Last night I attended an event that is part of a week long tradition among the Engineer Regiment. As part of military life and regimental week here on Fort Leonard Wood, military spouse events are as much a part of the weeks powerful lineup as the laying of the wreath ceremony, best sapper competition or the Regimental Ball. And this years Engineer Spouses Night Out didn’t disappoint.
While the event was full of laughter and fun it was so much more than that for me – it was a wake up call that I didn’t even know I needed. Up until last night I hadn’t realized that since we PCS’d here to Ft Leonard Wood that I’d been disconnected from the spouse community. Sure I have my online spouse community and I travel to installations regularly to speak, but without realizing it, I was missing the most important thing. The thing that helps me keep it together and prevents me from fraying at the edges. I was missing my local peeps.
I was missing the glue.
It’s easy to get caught up in work and home life believing that online connections are a strong enough support system to get us through military life. But last night showed me that a quick messenger conversation or a comment reply convo are NOT a substitute for the laughter and camaraderie that happens only with in-person contact.
At one point during the evening, as part of a game, each table was asked to describe their engineer. All of us around the table began to spit out descriptions, adjectives, quirks and sayings about our soldiers that had us high-fiving and smiling. Instantly there was a bond of understanding and acceptance that only military spouses can understand – a silent acknowledgement that we “get it”.
Over simple conversations about our lives we shared ourselves, connected and stepped away from the stress and chaos of our daily lives. At one point I learned that the woman across from me had a son getting ready to graduate from college – her baby was truly leaving the nest and she was struggling with the transition. A retired spouse shared so much just by being there – as if she was letting us know that this is a forever type of family. And a veteran spouse who had been here less than a month reminded us all how important it is to create your tribe early on.
None of those realizations were part of the verbal conversations, each of us just got the message loud and clear in a way that only being in the same space can do.
The military spouse is the glue that holds military community together. We are the backbone, the compass and all those other sayings that mean we are responsible for keeping things moving forward. We motivate, inspire and support our service member so they can do their job. We need to keep it together in order to do just that and the best way to do just that is to bond with people who get your life, surround yourself with people who see the good parts and the uniqueness that comes with this lifestyle.
Who/What is the glue helping you keep it together?
As I browse my social media feeds I notice so many people are fed up and unsure of the direction of their lives. It reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago when my son was stressed about what he would do with his life. Fast forward nothing he even considered was to be his path; life took him in a totally different direction. And it's more than ok not only for him, but for any of us [...]
You may have noticed I've been a little quiet lately. Between the passing of my mother-in-law, supporting my husband, handling military life and dealing with all the feelings of my own, I haven't had the focus to do much else than the bare necessities. And I have been feeling guilty for taking a much-needed time out from anything that drains me physically or emotionally and just staying in my[...]
Sometimes as we traverse military life it can feel as though we live separately from the outside world. We have our own lingo, we take pride in things others take for granted and our day to day challenges are very different from our civilian counterparts. Because of this we need to build stronger coping skills and hone our self care strategies so that we are prepared - especially for the stuff[...]
Have you ever noticed that sometimes in military life it seems as though every time you turn around someone or something just keeps getting in the way of your dreams? It may feel like for every idea you have or action you take there is someone out there telling you it can't be done or how it won't work. They may even share a suggestion as to how to do it "the right way".
After church [...]
As we kick off Mental Health Awareness Month I want to begin with some insight that my son had over the weekend into how social media really steals the joy from our lives. He shares this piece of writing with me and I was struck by how it opened my eyes to the connection between social media and our military mental health. His excerpt highlights the reality of living with the challenges of [...]
I'm inclusive, I reach out to the newcomer, I'm supportive of all military spouses and I love my military life. I'm all of these things; UNTIL I'm not. And today it's been brought to my attention that without realizing it we have once again alienated the male military spouse. Don't see it? Neither did I...that is until today.
This morning as I was sharing information on a free military [...]
Last night I attended an event that is part of a week long tradition among the Engineer Regiment. As part of military life and regimental week here on Fort Leonard Wood, military spouse events are as much a part of the weeks powerful lineup as the laying of the wreath ceremony, best sapper competition or the Regimental Ball. And this years Engineer Spouses Night Out didn't disappoint.
Military spouse, Judy Davis, is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, published author and co-founder of DASIUM. She is an expert in military life, small business success and suicide prevention in teens/young adults.