Some of them, I know I will have for life.
Some of them only lasted the length of one deployment.
Each of them, I valued for what they were and are.
There is nothing else like them.
My heart bent today. Shattered. And splintered. It had nothing to do with my husband. Nothing to do with a deployment, separation, training or school. But, it had everything to do with the Army.
I consider myself congruent with this lifestyle. I love to move. Travel. And I rarely get attached to any place, home, or person. I enjoy new views. Different homes. Redecorating and rearranging our lives. Each new home, each new back door provides a reason to reinvent myself. It gives me a chance to continue to see myself in new ways. To improve past mistakes. To search for forgiveness. To find a reason to cling to my family.
But today, I would trade it all for a chance to hold on to a friend. I didn’t know her long. In fact, I only spoke with her about four times. But the genius of this lifestyle, the part I claim to love and adore, is that you need only a moment to see your pain, your love, your family, your heart, reflected in the eyes of another military wife.
She knew my pain. My separation. My fears of motherhood, and my worries that I will never be good enough. Never a good enough wife, mother, or person. And she recognized in me the need to see it in another’s heart.
She had just finished a deployment. As we all have finished or face one. And she knew my pain without ever having explained it. She was me. And I her.
And I told her goodbye today. Even though everything in my body wanted to revolt against it. I wanted more. A chance to form a bond that couldn’t be severed. A chance to watch our children play. To see our families grow, change, and remain cemented in each other’s hearts.
Today, I still love this lifestyle, even though watching her leave hurt more deeply than I could have imagined. Simply because I can’t imagine never knowing the need to grasp friendships so quickly. Strongly. And vividly.
To each military wife out there, I salute you. Need you. Feel your arms and hearts. And I love you. There are none stronger. Nor more bonded.
As military spouses we are thrown into unexpected relationships all the time. We are faced with people that in the lives that we had before we would have never even come across, and we are better for it. We make friends easily and we leave them easily. Or they leave us. Sometimes we have a few years with one another and sometimes just a few brief moments and we cherish both. Each time we are faced with a new deployment or a new PCS, we bargain. We ask for a nice home, a good unit, for our husbands not to deploy. At least for a while. We also ask for good friends and no drama.
We get what we get, and the fact of the matter is we all always offer up anything for a little easier time. For something that will relieve the stress. We would trade a nice duty station for a neighbor that becomes our life line. We would trade our whole lives for our soldiers to be able to watch their children grow in person. Bargaining allows us to try and have some control over the uncontrollable. We try to be perfect, we try to offer up behavior and bad habits, and maybe, just maybe it will be enough and we will catch a break. We want some control and sometimes we get it, but most of the time we just make it work.
As I am getting ready for another PCS I find myself wishing I could bring my neighborhood. I would offer up almost anything for these ladies. We have been through two deployments together. We play Bunco once a month and sometimes go out for margarita Wednesdays. We don’t talk about the hardships. We don’t console each other. We just get through it knowing that we are not alone. We take out each other’s trash cans if we see that someone forgot. We watch pets for each other when our husbands come home on EML. We yell at each other’s kids, and we steal whatever husband is around to help us with something that is just a boy job. Because we can.
Our spouses do not really even know one another very well but they do know that we are surrounded by people that will take care of anything that needs to be done. And that puts their minds at ease a little. We might not ask for the help but we know that it is there when or if we need it. Military wives are special. They may be as different as night and day, but to be in our club you just need to be married to a soldier. That is more than enough hazing. So, know whatever you bargained for, you will make it through with whatever you get.