Upon first glance you may not see it. It may look like we’re from such different walks of life that there is no way we could find common ground. Are we identical? Absolutely not, but I can wager that we have some instant similarities just by the virtue of being “married to the military.”
You may be a military spouse if:
- You have ever gotten frustrated by your spouse’s belongings “throwing up” camo in your newly cleaned house.
- You have been awakened early in the morning by the words, “Honey, do you know where my PT belt is?”
- You are up to your eyeballs in laundry thanks to uniforms, PT clothes and civilians…and that’s just your spouse’s hamper!
- You have wanted to talk to your spouse about his or her rough day at work, but can’t due to security clearances.
- You were quickly married and are still determined to make that BIG wedding or honeymoon finally happen.
- Your spouse was away for an important milestone such as a holiday, an anniversary, birthday or even the birth of a child — of all of the above.
- You have become an efficient one-woman-show who runs a tight ship while your spouse is away.
- You have learned the art of “Hurry up and wait.”
- You accept that “hellos” and “goodbyes” are a part of your vocabulary every few years.
- You no longer stress over every up and down, but instead “believe it when you see it.”
- You know the frustration of missing a phone call and the excitement of receiving a letter.
- You have ever experienced the incredible feeling of hugging and kissing when finally reunited after time spent apart.
If any of these sound familiar — good news — it means we are all in the same boat!
Our experience as military spouses is both unique and shared — you are not alone. You are part of a collective of military spouses from different branches, of different ages, of different genders, from different corners of the world. As different as we may seem upon first glance, I guarantee that we can find common ground.
I encourage you to reach out to someone you don’t know and take a chance at making a new friend. Welcome a new neighbor. Volunteer. Take a class. Join a group. Do what you can to not get isolated and to instead, immerse yourself into our military family. Be proactive so that your time as a military spouse is one that you will eventually look back on fondly.
Only military spouses can fully understand the crazy roller coaster of military life. Find your tribe, support and celebrate one another, and make memories together, on common ground.
A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her on Twitter.
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