31 January 2011

Being a Mother

Some people don't understand what it is to be a mother. Just because my pre teen daughter has an appointment with a male Dr doesn't mean I'm going to sit outside the room with the door closed. Sorry! I'm the mom and what I say goes.

I'm venting while sitting here in the room with my daughter because the receptionist through a fit. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Military Family

With each new assignment your military family grows. Wherever you go you always have those connections with you. An agent who worked previously for my husband connected with him recently and we learned that his daughter is very ill. This agent knew he could contact my husband for anything even if it's only moral support and to know that we will pray for his daughter.

We'll be hosting an OSI wives night of relaxation next month. There are 6 agents who work for my husband that are getting ready to deploy and we want to make sure their wives know that we're here for them whatever they need. We're fairly new here- about 4 months into this assignment. We want them to know that if something comes up. They can call us whenever- even if they simply need a babysitter while they get away to the commissary without the small kids climbing/running all over. We'll have manicures and pedicures compliments of a friend from church. The superintendent's wife (equivalent to a unit's First Sergent) will take care of the fun foods. I'm looking into a lead of someone who does facials.

We've been fortunate to have a great military family wherever we go. While overseas, our firstborn was born 7 weeks early. We had constant visitors and people looking out for us. We had a great boss who told my husband to take whatever time he needed to make sure his family was healthy. The hospital was about 30 minutes from our home and our preemie was in the hospital 10 days after I was released. Not once did he make my husband take leave. There were allowances for late mornings since we had to make sure our preemie was fed every 2 hours, even in the middle of the night. One of the other agent's wife took our dog out for walks when I couldn't take our baby outside (winter time) and couldn't leave him inside alone.

Even when we're far away from our own families, it's been a great comfort to know that we have an OSI family, and an even larger military family, wherever we go. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

30 January 2011

A Military Wife

A military wife is mostly girl. But there are times, such as when her husband is away and she is mowing the lawn or fixing a youngster's bike, that she begins to suspect she is also boy. 
She usually comes in three sizes: petite, plump and pregnant. During the early years of her marriage it is often hard to determine which size is her normal one. 
She has babies all over the world and measures time in terms of places as other women do in years. "It was in England that the children had the chicken pox...In was in Texas, Paul was promoted..."  At least one of her babies was born or a transfer was accomplished while she was alone. This causes her to suspect a secret pact between her husband and the military providing for a man to be overseas or on temporary duty at times such as these.
A military wife is international. She may be a Kansas farm girl, a French mademoiselle, a Japanese doll, or a German fraulein. When discussing service problems, they all speak the same language.
She can be a great actress. To heartbroken children at transfer time, she gives an Academy Award performance: "New Mexico is going to be such fun! I hear they have Indian reservations...and tarantulas...and rattlesnakes." But her heart is breaking with theirs. She wonders if this is worth the sacrifice. 
An ideal military wife has the patience of an angel, the flexibility of putty, the wisdom of a scholar and the stamina of a horse. If she dislikes money, it helps. She is sentimental, carrying her memories with her in an old footlocker. 
One might say she is a bigamist, sharing her husband with a demanding entity called "duty." When duty calls, she becomes No. 2 wife. Until she accepts this fact, her life can be miserable. 
She is above all a woman who married a man who offered her the permanency of a gypsy, the miseries of loneliness, the frustration of conformity and the security of love. Sitting among her packing boxes with squabbling children nearby, she is sometimes willing to chuck it all in until she hears the firm step and cheerful voice of the lug who gave her all this. Then she is happy to be...his military wife.

28 January 2011

Getting Out

The best thing to do when you get to a new place is to get out!  Drive around and explore the area.  Make sure you have a good map or have a good GPS.  With each move we've made it's made all the difference.  Especially if you're overseas. 

I remember moving to the middle east, being 4 months pregnant.  We arrived on a flight where smoking was allowed.  It was awful, to say the least.  The night we arrived I was exhausted but my husband's new commander insisted we stay up and took us out to eat with the rest of the unit.  I ordered what was similar to a lasagna.  My husband ordered a traditional mid eastern dish.  That night in the hotel room he was sooo sick!  I've never seen someone so sick and I cried and cried.  I was exhausted and could still smell the smoke in the clothes I hung in the closet, my time clock was way out of wack, my husband was dying in the bathroom and I couldn't get to sleep.  I guess I eventually did and woke up when my husband kissed me good bye- he had to go in to work right away.  What was I supposed to do?  I knew no one, I was in a foreign country, was afraid to eat anything for fear of getting sick like my husband.  So I slept for a little longer.

My husband did call later to tell me a colleague's  wife was coming over to pick me up and take me to lunch.  She had two aunts visiting and we would all go out and explore.  The wife came with her eccentric aunts and we had a ball!  That was such a blessing!  This wife got me out and showed me all the fun places to see and we had a great lunch.  She drove all over the city and didn't think twice about it.  I was very impressed. 

