Sometimes I truly wish that after my wedding, I received a textbook detailing what it is to be married, especially to someone enlisted. I would love to say that I was naïve back then, but have now learned all that it means to be a military spouse. Or a spouse in general, actually.
I am, quite possibly, the world’s worst military wife. I have no idea what I’m doing at military functions, can barely keep ranks straight, and only just now have my “sponsor’s” social security number memorized.
I’m still new at the spouse thing, which is made obvious at least twice a day. I do hope that one day my husband and I can look back on these days and laugh. There’s a lot of laughing now, but it is usually attached to me putting my foot in my mouth or nearly knocking over my husband’s lieutenant.
My brain is still trying to mentally block out that one.
Of course, there is no winning of any bad spouse titles without some awful housewife tales to go along with it. I have spoken before of my misadventures with German washing machines and language barriers, but there is no excusing my horrible first attempts at cooking.
To make a long story short, it involves a mistake in Fahrenheit-Celsius conversion and not realizing that some lemon juices come in concentrate form. It’s a good thing we don’t have kids because I’m pretty sure I would have poisoned them that night.
My husband has been on Panama shifts since we got to Germany. After learning that it had nothing to do with canal building, I began to always forget when my husband will be home. Of course, then I learned the whole, “just because it’s your day off doesn’t mean you won’t be at work.”
Every day involves a lot of flailing around like a fish out of water. Actually, more like a chicken with its head cut off. I look at the families of those in the service for longer than my husband and I and wonder, “How do they do it?”
So, how do you guys do it?
Being in the equally crazy and awesome community means that there is always a ton to learn. So here I am, dumb honeymooning newbie, ready and willing to learn anything you have to tell. Please take pity on me. Or laugh at me. Or both.
Those who have been around this community for a while, what would you say to your younger self or a new military family? Those who are new themselves, what have you learned along the way? I have learned a lot, usually the hard way (it’s why I cannot tell the story of my first speeding ticket in Germany without using expletives).
Laura Donnelly-Long is a newbie spouse and graduate of Rowan University. Even after over a year in Germany, her German is still of laughable quality.