Friday, May 10, 2013

a presidential proclamation.

Listen up, y'all! 

Barack said today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. He issued a pretty official looking statement about it and everything. 

He pointed out the totally obvs fact that we are awesome. That we make sacrifices and we need support. That behind every great service person is a fabulous spouse pretty much holding down the fort and just generally rocking everyone's socks off on the daily. 

His words, not mine. 

He said, and I quote, that you need to honor us "with appropriate ceremonies and activities." 

Did you hear that, world? Appropriate ceremonies and activities! What kinds of ceremonies and activities are appropriate to honor and celebrate rock star military spouses? I thought you'd never ask! Here are a few ideas to get you started, in no particular order. 

  • A parade! No clowns. Yes bike bars. Actually a parade of only bike bars would be best.
  • Massage gift certificates. Always. 
  • Thank us for our spouse's service. You already do that, you say? Good, then take it a step further and thank me, too. My sailor is pretty humble about his service to our country, he may offer a soft-spoken, "It's my pleasure, ma'am/sir."  But me? I'll offer a hearty, "I know, right?!" But really, I'm super proud of his service and I just beam with pride when other people are, too.
  • Give military mom's a break. A huge one. I'm not a mom yet, but I hear some stories from my mommy friends about people giving them grief and giving grief does not fall into the "appropriate ceremonies and activities" category, people. I mean the moms who are hustling four kids around from school to activities to dinner and back all by themselves. Or the ones who are potty training little pantsless puddle makers with no help. Or the ones who are trying to figure out who will watch the other kids while she takes the sick one the the ER in the middle of the night. And the ones who are gently explaining why daddy isn't home to those confused little ones. These mama's are seriously awesome and if they don't make it to the PTA meeting or they're kids are dressed like little bums and their hair is unkempt, just go ahead and avert those judgmental looks somewhere else. (If my hair is unkempt, you are free to judge a little. I'm not gonna like you for it, but really I have no excuse.) 
  • Buy us dinner. Or just me. I'll relay the message to the others. You're welcome.
  • If you know someone who's spouse is deployed somewhere dangerous and hot, go ahead and skip that story about how you heard on the news that another Marine was killed or how they bombed a KFC. This is probably on the top of the list of completely inappropriate activities. We don't need to be reminded that war is dangerous. We think about it plenty on our own. 
  • Buy us a drink. Or just me. It can even be a red, white, and blue drink, if that makes you feel more supportive. (I hope my friends are reading this carefully. I'd be happy to print this out for convenience.) 
  • If you know any dual military couples, but them a drink, too. No, buy them two. They have a whole set of obstacles that make them worthy of parades an massages in a big way. Lots of times, the big headache about military life is that your life events revolve around the military's clock. Want to have a summer wedding? Too bad, he's in training in the summer. Winter civil ceremony it is! Honeymoons, careers, vacations, family planning, it all gets put on hold when one person is at the mercy of the military. Things get even tougher when both people are serving. So yea. Two drinks it is! 
  • Let us vent. Most rock star spouses I know are very humble about their military experiences, choosing to focus on positives and seeing the silver lining. But everyone has their limit. There are only so many emails I can write to my husband or events I can go to as a third wheel or nights all alone or gaps in my resume from moving that I can bear before I just want to scream. On a day like this, go ahead and let me. Don't compare your husband's business trip to deployment, don't remind me that I'm so proud of him. Just let me rail against the Navy and Uncle Sam and all that is patriotic and sacred. Then you can pass that red, white, and blue drink over. 
I hope this little guide helps. It's just a primer. Mostly I just want to get free drinks and massages. I hope I've made that clear. 

But seriously, as I get to the (sort of) end of this deployment, I am really impressed by the military spouses around me. I know some pretty awesome people who support their husbands and wives, while managing kids and careers and graduate school and deployments way longer than mine and births and deaths and distance from family and all the unique challenges that make being a military spouse a beautiful adventure. And almost none of them are as demanding about drinks and recognition as I am. Mostly they just do it quietly and with an incredible amount of strength and fortitude. Not the least of these are the women and man in our squadron, who have been an incredible encouragement these last 34 months. (Wait, our deployment hasn't been 34 months?!) 

Amanda Hedgepeth Photography
So go out today and follow Barack's executive order to celebrate military spouses!