I’m going out on a limb here and say that the majority of you have a bottle of mustard, a can of cooking spray, a stick of butter, or some other food item in your kitchen that you did not purchase. No need to bother with FBI profiling, exhaustive research or statistical analysis. We all know it’s true.
You did not pay for that jar of Spanish olives or that bag of frozen meatballs, did you? Now don’t get your cammo undies in a bunch here, I’m not accusing you of being a thief. To the contrary, I’m merely pointing out what’s unique about us military spouses.
Unlike most in the civilian world, we military spouses are accustomed to people coming and going in our lives. Deployments, PCSes, and frequent change are part and parcel of our military lifestyles.
And every time your neighbor or best friend PCSes, she bestows to you memories of afternoons chatting on the patio during deployments, of the times she took care of your dog when you visited your parents, of the night you brought her wine and Dove Bars because she was crying over her husband’s new orders.
Finally, she bequeathed something that will last for months to come: that bottle of cocktail sauce she had in the pantry.
You really don’t need her half-used tub of margarine, but after all the support and friendship you gave each other, this was her final act of friendship. She gave these things to you because that’s what we do in the military. We support each other because we share a common experience and understanding.
So, every time you see that bottle of French dressing on your refrigerator door that no one in your family likes, you will remember that being a military spouse is about giving.
Give strength, community, camaraderie, and that is exactly what you will get back. Well, that, and a half bottle of ketchup.
Sure, the monthly potluck dinners can be a real bore. Yes, watching your friend’s kids while she goes to her prenatal appointments can be a real pain. No doubt, getting another phone call from a worried squadron wife right in the middle of the Survivor finale can be really annoying.
But think of it like this – The bottle of balsamic vinegar your fellow military spouse left you only cost about $3.75. The gas you spent dropping her family off at the airport set you back at least $7.50. However, the common understanding and support she offered you when you were in need was priceless.
Give and you shall receive.
Read the PDF version here: October Column.