Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The underground super secret network of spouses.
Outside of the base, live Coast Guard members and their families. Some are integrated into the local military community and others choose not to be for a variety of reasons. We used to be those people. Well, in a way, we still are. My husband, the man in blue, (for whom I still need a catchy nickname) is adamant about keeping our family life and the military separate. That was really easy when he was on land. It was also really easy when I had my own crazy workaholic hours at a job in the private sector. It was also extremely easy when we had no children.
Then one day, I became a mother and I started to work from home. Soon the working from home dwindled down and my days ached to be filled with something. I longed for involvement in something other than diaper duty and grocery shopping. So, I started talking to *gasp* other Coast Guard wives. I would meet them on the pier when the ship pulled in or I would connect with them through some other underground super secret network that would send my husband into a tizzy. Yes, my friends, he detested the wives groups. In fact, he refused to tell people he was married for fear that the wives network would swoop in like vultures and snatch me into their secret society. Okay, so that is not at all true, but if you met the man in blue back then, you would totally appreciate what I am talking about. Fast forward to today. I am a little more than involved. I am integrated. I have a vested interested in the sometimes seemingly unpopular spouse sect. I pledge my allegiance to the sisterhood affirming that I am not a slovenly gossipmonger or mindless follower. Honest. Enough about what I am not, let me tell you what I am.
I have a passion for all things military. I become engrossed with military history, tradition and legacy. I am the person in the grocery store parking lot who sees a USCG or DOD decal on a car and hope I will run into the owner. Don’t ask me why. On second thought, go ahead. The reason is, as I have said before, we are so far out of the military area. So, such cars and decals are far and few between. Alright, so I might be considered a decal stalker. Seriously, I am only a little fanatical. I love my husband. Obviously, I would love him no matter what his profession, but I love that he chose to join the service and despite his original intentions of getting out, he reenlisted and reenlisted, and, well you get the point. I like military brats. They each have their own unique travel story to tell. Olive Oyl’s kids, as some of our other families here, are a great example of this as they have been all over the map. What kid really gets to experience such different cultures, climates and touristy destinations all before age 18? Not too many in this day and age. That is the beauty of the military; we are nomadic, well most of us anyway. That to me is enthralling and keeps me eager for each new PCS season. With each new place comes new faces. New experiences abound and new chances.
The other day, our family journeyed to a nearby town (way out in the sticks) where another Coast Guard family lived. They are even further out then us and have little if anything to do with the husband’s shipmates, the base and/or other families. The wife, who was a boatload of fun and someone I’d really like to hang out with more, asked me about my involvement in the “life” around here. I chuckled and told her I was bit embarrassed to share. Upon telling her the things I did and people I knew, she laughed and said her husband might lose his mind if that were her. Overhearing our conversation, my husband urged, no, begged me not to try and recruit her into the network. I assured him AND her husband that I was just answering her questions. Sheesh. You would think I got a commission or something and they were the regulatory board making sure I did not solicit off limit spouses.
Anyway, the wife mentioned how she had gotten to know a bunch of military spouses (from all branches) at a previous unit. She did not like the fact that rank was an issue for many. Can you blame her? Nonetheless, I hear this time and again from spouses and members. This is just pure silliness.
So that I don’t go on and on in a rant about how spouses have no rank, I will leave you with this: If you are a spouse who has been burned by other groups, fear not. We are not all nuts. I am, but just a wee little bit. Give your new area a chance. Get to know some new faces. All spouse groups, families and members are not the same. And, for the husbands who are on their knees pleading with their wives to ‘stay out of it’, please know it’s not all about you and getting in your business. Honestly, we just like hanging out and commiserating with like-minded folk.