I’m doing okay. The number one sympathy question I get lately is, “How are you doing?” and I know exactly what they are referring to. He’s not dead, you know. I was living alone a month prior. And I used to be single. I know how to handle the day to day. Solo. Strangers don’t get this. They hear, boyfriend in Iraq and immediately it’s like poor, poor left behind girl – me. It’s odd that I’m a lot more busier now then when he was here and than I expected to be. Cupcake classes, business trips coming up, weekend in Vegas in June, Tahoe in July and the full time job of being a maid of honor. Busy, busy.
Last night I got a call that started like this, “Hi. Golightly X. This is Bonnie from the Family Readiness Center”
The Family Readiness Center is there to help you through this time while your military spouse is away. They offer counseling and group get togethers. I get an email everyday from Bonnie. The emails are about where the wives or husbands are meeting up for a weekly get together and they mention any news anyone has to share. One email announced some crazy sale Wal-Mart was having.
The emails, like I said are everyday and each time I get one; someone replies all back to Bonnie. Sheesh. Don’t people know that they have a choice to just reply back to her and I don’t need to see your crazy question?
Cowboy gave them my contact information because they are also the ones to contact you IF.
You know what that IF is. IF is scary. So when Bonnie called last night, I was thinking IF.
She just wanted to introduce herself verbally and make sure I’m doing okay and that she has the correct address for us. Hi, I’m doing great and yes.
Strangers don’t get it. It’s the case of everyone’s an expert. Then I found the below. It is exactly like this, all the time. The questions people ask and exactly what I’m thinking when they do:
1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but thanks brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)
2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying. Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make sacrifices.)
4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?"
(Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.)
5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
(Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me busy.)
6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
(This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out.)
7. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
(This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a 12-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing a crappy ford taurus with mercedes convertible.)
8. "Wow you must miss him? "
(This one also gets another big "duh". Of course we miss our men.)
Every time I was asked this, I just wanted to respond "Oh, no, definitely not. I like it when he's gone. It gives me the chance to be all by myself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Who wouldn't want that?" Of course, I miss him. Wouldn't you miss your husband?
9. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a m ap, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq . Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan . Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Know that Iran is a major threat to our country and that it is located between Afghanistan and Iraq . Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere.)
10. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault whatever happens over there.
(Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. He didn't sign up and ask to be hit by anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked me to tell you that "You're welcome." He's still fighting for your freedom.)
11. "Well in my opinion....."
(Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political opinions. Hey, I love a heated political debate, but not in the grocery store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a bar when I'm out with my girls trying to forget the war, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running our asses off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, and kids, they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because we are giving an invitation to ramble about politic s or because we so eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're trying to heat up our lean cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.)
12. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"
(He's doing his job and he's a badass. Don't be sorry. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)
13. I can't believe your husband did this to you. Aren't you mad at him?
Um, what?! My husband didn't do anything to me. He honors his agreements and he follows the orders of his superiors. There's certainly nothing sad or maddening about having a husband who fulfills his commitments. Don't feel sorry for me. I'm proud of my husband and I completely support him.
I cannot remember what blog I found this on. I apologize – so if it’s yours, please let me know and I’ll credit you. Seriously.
CD Project: Madonna’s single, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”. Another single, another day, what can I say?