Posts Tagged ‘FRG’

Deployments and Being Lonely

Lately I’ve been reading military spouse blogs about how lonely they are without their husbands.  Now don’t get me wrong — I do get lonely without my husband, but it’s not a constant feeling.  And I don’t dwell on it.  I get out and keep myself from being lonely.  Everyone has the right to their feelings, but to say in general statements that all Army Wives are lonely is a big mistake.

To start, let’s look at the word lonely as “Webster” sees it.

Lonely — \ˈlōn-lē\

  1. being without company, cut off from others
  2. not frequented by human beings
  3. sad from being alone
  4. producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation

During a deployment, I am never without company — I have children that are there and I make sure to surround myself with friends that do understand what I am going through.  One of the pluses of living in a military community is having those types of people around.  That covers the human beings part and not being alone.  I, personally, never understand those people who “move home” when there husbands are deployed.  I think that this causes more problems for the one left behind. 
Living in a community that has a military installation makes life easier.  All the resources you need are there.  Support groups, commissary, childcare, clinics, etc.  I don’t feel that enough people take advantage of the opportunities that are given on the military bases.  FRG’s (if run correctly), AFTB, and Family Support Centers can help everyone — and it turn, getting involved can give you an opportunity to give back by volunteering at those some places.  You can pass your knowledge onto other spouses that may be currently going through something that you were able to deal with earlier in your life. 
Besides all the benefits living near a military installation, I don’t move because that is my home.  I don’t want to up-root my family any more than I have too.  We’ve been married for almost 10 years and we’ve lived in 6 different places.  I hate moving on a good day, so why move anymore then I have too! 
Do I miss my husband?  Yes.  It is not easy to have him half way around the world, but I can not stop living because we are apart.  I lived on my own before I was married and I can do so now.  It just means that I need to be my own person. 
There is a time that I do get lonely — is late at night, when I should be asleep, but the bed is cold without him.

When the Army Wife Takes it to Far!

About a month ago, a story appeared in the Fayetteville Observer titled, “Bragg Colonel’s Wife Barred from 4th Brigade Functions“.  As I read the article I was dumbfounded and speechless (and for me to be speechless is rather an odd thing).  I could hardly believe what I was reading.  As an Army wife, and yes, I am married to an officer, I was thinking, “You crazy woman!!!  You have just justified ever person that believes in the stereotype of an officer’s wife”.  For all the good things that we, as Army wives, do, you have given so many Army wives reason not to get involved and not to be a part of the FRG (Family Readiness Groups).  (I highly recommend you read the article to understand my rant).

I try so hard not to be “that officer’s wife” because, as my dear friend once said to me, “I gave my hand, I didn’t raise my hand”.  I do things so that people know that I am not the soldier.  When I introduce myself to a soldier, I use my first name, not “Mrs. XXX”  and when a soldier says, “I’m SGT XXX”, I always ask, what can I call you.  I call all soldiers by their first name — the only exception is soldiers that out-rank my husband.  And that, to me, is just a sign of respect.  I do not expect anyone to call me “Mrs XXX”.  I feel funny when any adults does that.  The way I see it, a soldier is a soldier, regardless of what their rank it.  Because of that, I will treat them all the same.

I’ve also found another blog that wrote about this.  I’ve enjoyed their comments and they do, for the most part, reflect my own.  In this one, “Argghhh!  The Home of Jonah’s Military Guys +1” mentioned how sometimes, wearing rank of your husband can be a good thing.  And yes, it can be.  You need someone to get something moving for the CDC or an issue with services, it can help.  Unfortunately, the abuse of power over shadows the good that can happen at times.  Here’s how it helped my husband and I once… We had just been married and housing was slow on the move to get us quarters.  We knew that quarters were available (there were six empty homes), but they kept telling us that there was nothing available.  I received a phone call from the LTC’s wife and she asked me when we were moving.  When I told her what was going on, she was shocked and told me she was sure that something would come available soon.  The next day, the LTC came to my husband to ask what was happening with housing (this is not a common occurrence).  He told him the same thing I told the LTC’s wife.  That afternoon, we received a phone call that our quarters were available.  I really do not think that it was a coincidence.  It was a combination of the LTC and his wife calling housing.  And I am sure that the LTC’s wife did not threaten the folks at housing, but I’m sure, just knowing who she was helped in them “finding” something available.

I will continue to treat people with respect and hope that they will get to know me for me and not because of the man who I am married too.  I am my own person and hope that they will understand that I do not wear my husband’s rank.

A Little Advice for FRG Leaders

I have been an Army wife for almost 10 years.  And now, I have been given the title of “senior spouse advisor”.  Part of this comes with my own experience and partially because of my husband’s rank.  Most of the time, I have no problems with what has been asked of me.  It is mostly to use my experience to advise and assist FRG leaders and younger/less experienced spouses in the ins and outs of how things in the Army work on the spouse side.  But other times, it is very frustrating because I see things that could be done better if the advice that has been given would be taken — and even in other cases, just use common sense.

I know that I always hated it when my husband would come home and say, we need to be at a meeting tomorrow night for “this”.  To me, whatever “this” was, could not be that important if they only gave us less than 24 hours notice.  It was rude and I felt as if it was very poorly planned.  It made me less likely to want to be involved in something that was disorganized.

We recently had a fundraiser that was supposed to be in the works for over two months.  Now while all the glitches were not the fault of those in charge of organizing the event, some things could have been planned better to make it less stressful for all involved.  A week before the event is when notice was sent out asking for volunteers at this function in two-hour increments and also asking for donations for what we were preparing to sell.  The event was a family function and I felt that two hours was a long time when we have so many people who could volunteer.  And asking folks one week out was not enough time for some people to plan for things.  Personally, I have 4 children and at this type of event, having both my husband and I with the kids is really needed.  I could have done 1 hour, but two was pushing it for me.

Most recently, I received and e-mail letting me know of a FRG meeting the next night.  Apparently, I have nothing better to do then add another meeting to my calendar the last-minute.  I didn’t go to the meeting.  I did have other things to do.  And the reason for the last-minute notice — the company commander and the FRG leader didn’t communicate with each other about if the meeting would be on or not.    To me, this is not acceptable.

So now, our FRG leader is frustrated that no one wants to volunteer or attend meetings.  The best thing is that the FRG leader and the company commander can not figure out why they are have a lack of participation.  Makes me want to literally slap some sense into them!  But I am just there to advise.  And if they choose not to take my advice, I can’t do anything about it.

So to all you FRG leaders out there, to make your lives easier and make things go much smoother, here is my advice —

  • Plan ahead
  • Give proper notice
  • Communicate

Very simple things that can make your life easier!!!