a MilWife knows that ...
adapted from Noreen Pribnow, Ginny Anderson, Molly Brubaker,
Joanne Bujold, Kathy Rogers, Tony Delano, Fran Pasetti, Martha
Major, Vicki Dalton, Meg Greenfield, Beatrice Schoengalla, Terry
O'Neill, Christine Wheeler, Anita Cividantes, Sue Shugg, Ashley
Broadway-Mack, Monica Pugh, Rebecca Alwine, Cyndia Rios-Myers,
Stacy Huisman, Erin Whitehead, Clarice Williams, Janine Boldrin
Gwinn, Michelle Aikman, Rebekah Sanderlin, Lucha Reyna, Morgan
Slade, Tia Johnson, Katie Foley, Patt Donaldson, Kate Dolack,
Jennifer McDonald, Bianca Strzalkowski
a MilWife knows ...
that if you can't find humor and adventure in the military, then
you can't find them anywhere.
that a family vacation is a less than lethal OPLAN, with
specific objectives and incidental prisoners.
that family recreation is typically some variation on simulated
training or mock combat.
that Hollywood's war movies are never
entertainment for her family, except to ridicule and
dissect their inaccuracies.
that zulu time and metric measurements are just acquired
that having family and friends in twelve different time zones
guarantees that there will always be someone to talk with at any
hour of the day.
that gear and weapons will become part of her regular
that inventory stickers are a sign of accountability, not of
that she had no inkling of what marriage to a servicemember would
mean, nor how far her new military family would
that, as a mere spouse, she isn't expected to understand the
nuances of interservice rivalry, but is expected to remain
that one big happy family is not just a motto but a
that her warm and comfortable home is a welcome refuge to any of
her spouse's comrades ... with very little notice of their
that explaining her lifestyle to civilians is futile.
that local customs are only regional conventions that
are eccentric (or even abnormal) someplace else.
that holiday celebrations and other special festivities will
always be subject to scrambled deployments.
that special events will be all the more special for
being observed when time and opportunity permits.
that her marriage is a hostage to fortune.
that she's had to learn to sublimate and reorient some of her
passions and desires.
that quality time is just a euphemism for short
that family will always be subject to attenuation.
that traditions are more important than
attachments, especially to things.
that anything worth cherishing is worth relocating ... and fixing
after it gets broken.
that wanting a good hairdresser, florist, and ob-gyn is like
praying for water in the desert.
that any plans she proposes will be disposed by the
that every time the government turns her life upside down, she
must single-handedly turn it right side up again.
that every obstacle and obstruction is a challenge to her
ingenuity and creativity.
that every change of plans is a chance for betterment.
that hurry up and wait is a chance to do something
personal and private.
that plans made in repose will always be executed in
that only civilians believe that life can be kept on
that any friendships or arrangements are subject to intervention
... just like the crises of real life.
that being transferred to a new assignment is an opportunity to
explore and develop, to encounter and renew.
that a hardship tour teaches self-reliance.
that distant excursions to remote assignments teaches each family
member the value of fortitude.
that frequent transfers teaches the art of improvisation.
that she must grin and bear it when his deployment is
suddenly extended ... again.
that trust is the bridge that keeps love vital when
communication is impossible.
that acronyms and nomenclature will be part and parcel of normal
that she only understands a quarter of what he says and half of
what he means, but that doesn't inhibit their attempts to
that she'll never get an entirely truthful response to: "How was
your day?" because she doesn't have a security clearance and the
need to know.
that she will have to serve as an interpreter and docent for any
civilian visitors, despite her limited knowledge.
that he might be talking dirty in milspeak jargon but
she wouldn't know it.
that nothing is secret in the extended military family,
but some things are sacrosanct, and inviolate.
that she gets credit for just showing up, and respect
for being a good sport about the things that are beyond
that she's not too proud to accept a military discount
from a patriotic merchant.
that Spartan austerity is just a polite way of saying the
household budget is too pinched to stretch into luxuries.
that government pay is only part of the whole package ... the
emotional benefits are priceless.
that going to the commissary on payday is as much her duty as his
that she must feed and comfort the whole family ... especially
her bedraggled sponsor.
that it takes a team effort to keep dear old
dad looking and acting STRAC every morning of the
that her brats are more precocious and sophisticated,
more resourceful and resilient than their untraveled civilian
that finding someone to love and fighting for him is equivalent
to him fighting for what he cherishes.
that she is responsible for taking care of her spouse so he can
be responsible for taking care of the nation.
that her struggles are usually isolated, and without
that her achievements are usually isolated, and without
that her ability to support her sponsor's assignment and to
function autonomously doesn't alter her dependent
that her profession is always secondary to his, no matter how
accomplished she is or may become.
that she is always subordinate to the organization.
that she will have to stand in a receiving line to greet her own
that she does not have priority on a welcome home
kiss in the reception hierarchy.
that too many social gatherings are examples of mandatory
that she is not a servicemember, even though the
military treats her like an item that was issued.
that the descriptive data on her military records is as accurate
as her ID card photograph.
that her identification number is immaterial to her
that her military identification card sets her apart from
civilians ... except she never associates with civilians.
that only civilians think individuality is
that a hair style is not a haircut.
that a tattoo doesn't make anybody unique.
that uniformity is not boring.
that only civilians think that fashion is
that there's a difference between uniformity and
that there's a difference between consistency and
that only civilians think that consistency is
that there's a difference between consistency and
that only civilians think that timeliness is more
important than fulfillment.
that self-fulfillment and mission
accomplishment are the same thing.
that a petty preoccupation with details is counterproductive ...
but the government is nothing but petty details.
that if her children can't understand the directions then she
doesn't understand them either.
that filing government forms for the care and protection of her
kids is not unlike learning a foreign language, which is
something else she must do.
that paperwork is not the solution to any problem but is the
compounding of that problem into several newly related
that Congress will threaten to reduce pay and benefits, RIF
personnel and close bases every time the military is not deployed
to redeem failed diplomacy.
that, regrettably, the threat of war is the only job
security that her family will ever have.
that foreign policy and national affairs are sophomoric without a
well trained military.
that a well trained military depends upon the support of
loving wives and patient families.
that an emergency contact telephone tree is the fastest way to
alert and assure everyone while assembling their assets.
that in case of emergency and next of kin
notifications are probabilities (not possibilities) among
that every promise made was sincere, and will undoubtedly be
postponed and repeated.
that promises and pledges are sufficient when made ... their
fulfillment is optional, except in dire extreme.
that a promise to do better next time will probably be
followed by another similar commitment.
that primitive may be the only viable option in an
overloaded high-tech environment.
that cold beer is a universal palliative.
that meager fare and a generous smile are almost as refreshing as
an enveloping hug.
that if all else fails, freshly baked cookies always please the
most recalcitrant obstructionists.
that if you can't take a joke then you shouldn't be in