** About two weeks ago, I read something posted anonymously on a military spouse Facebook page that really bothered me. It was from a soldier. It went on and on but I want to share with you the one part that really bothered me. “I am a soldier and I have to say I don’t know why everyone acts like being a military wife is special. You are just a wife.” I knew then that my next letter would be an open-letter reply to that statement. So here it is…….
You don’t know me. You’ve most likely never heard my voice, listened to the happiness of my laughter or seen the way my cheeks flush when I’m angry. You have no idea that spiders don’t scare me but grasshoppers do. You don’t know that I work hard every day doing a job that leaves me feeling exhausted, humbled, and hopeful. You don’t know that I’m raising boys who respect women and honor their country. You don’t know that I need help changing the car battery but not fixing the garbage disposal. You don’t know that I volunteer, donate and in general try to make the world a better place. Odds are, I could pass you on the street and you would never even notice me. And yet in your eyes, I’m nothing more than three simple words…..”just a wife”.
Maybe you’re right. Maybe I am just a wife. I do clean the house and mop the floors but can’t promise that these will be the same floors I’ll be cleaning next year, next season or even two months from now. I grocery shop but I may do it in silence because I haven’t lived here long enough to run into people I know. If I do see a friend in the cereal aisle, that probably means we’ll be PCSing soon. Just like any other wife, I tend to the garden and water the flowers. No matter how hard I try though, I cannot plant roots. Like any wife, I buy furniture for my house but I pick the sturdy, solid pieces over the irreplaceable antiques. I need something that will last through being packed up and shipped off again and again and again. Just like any wife, I know how I want my home decorated but getting that pie safe and wooden bench would bring us too close to our weight limit. Just like any other wife, I have a group of friends who I can count on. I know that in one year’s time, we’ll all be scattered around the world and I’ll once again begin the great challenge of being loved and lonely at the same time. I worry about my children choosing the right friends and when they do, I pray that they form life-long friendships even though we have to move every few years.
When my husband leaves for work, I kiss him good-bye and squeeze his hand. If I meet him for lunch though, our fingers can’t be intertwined. When he travels for work, I tell him to be safe and that I’ll miss him while he’s gone but his trips aren’t measured in days or weeks but rather months, missed holidays and sometimes even years. When work calls him away, I slip love notes in his baggage. When I see his helmet and body armour, I’m reminded how important those notes are. When he calls from far away, I ask him how he’s sleeping and about the weather. Yes, just like any other wife but you see, I only ask those things because he can’t answer questions like where he is, what he’s doing or how long he’ll be there. I take care of my home and my children while my husband is gone but I do it on months and months of little sleep. Just like any other wife, I’m nervous when he tells me to drive his truck while he is gone. I do it though but some days, that’s when I’ll cry. When he comes home, I’ll be excitedly waiting at the airport….just like any other wife except I’ll be the one waving a flag and kissing a hero.
So maybe you’re right, maybe I am just a wife. But then again, maybe I’m right and you’re just a damn fool.
An Angry Military Wife