I had been a military spouse for two years when I found myself standing in front of a large group of anxious, relatively young military spouses. At twenty-eight, I had the “dating long-distance, married in the type of Quick, he’s deploying, how can I plan a large-ish wedding with all my family and friends who are scattered across the United States in 90 days? moving cross country twice in as many months” kind of life.
And, though my head was still spinning from the relative upheaval of the past two and a half years, there I stood in an auditorium with terrible lighting, a dress I totally regretted wearing, a bunch of high ranking military spouse wives, some very impressively dressed officers and a whole lot of scared out of their minds, what the heck is happening, young milspouses.
AND I WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE THEM FEEL BETTER, CALMER, EXCITED (even?) about the journey they’d be taking in the future.
Noticing my trepidation, one spouse handed me a booklet and encouraged me to pass them out to the new spouses. This booklet was intended to inform them about life they’d be embarking upon and was filled with a variety of helpful hints, traditions, etc.
I flipped through it, humming the Marine Corps hymn in my head when I realized that at least a good third of the book was dedicated to calling cards, cooking the proper meal and the perfect attire to wear to the Lt. Col’s luau. If they were anything like me, this might absolutely terrify them and send them into an anxiety shame spiral. A calling card? I could barely boil water without burning the pot, every luau I’d attended was in college and I was fairly certain that what I wore there wasn’t appropriate to wear to a military function.
I contemplated shoving the booklets in my mouth, but didn’t think the uniformed men and women nearby would approve. So, I handed them out.
Needless to say, I’ve learned quite a bit more about being a military spouse through the years- many of which aren’t spelled out for you in booklets. I’ll let you in on a secret: I still can’t cook a Cornish Game Hen and I don’t have a calling card (I do have a cell phone with mad texting capabilities). However, there are the things new military spouses SHOULD know: navigating TriCare, finding the right childcare, educational opportunities, support groups, etc…but, here are other things (personal things) that might also prepare you for journey.