I’m pretty sure you don’t know me although you’re probably convinced that you do. You’ve seen me (or someone like me) on the news, in the paper or on a Lifetime tv show. You might have witnessed our tearful airport good-bye or clapped at our reunion. You might spot me by my bumper sticker, license plate or “Red T-shirt on Friday”. It might be my accent or longing for Dunkin Donuts that gives away the fact that I’m not from around here. Another military wife.
I’m not just another military wife though. Actually, none of us are. There are things you don’t know about us. Things that you can’t see in twenty seconds on the news or find in a front page photo. There are things that are hidden in the tearful goodbyes and forgotten in the sweet hellos. I am more than a bumper sticker, a red t-shirt, a northeast accent and a longing for good coffee. We all are and really, I just want you to see that.
We are called the silent ranks but it’s never said why we are silent. I’m here to tell you it’s because we are waiting. We are holding our breath. It’s easy to be silent when you’re afraid to exhale. We wait…on letters, phone calls, emails and homecomings. But there’s more. We wait on training schedules, new commanders, duty rosters and dates for the field. We wait for leave approval and four-day weekends. We wait for dinner or else someone has to eat it cold. We wait for orders, Transportation, dates, and housing. We sometimes have to wait on Christmas, birthday and anniversary celebrations. We wait for phone calls that will always come at the worst possible moments and require you to give up a perfectly wonderful Saturday evening. We wait to see what last-minute changes will happen because we all know there will be some. We wait on life filled with uncertainty. We don’t usually see it that way though. To us, we are loving a soldier and couldn’t imagine life any other way.
Next time you see me, or someone just like me, notice me. And softly remind me to stop holding my breath. It might be the first time I’ve remembered to exhale all day.
Letters by Jenn Pineo