Tag Archive for Civilians

Captain Dad is Now COMMANDER Dad!

My most awesome and beloved husband took command of a great group of National Guard soldiers on Saturday.

Following the change of command, the unit threw its annual Christmas party and I was impressed, delighted, and struck by some of the differences between the National Guard and the Active Duty Army.

The First Sergeant’s amazing and dedicated wife organized the party with help from a small group of regulars and created a real festive scene. There was tons of food–turkey, baked ham, roast pig, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, salad, arroz con frijoles, breads, pies, cookies, well…you get the idea. A local teacher and his band provided the entertainment–a mix of 70s dance music, popular latin numbers, and some Christmas classics. Besides the soldiers, there were unit alumni, junior cadets, the teacher’s class of “troubled teens,” and other community members.

Without the red tape of the regular rules and bureacracy, the party planners had more freedom to make the event work.

There were so many adorable children running around, playing on the castle bounce, making hand painted ornaments, and playing with new toys. The highlight for the younger set was Santa’s arrival on a Humvee!

I really got the sense that the soldiers and families love children as babies were passed from friend to friend, toddlers entertained, and older kids drawn into the singing and dancing.

Because not all of the soldiers had Class As, there was an interesting mix of uniforms and civilian wear on display, including a nehru jacket and a zoot suit.

With the vibrant neighborhood relationship and the obvious unit esprit de corps, I did not miss the regular army’s commitment to precision and uniformity.

Because National Guard members may spend their entire career with the unit, it was clear we were joining a close-knit family.

A lot of this also has to do with the community and how the armory is integrated into its urban neighborhood.

The one somber note came with a presentation of memorial plaques to family members of two fallen soldiers–some volunteers from the unit are part of a deployment to Afghanistan.

Even that sad note was a beautiful reminder of how much these soldiers care for one another.

I am proud to be a part of the family of this new unit and very proud of my husband’s service to our country.

Never Say Goodbye

Bear with me, I am about to ramble…some navel-gazing philosophizing of the worst sort, I suspect.

If you had asked me fifteen years ago whether I would marry a man who would eventually join the service, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. (Molly fancied herself a bit of an anti-authoritarian rebel back in the day)

My life is completely different from the way I imagined it back in high school, and yet I wouldn’t trade it. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the other one, that person who took a different path, out of the corner of my eye. There’s a glint of sunlight, the smell of damp earth, the heat rising off the pavement and she’s there. Just a flicker and she’s gone…

She’s usually heading wherever the wind blows, or some other cliche straight out of a novel written well before her time, most likely while the author was under the influence of some psychoactive drug that may or may not have yet been illegal at the moment in history.

Times change, however, and here I am.

Never say never.

And never say goodbye. Everything we ever were or ever dreamed of comes along for the ride.

This is a long way of announcing that DH’s REFRAD packet (Release from Active Duty) has been approved.

Don’t drop me from your bookmarks and blogrolls, yet, though–please!

There is still clearing post, final PCS, and readjustment to civilian life fun to be had. And let’s not even talk about the fact that DH can still be called up until he has finished out his IRR commitment and resigned his commission!

Barring any monkey business, though, we will be on our way back to New York this summer.

In some ways, however, I don’t feel like we ever left. Sure, I threw myself into the whole Army Wife with abandon. I read the books, cried the tears, celebrated the joys, blogged the life, bought the t-shirt…

If DH had decided to make this his career, I would have supported him 100%. There are certainly some aspects of being a MilSpouse that I will miss.

In general we are a tight, supportive group.

Both the official policy and the zeitgeist are very pro-family, even if the job requirements aren’t always conducive to stability.

There is always something meaningful that can be done…for the husband, the families, the unit. You know, for God and Country and all that.

I can’t say I would view the prospect of another imminent deployment with great relish…but if I had to do it, I could do it, and I would do it.

Still, somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspected this was all temporary. My “real life” was waiting for me back in New York.

Except, my life has undergone so many transformations, I am not even sure what that means anymore, beyond that it involves DH and Lilah. We aren’t even moving back to one of the counties where DH and I grew up…he’s accepted an offer to be an Assistant District Attorney in a county a little further out from the city. Certainly much closer to family than we’ve been in a long while, but not we were in the neighborhood so we thought we’d drop by close.

I guess where I am going with this, if I am going anywhere at all, is that either it is all my “real life” or none of it is.

I suppose someday there will be the smell of fresh paint, or the thudding approach of a helicopter, or the unfurling of a flag, and I will spot her–drying tears and hugging someone she barely knows, hosting social gatherings and meetings, and trying to hold it together so the younger ones will take strength from her example. And she’ll look proud, and perhaps a little weary, foundation caked from when she hastily re-applied her happy face. Then, a deep cannon-like boom, and she’ll vanish.

Some days I feel like I trail these other me’s behind me, like ghosts.

On other days, I realize that all of my experiences have brought me to this moment. Whatever other paths I may not have chosen, everything I ever have or will done travels along with me on this one…not behind me, or beside me, but in everything I am.

Confidants

“I am so angry at him for what he’s doing to you.”

“He’s out of his mind.”

“You are better than I am. I would not put up with this.”

I suppose my civilian friends think they are being supportive when they say these things.

What I do not think they realize is that they are isolating me further.

Everyone sometimes need to vent about their significant other–not me of course, DH is perfect *wink*–or maybe even just circumstances.

When DH is home, I tell him about everything…but of course with the deployment, I do not want to bother him about every little thing.

When my civilian friends make statements like that though, I cross them off my list of confidants about military-related gripes.

After all, I do not want anyone to be upset with my DH, especially when it usually is an issue beyond his control. I just want to let off some steam and then let it go.

Even a simple complaint about the 100 degree heat while I was nine months pregnant could bring on a remark about how “unfair it was for him to drag me to Texas.”

So, I keep it to myself.

And most of my military friends have husbands in the same unit. With few exceptions, their husbands are directly above or below mine in the chain of command. So, they’re off that list, too.

Which leaves me, well…here.