Sunday, May 24, 2009

...those who stand and wait...

There's a quote by John Milton, "They also serve who only stand and wait." He wrote this for a different reason than it's recent use. Lately it's been seen in connection with military families. The country artist wrote a song about it:

"They also serve,
those who stand and wait,
Praying by the phone
To learn their loved one's fate.
But they're still in the war,
let there be no mistake.
They also serve,
those who stand and wait."

I love that my husband always mentions the military families whenever he has to give a "speech." He always calls them "true patriots." Love that.

At the other extreme, I saw this t-shirt that made me chuckle. I'm actually pretty laid-back, but it's nice to know that I can always play the deployed husband "card." LMAO

So, yes, my husband left for his deployment. And, no, he does not get to come home for Christmas or any other milestone. Yes, recently someone asked me that. I try to think of the positives b/c I don't need to be told the negatives...I already know them. And no, these positives aren't better than having him at home. :) Anyway, I get to read in bed w/ the lamp on, not as much laundry, I won't have to cook dinner as much, we're not spending money on hubby going to breakfast/lunch at work, nor on gas going back and forth to work, I get to hang out w/ my neighbors having cocktails, etc.

Also, those who are reading this, here is a list of WHAT NOT TO SAY TO AN ARMY WIFE by Army wife Kelly Wright. My own comments are in bold.

What NOT to say to a military wife!!

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.)

I always say, "what's my alternative?" Do I leave my husband? No, I suck it up b/c I love him and that he stands for something greater than himself.

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."

(This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An international game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there.) This is sort of outdated now, but still "duh"

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. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back to Iraq b/c there is work that needs to be done.)

My husband joined prior to 9/11 and the wars. He joined b/c he wanted to serve our country. He is a patriot and loves his job and his soldiers.

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."

(Sure, we do learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "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.)

9. "Wow you must miss him?"

(This one also gets antoher big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they're now divorced.)

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"

(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, 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.)

11. "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.)

I can't even respond to this b/c it's so idiotic.

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"

(hmmm, no i don't miss sex. i'm a robot. seriously...military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.)

13. "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 politics 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.)

I don't want to hear why you hate President Bush or love President Obama. I don't want to hear about not finding weapons of mass destruction. I don't want to hear about water boarding. Please don't bring up what you saw on CNN or read on some blog. Our military has seen a side of the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan that no politician and no reporter/journalist can ever impart to you civilians. Nothing is ever black and white and it would be nice if people would take the time to see and try to understand the "other side" (whatever it is). Frankly, I don't want to hear anyone's politics, thankyouverymuch.

last but not least....

14. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"

(He's doing his job and he's a rockstar. 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.)

I don't need your sorrow. My husband IS a rockstar. One of the reasons that I love him is that he IS a soldier. He is part of an organization that every single day makes decisions of how to protect this country. There ARE bad guys out there in this world now, in the past and in the future.

If you want to say anything, say thank you. After all, we are sexually deprived for your freedom.

And remember that the families serve, also. Try to remember them in your thoughts and prayers. The soldiers need them, yes, but so do the families. Their soldiers are able to do their jobs b/c their families back home are okay. If you can do things for a military wife/children then do so...cut the grass, watch the kids, send THEM a care package, etc. And, for God's sake, don't ask the military wife "what you can do." For some reason we all want to be super independent and we feel guilty for asking or accepting help. Just DO IT!! They are often the forgotten ones.

Um, thank you for coming to my little dog and pony show. LOL (P.S., no my blog is not going to turn into a "my husband is on a deployment" blog, but that's what I've been dealing w/ these last few weeks and have gone NO WHERE of interest. LOL)