This post is an piece I wrote which was later adapted for my book Right Side Up: Find your Way When Military Life Turns You Upside Down that talks about how dysfunctional and worthwhile Military Life can be. Ahhh…the line at Starbucks early on a Sunday Morning. It’s almost as delicious as my Venti Non-Fat No Water Chai [btw….if you haven’t had one…you gotta try it …tell them Judy sent you]. The line reminds me of my military life – my life that is totally unpredictable and crazy but most of all fun and worthwhile. Yes maybe even some would say a dysfunctional military life.
The lady 2 people ahead of me obviously straight from the gym, toned arms and all (I think I hate her); then there is the army wife with 3 kids in tow just trying to get some caffeine so she can re-start her already hectic day (been there done that); the group of guys who if I had to bet on it haven’t been home since last night and are debating whether to pull an all-dayer to go with their all-nighter (so glad my college days are behind me); the soldier who obviously got stuck with duty this weekend trying to stay away for a few more hours til his relief gets in….and then there is me – straight from the muddy dog park, after dropping my husband off early for yet another week away in the field – my hair in a pigtail, no make up, covered in paw prints and smelling like the gourmet salmon flavored dog treats that are extra smelly just so my puppy pays attention when every other scent is tickling her nostrils (btw… it doesn’t work).
But here we are all of us and our different lives in line waiting together and instantly we bond over what is the common thread – our “ArmyStrong-ness”. Small conversations start-up because we are all here waiting for the doors to open and we have to pass the time somehow (oh did I forget to mention that I wasn’t the only one who thought it opened earlier than it does on Sunday 😉 ).
Beautiful arm lady is anxiously awaiting for her husband to return from a long year in Afghanistan, she can’t wait to see him and tell him in person that she reached her goal of losing 75 pounds while he was gone. My group of “party boys” all “newbies” to the Army leave for the same place within the week and are admittedly a bit frightened. The mom with the kids…her husband left this morning to go back to the sandbox after a much-needed 2 weeks of R&R and she’s really not sure how she’s gonna get through the day. And well the rest of us have the usual “Army life stuff” going on and just doing our best to find the bright spot in every day.
But the amazing part is that in this line there is no rank, there is no judgement, there is no “my situation is worse than yours”, and there is no “feel sorry for me”. It’s just a group of people who get what each others lives are like, and in the sharing of our experiences we end up supporting each other without even trying. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so beautiful out, or because it’s early on a Sunday it could even be that we all feel a little raw today, but it’s moments like this that make me proud to be in the military family.
No where else can such a diverse group of people come together and form instant bonds. No where else would frighten soldiers help out a frantic mom by holding her baby while she ran for her toddler. No where else would a muddy, hair pulled up, paw printed, dog treat smellin spouse who hadn’t had caffeine yet, feel so welcome. No where else but in this line, on this post and in this “family”. And the funny thing is that this family changes daily, new faces, new outfits, new situations but at the root of it we all have a silent bond that is ours to share no matter where we are, what line we are in, or who we are standing next to.
Yep its times like this that I’m proud to be part of this dysfunctional, crazy, fun and unpredictable group of people who have become MY military family.
If you like this and want more order your copy of Right Side Up here!
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com