Sunday, July 22, 2012

on being an "army wife"

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about being an “Army wife”.
Before we moved out here, when we still lived in our sweet California I didn’t know there were different kind of Army wives. I was one then I guess but I didn’t think about it, we simply lived our lives and occasionally husband would leave for a weekend. And then January hit and he left for the next phase, the real deal. It was different then. I felt different than those around me. My dear friends who saw my pain tried desperately to relate to the absence of not having a husband around. They tried to make me feel better by saying I was stronger, different, and they didn’t know how I could do it. While it helped a lot I mostly felt isolated, like an exotic animal in a local petting zoo. Fortunately I knew a few other exotic animals stuck in petting zoos across America who knew exactly what I was going through. Thank God for them.  Even still I didn’t think of myself as an Army wife I was simply married to a man in the Military and trying to get through one day at a time until we were together again.
Now we are here, living in the humidity of the South, a mere 30 minutes from all things Military. The longer I am here the more I realize the way one reacts to the absence of husband, the way in which you handle the crazy schedule, apparently decides what type of Army wife you are. My good friend who is one of the few who understands this life told me it would be different out here, but I didn’t really realize how much so until we got here.
I when we first got here we went to a BBQ with some of husband's buddies and their families. While the boys were out back "grilling the meat" aka talking and drinking, I began commiserating with one wife about the boy's training.  Excited to meet someone else who knew what I was going through I asked her a few questions about what her husband was currently doing. “Honey I don’t know anything about whatever he does while he’s gone! I’m not that kind of wife”. I was stunned. Not that kind of wife? What kind of wife? Is that bad? Am I that kind of wife? These are the questions I have been pondering and here is what I’ve concluded…
When my husband and I were first dating he use to tease me about being a fashion nerd. When we went shopping he would smile and nod when I would examine style lines in clothes or explained how an inverted pleat would be nicer than a regular pleat in the dress I was trying on.  Now the tables are turned. When we go shopping he may say “Oh that’s a nice jacket. But wait…”, looking at fabric content, “it’s just a wool BLEND?! Come on!”. He knows how a natural waistline differs from a drop waistline and why I don’t like wearing the latter. He has nerdy conversations with me in J. Crew about how an inset shoulder makes my broad shoulders look smaller than a raglan sleeve would. In short he is interested in what I do because he loves me, because he supports me. My husband doesn’t want to be a clothing designer, he can barely sew on a button to save his life, but he still cares about what I do. After being here for [gulp] a month already I’ve decided it’s ok if I do the same. Maybe some people do think it’s “pathetic” that I know the next class he’ll go to next, they might it’s “clingy” that I know how to sew on his unit patches and where they go. I’m not even going to admit how many times I’ve watched certain Army documentaries with him. But that is what we do. We support each other. I don’t want to be in the Military, but I obviously support those who chose to take that road. I am not in the Army. I don’t do “the hardest job in the Military” by supporting my husband in his job. I am simply a wife who loves her husband and wants to support his choices in this crazy life he lead. And for now I suppose those choices officially make me an Army wife. I am AWS [Army Wife Strong] just as much as he is ADHS [Apparel Design Husband Strong].
Sounds good to me.