Thursday, March 20, 2008

Differences and Empathy

Try as I may some of my civilian friends just don’t understand. They get frustrated when we move because they have to write down a new address again (oh the horror!). They have no concept of semper gumby-ness. To them, my life is too much uncertainty and too much about rules and regs. In actuality, “my life” isn’t really that regulated, but my husband’s life is, so by default, it affects me. You knew that though.

I will say this though: they have stayed with me for the long haul. Even though they don’t understand the goings on of military life, they try. That is perhaps what matters the most--their ability to stay the course of our friendship, even if I’m on the cranky-side of a deployment and they can’t relate.

When it comes down to it though, who’s there to pick up on the phone when you are in shambles over a pay mix-up or lost HHG? It’s your military family. Some years back, we encountered a huge pay problem. We had been overpaid for many, many months. The amount was relatively small and we had no idea because it was so little. Still, over a period of time, that amount grew and grew. When the CG noticed it and brought it to our attention, there was a sizeable amount they wanted to take back in one whack. I was fit to be tied. We worked it out and all was well with the world. Still, the only folks who understood my plight were my sister spouses. My dearest friends and even my mother assured me they couldn’t just take it back and even suggested I write letters. Letters, to who, the pay gods? Well, I knew then and there it would take a lot of explaining to get them to understand why it just doesn’t work that way. We owned some of the responsibility for not reviewing LES’s and following-up on leave in time. While it wasn’t necessarily our job, we should have been more vigilant. The older and wiser me knows that. A lesson learned.

What I needed from those around me was just a shoulder to cry on for a moment--an ear to bend. My civilian family just wanted to fix things. While my military family could empathize and knew fixing wasn’t what I needed. So in keeping with my thankful attitude this week, I wanted to continue the appreciation for this great family who can identify with my situation now and then. Cheers!


Who I Am said...

Funny how we were on similar pages in our recent blogs. You are so lucky that you do have civilian friends that understand. I only have one and they are prior military, so not really civilians. I love my military family though.

Julie & Captain said...

I think that's one of the hardest things about where we are now... not having a military family. Though my dh is not working with the CG, I haven't really found anyone else who understands our lifestyle.

Mary said...

Well said. In the midst of my life and the current turmoil that exists in it, I'm seeing changes in my civilian friends that just aren't comfortable with this many changes all at once. For me, I seem to only function well when I have 8 different huge projects looming.

Lainy said...

My best friend is a civilian, but her husband is a police officer. Twenty years of bad schedules and unpredictability and she always understands what I'm whining about!
But, it is comforting to know that I have coastie friends who understand and sometimes even, anticipate, what kind of chaos is looming large.