My beloved is one of a kind. Yet, she shares a sisterhood unlike any other as well. The sisterhood of the wives of warriors. Without shirking, without stinting their love, without bitterness or anger or regret they send us off to battle with a kiss and a favor to remember them by then they get on about the business of keeping hearth and home together, tending to children and bills and spiders.
There is no praise high enough….
A military wife is mostly girl. But there are times, such as when her husband is away and she is mowing the lawn or fixing a youngster’s bike, that she begins to suspect she is also boy. She usually comes in three sizes: petite, plump and pregnant. During the early years of her marriage it is often hard to determine which size is her normal one. She has babies all over the world and measures time in terms of places as other women do in years. “It was in England that the children had the chicken pox…In was in Texas, Paul was promoted…” At least one of her babies was born or a transfer was accomplished while she was alone. This causes her to suspect a secret pact between her husband and the military providing for a man to be overseas or on temporary duty at times such as these. A military wife is international. She may be a Kansas farm girl, a French mademoiselle, a Japanese doll, or a German fraulein. When discussing service problems, they all speak the same language. She can be a great actress. To heartbroken children at transfer time, she gives an Academy Award performance: “New Mexico is going to be such fun! I hear they have Indian reservations…and tarantulas…and rattlesnakes.” But her heart is breaking with theirs. She wonders if this is worth the sacrifice. An ideal military wife has the patience of an angel, the flexibility of putty, the wisdom of a scholar and the stamina of a horse. If she dislikes money, it helps. She is sentimental, carrying her memories with her in an old footlocker. One might say she is a bigamist, sharing her husband with a demanding entity called “duty.” When duty calls, she becomes No. 2 wife. Until she accepts this fact, her life can be miserable. She is above all a woman who married a man who offered her the permanency of a gypsy, the miseries of loneliness, the frustration of conformity and the security of love. Sitting among her packing boxes with squabbling children nearby, she is sometimes willing to chuck it all in until she hears the firm step and cheerful voice of the lug who gave her all this. Then she is happy to be…his military wife.
By Andrea Brown
we’re seperated by endless miles,
and all of the Iraqi sand
but somehow my heart still smiles
when i dream of us hand in hand
you really don’t know my life
the pain to come with being an army wife
days and days go by with no phone call
wonder if he’s even alive at all
but somehow you still must be strong
because a year really isn’t that long
its been a long hard day
but it’ll be an even harder night
cause i didn’t hear from you
so sleep i’ll continue to fight
don’t know what you’re doing
if you’re scared, if you’re alone
keep straining my ears to hear
but i get silence from the phone
it’s been another day marked on the calendar
one more that brings me closer to you
it’ll be more lonely nights still in the future
but somehow we’ll still pull through
I am a military wife. A member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men go into battle, and the strength to survive until their return. Our sorority knows no rank, for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles, or over nations to begin a new life with our military husbands.
Within days, we turn a barren, echoing building into a home, and though our quarters are inevitably white-walled and unpapered, we decorate with the treasures of our travels, for we shop the markets of the globe. Using hammer and nail, we tack our pictures to the wall, and our roots to the floor as firmly as if we had lived there for a lifetime.
We hold a family together by the bootstraps, and raise the best of “brats” instilling in them the motto, “Home is togetherness”, whether motels, or guest house, apartment or duplex.
As military wives we soon realize that the only good in Good-bye is the Hello again, for as ‘Salesmen for Freedom’, our husbands are often on the road, at sea, or in the sky, leaving us behind for a week, a month, a year on an assignment. During separations we guard the home front, existing until the homecoming.
Unlike our civilian counterparts, we measure time, not by years, but by tours married at Pendelton, a baby born at Lejeune, a special anniversary at Yuma, a promotion in Okinawa. We plant trees, and never see them grow tall, work on projects completed long after our departure, and enhance our community for the betterment of those who come after us. We leave a part of ourselves at every stop.
Through experience, we have learned to pack a suitcase, a car or hold baggage, and live indefinitely from the contents within and though our fingers are sore from the patches we have sewn , and the silver we have shined, our hands are always ready to help those around us.
Women of peace, we pray for a world in harmony, for the flag that leads our men into battle, will also blanket them in death.
Yet we are an optimistic group, thinking of good, and forgetting the bad, cherishing yesterday, while anticipating tomorrow. Never rich by monetary standards, our hearts are overflowing with a wealth of experiences common only to those united by the special tradition of military life. We pass on this legacy to every military bride, welcoming her with outstretched arms, with love and friendship, from one sister to another, sharing in the bounty of our unique, fulfilling military way of life.