A day that started with:
I met my friend’s brand new baby boy, born last week. He cuddled in my arms, it was love at first sight, really.
Then, I made my best friend’s recipe for brownies.
What is it about holding a baby and eating brownies that just makes the day amazing?
Let’s talk PCS.
PCS refers to a change in station. The husband and I are gearing up to PCS (note that this is also a verb, ahh, got to love abbreviations) to Germany.
We met today with a rep. from the Family Readiness Center. The FRC is a place that looks after the details involving the lifestyle of military members and families. It is the place I have gone to the most on our base, since you can get employment information, deployment briefings (haven’t had to use this one yet since we’re new to the Air Force life), counseling, education information and anything else you need. Truly, it’s the best resource on base for a spouse.
Let me sing the praises of the PCS. Do you think I’m joking? I’m serious, moving is very exciting. Sure, it really is unpleasant to say goodbye to friends. I find that saying goodbye is hard in person without wanting to cry. Saying goodbye to your job, school or other work/education related thing is hard too. I was in school until last December and it was sad to have an end to that, especially since I was not able to finish my chosen second Bachelors degree (more on that in another post).
The crux is, though, that being married to someone in the military brings a sense of adventure I’ve never experienced before. We’re going to embark on a new journey in over a month, and despite all of the sacrifices we’ve both made, it will be the experience of a lifetime.
When I became an Air Force wife, it was a shock to the system. The husband and I had been married for a year when he carefully mentioned his deep desire to serve in the military. We were living in natural foods focused, liberal college town, Prius driving era central NC. I used to walk to the co-op for fruits and veggies. I saw Obama speak publicly on the UNC campus back in ’08.
Many people asked me if I was planning on being a military wife. When I say no, it was a process, and it was something I did because I wanted my husband to be happy. What I didn’t realize was how much this decision would shape my life. Now I understand why I was asked this question.
Many women I have met here on base seem to have been drawn in by the romance of military wifery, with images of 1940s era WWII nostalgia.
Clearly, there are misconceptions about what it looks like to be a military wife that exist out there in America. The biggest misconception I had was that I needed to throw aside my quirks and liberalness to become Laura Bush, dressed in a pantsuit. The stereotype of the military wife as being a silent extension of American conservative values is just not the case.
In my time here on base, I’ve met women from all walks of life. One is an artist, writer, who has spent her husband’s deployment living in the mountains in a cottage on an artist retreat, another is a European woman with a high pressure job in reproductive rights for women around the world, and the list continues. The wives here are tough, individualists who manage to create their own happiness during stretches of loneliness and anxiety over their husbands’ well-being.
When I first became an Air Force wife, I had no idea of the strength I would witness, the role models I would find in the woman next door. I had no idea how much I would be shaped from a girl to a woman in a few years.
Life as an Air Force wife entails endless nights of Apples to Apples, drunk husbands and casseroles. Friends throw dinner parties, borrowing folding chairs and tables, guests bring favorite Dutch beer, Jack Daniels with Coke and a 9 by 13 to make the peach dump cake in.
It’s a flurry of socializing, alcohol and fast friendships. I’ve known my friend T for only 6 months and now we’re almost soul sisters. K and I, knowing each other almost a year, are practically relatives. We spent Thanksgiving together when my husband was out on a rough stint training for 5 weeks during the holidays. I knew she was pregnant before she told her mother. We’re bonded for life, we share our struggles, we whine, we drink coffee, and we down cupcakes and quick breads during our four hour affair we call “coffee.”
Oprah did a talk show recently about the silent heroes of America. These are military families, struggling to hold everything together while husbands or wives in uniform are deployed, on TDY or just doing the j-o-b. The gist of the show was that regular Americans aren’t aware of the struggles of the American military family.
This blog sets out to illustrate the commonality that military families have with all of you, the rest of America. We just do what we have to do to get by.
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