After we moved in to our flat, she introduced me to her friends- some of them embassy wives and some international spouses who lived in the city (the capital) working for their own countries.  They mostly spoke English, but there were a few who didn't but there was always someone who could help translate.  We had so much fun!  I learned to play Bridge- they had a Bridge Club that met each week.

A few of the other wives from the unit didn't get out and I learned early on they were not happy living there.  They had covers on their peep holes, made sure the curtains weren't see through, and didn't go anywhere in a taxi or in a car.  They stayed in doors and tried to make the best of it, but it was so sad to see them unhappy.

I was, and to this day, so grateful to this wife who got me out of the hotel and out exploring.  Ever since that assignment I've made sure to help others who seemed a little unsure about their own assignments.  You really have to get out and get out right away.  Exploring and traveling around is a great benefit of being a military spouse!  I love it!

27 January 2011

Mormon and Military

It wasn't until tonight that I realized how hard it is to be Mormon and Military.  My husband often works late- a new case can't be put off until morning.  But tonight, as many other nights before, he worked late and then had to take care of church stuff.  There is an older widow in our ward (congregation) who is moving into a smaller place and needs help with the actual move. Tonight after getting off work he headed straight to the church to make some phone calls to other members who might be able to help this weekend. He didn't get home until 8:30.  One child was already in bed, the eldest told him of his day while he ate, and after eating he went right in to read to the youngest before it got too late.

It was 10 when we finally had our own time, and watch an episode of Psych on Netflix.

Moving Around

Growing up as an Army brat, we moved around a lot.  I learned life lessons from moving around.  I learned a lot about nation and global communities.  I learned to make new friends with each move.  I didn't always like the leaving friends behind, but there were always great adventures that I knew were ahead.  I am a very independent person. I learned early on that things didn't happen on their own, that I made things happen.  I'm not afraid to go to strange lands or to try new things (although I keep to bottled water and chicken when we travel to far off places.)

I suppose one could argue that moving around and not being in one place very long would be a great hardship, that my kids are missing out on the life long friendships they could have, or not giving them a sense of "home" from living in the same town while growing up.

I think my kids are better off moving around from place to place.  I have three children: 14, 11, and 7.  They know no other way of life- as I did growing up.  They've spent several Spring Breaks in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and this last year traveled to the Mediterranean.  They have lived in the Middle East for 4 years (two separate 2 yr. assignments), have lived on the West Coast and the East Coast, and now again in the Mountain West.  They are seasoned travelers and are great adventurers.

I take great care when I know we're getting ready for a move.  Most times we have a bout 6 months to a year to get ready.  My children are a big part of the planning and researching.  This most recent move took us from an urban big city way of life, to a more laid back lifestyle suburban.  My husband and I made sure our kids were included when it came time to look at houses online.  We saw that most of the houses we looked at online had pools.  After being in a downtown rowhouse for 6 years, it seemed like a fun thing to try and find.  We found websites of all the schools we were looking at- looked at their afterschool activities, extra curriculars, neighborhood sports, and other activities.  We found travel books that gave us an idea of what it would be like in the new place- what was there to do outdoors, or what were some of the cultural activities they had available.

As we researched together, the kids became more and more excited about the move.  We made sure we took lots of photos of friends before we left and wrote down all the email addresses as well as the mailing addresses.   They haven't seemed to miss the old place too terribly.  The first month or so was hard when friends weren't writing letters back, but we kept them busy making new friends and exploring our new surroundings.

We haven't been here 6 months yet and the kids are already asking about the new assignment in 2-3 years.  Is that an indicator that they don't like it here or are they making sure they make the most of what they do like.

25 January 2011

Country First

One of the hardest lessons most military spouses learn is "Country first".   I watched as my mom struggled to raise seven kids with a husband who was married first and foremost to the the Army.  She learned to cope and learned to do a lot of things on her own. My dad was in the 82nd Airborne- often TDY to the Key West, out in wilderness training, or on "jumps" at all hours of the day and night. 

This upbringing was most helpful when I married an AF-OSI agent.  I learned (and honestly- am still learning) to cope with a husband who is often called away in the middle of the night, who can't tell you a thing about his day or what happened at work, and not being readily accepted by the other USAF families because they don't want my husband knowing what they're up to- often times not good things.  I've learned to disregard the secretive phone calls knowing that there are things he can't share.  I've learned to not take it personally when we can't go do what we've planned because some airman got himself in trouble downtown, or there was a suicide on base that needs his attention.

Despite all the other things, there are great things about being a military spouse.  We've lived in some amazing places (mostly in Turkey, but still amazing) and have met some truly extraordinary people.  My kids are world travelers and have a global understanding that most kids their age know nothing about.  Because of my own upbringing, moving around is second nature.  I look forward to moves and changes.  I'm better able to get out of my comfort zone and take the initiative to meet new people, make new friends, and get used to new surroundings.  I hope my kids will appreciate this when they are older.