Most of the time, our family, lives in a military town. And while my husband is in the Army, we have lived on a Naval base and our next duty station will be near an Air Force base. It is not uncommon for my husband’s military job to take him to unit’s that work in a joint military fashion. But this is the first time, since our marriage, that I’ve been living outside of a military community.
One thing that I have noticed is that, even though no one talks against the military itself, the war seems farther away here. In military towns you have the constant reminder that someone’s loved one is deployed. The local news has daily segments on the military “heroes” among us (Personally, my husband hates being called a hero. He says, he’s just doing his job.) and there are signs welcoming home a soldier almost on every block. Another thing that I’ve observed is that more flags seem to be flown in military communities then those communities that are farther removed from our way of life. It makes me wonder why the flag is not flown by more of us just to say, “Yes I’m an American and darn proud to be”!
I also get, what I call, is the “pity look” when I tell someone that my husband is in the Army. It’s like, “Oh, you poor thing”. Then I am always asked, “Has he ‘had’ to go to Iraq?” The look and the question always make me chuckle inside. I don’t pity myself. I am very proud of my husband and his chosen career. And if he did go to Iraq (most soldiers have) it was because it’s his job. I guess I’m just amazed how differently people view me and my husband in the civilian world.
There are also the observations of my oldest daughter. She’s seven and in a new school for the first time since starting elementary school. I was very excited about her attending this school, because she is attending my elementary school. The school that I LOVED!!!! The school that molded me in my early education years. The school that still has teachers that I had there and where we know the secretaries because the are neighbors. I expected her to love this school as much as I did, but she doesn’t. As a matter of fact, I hear almost daily how she wants to go back to her old school. When I ask why, she’s told me that the school has lots of mean and bullying kids. That they have no fun in class, it’s all work (she’s in the first grade, there should be some fun). My daughter is a very social gal and they are not letting her in. This is frustrating to her and heartbreaking to me! I think most of this stems from this area not being as transient as military towns. For some reason, they don’t know how to let a stranger in. When I went to school there, I remember two ‘new’ kids in the five years I was at that school. I believe it’s just a learning curve that will not be met with the lack of moving around in the area.
Overall, we are trying to take all of these changes as learning experiences. I try to have educated conversations with the folks that I meet that my husband’s job isn’t as bad as they imagine and that I do fine when my husband is gone, just as they would be/are fine when their spouse goes on a business trip. As for my kids, it’s a good lesson that not everyone is kind and that sometimes, it’s harder to make friends then we thought. Hopefully this will lead to them being better people and be more accepting of others in whatever situation they meet.