be on the phone a few minutes at a time, someplace with little or no internet access. Also imagine that you have to watch the news every night and see not just god-awful, terrifying images of violence just about where you think your spouse might be, but also footage of idiotic talking heads who're trying to convince everyone that the war is magically over. And you have to take all that in, and lie alone with it in bed, and try not to fall apart.

And sometimes, it's not even that dramatic. Sometimes, like my friend Mike, it's just a matter of leaving a job you love when your wife gets orders to someplace in the middle of nowhere. Having to make new friends, a new start, not just in another town but in a different country. Being man enough to love and support his wife and her career, no matter what. Raising his daughter in a strange land. Damn. Instead of whining and crying and pissing and moaning, he made friends, got a job, and got (another) new hobby. Mike's taken a big ol' tub of lemons, and made lemonade (or lemonade stout, since he's now a home brew-meister). 

I sure as hell couldn't do it. I'm a tough cookie, but I can hardly get through a single day without calling Charlie to ask him a question, make a joke, or just say hi. What would I do if he wasn't here to rescue my dying Mac, get the waffle maker down off the high shelf in the pantry, replace the leaking faucet that I tried (and failed) to fix myself? What would it be like to have to crawl into bed a night knowing that he's not just snoozing downstairs on the couch, that he won't be there with me for months? And how 'bout getting dropped onto a tiny island in the Pacific, where I know no one, nothing? Uhhh...yeah. Y'all think I tweet and blog and Facebook it a lot NOW?

The spouses, the families, they're the real support structure of our military. And they really don't get enough credit, or help, or hugs, or applause. Except right here, right now, from me. I admire you all. I applaud you all. I give you my deepest thanks for supporting our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, so they can do their jobs and come home safely.

1 comment:

  1. Simply said, Thank you.

    Thanks for recognizing all of these shenanigans, for recognizing all of the amazing spouses out there, and for saying thanks.

    And just so you know, you could totally hack it as a MilSpouse. And you would do it with humor, grace and style!