Despite the fact that my husband was just deployed for 15 months and I had to regularly practice many elements of being an Army wife, I was really out of the Army loop. Nick deployed out of different post (as opposed to the post we lived by) and on a small 11 man team (as opposed to a brigade and all its attachments). This meant that he cut all his connections with our Fort, and by extension, so did I!! We were no longer attached to a local unit, so there wasn't a local FRG (Family Readiness Group, basically a support group made up of spouses in the same unit) to be a apart of. There were a few military gals/friends that I kept up with during Nick's deployment, but otherwise I didn't attend a single Army event-- not one FRG meeting, Army ball, mixer, Hail and Farewell, or coffee. And to be honest, we had so many close friends and family there to support us, I didn't really miss the Army side of things.
Now out here at a new duty station, I'm learning (or should I say re-learning) another side of being an Army wife; the social side. This week a coffee social at the General's home and a Commandant's Mixer at the club on post. Next week, classes on FRG's and Rear Detachment and other important things for a Company Commander's wife to know and be involved with. I know these events and classes are meant for people to get to know others as well as to learn how to be assets to our husbands. And I'm very thankful for that... but I can't help but feel intimidated as well. I am amazed with how much a Army wife does, particularly in the higher ranks. They organize and plan, they entertain, they own a ton of couches and furniture, they meet'n'greet, they run FRG's, they fix problems and answer questions. They really come along side their husband's and reach out to the soldiers and spouses that are under their care. I don't know if it always works this way, but it seems for many of the spouses, the title of Colonel or General's wife becomes a career in itself.
Does it seem a silly thing to be able to handle a long deployment and all that that entails, but then to worry about the other side of military life and being an asset to my husband in his career? Am I ready for it? Can I do it? And the bigger question on my mind: can I be a supportive military spouse, while also caring for my home, my kids, my husband and all that that entails?
When I expressed my concerns to my husband, he smiled hugely. He tells me I'm an incredible asset to him already in the way I maintain our home, cook him dinner, care for the boys, and keep our house running. He says God will give us the grace and strength we need to meet each challenge. He seems to have no doubts as to what we can handle or how we will manage all the responsibility. The only thing he DOES doubt is that he'll ever get promoted to General. :)