Monday, June 7, 2010

My first article for Blue Star Families








Recently I got an awesome opportunity to write a piece for Blue Star Families.

I am so thrilled to be able to contribute to such a fantastic military family organization. For my first assignment G.I. Joe and I got to try out their Blue Star Museums program that launched Memorial Day. So here's my article and be sure to see which of your local museums are participating in the program. If your active duty, in the Guard or Reserves you and your family can get into these museums free of charge! There is a wide selection of participating museums, which means you can either bring the whole family or go to a more adult friendly art gallery for a nice date like we did.








Today my soldier and I finally made time to do something. I had said for over a year that I wanted us to go on a date to the Fine Arts Museum and the Blue Star Families promotion gave us a reason to go. The opportunity couldn’t have had better timing—bright and early Saturday morning he’ll be leaving again. This time it’s only for three weeks but when you’ve been separated as much as we have you can’t help but think things like “AGAIN? You’re leaving again and we still can’t go with you?!” After spending our first three of marriage living in different states and countries these “little” occasions are still counted as days apart. I know what some of you may be thinking and what some will say to me on Facebook if I let my feelings about this slip. Yes, I’m very thankful he’s not leaving for a year or going off to war. We’ve done that. And, we’ll be doing it again in the future.

That’s why I dislike these “smaller” or “less important” separations. For us this particular farewell is just the start. These three weeks will be my soldier’s last ones with his National Guard unit before he transfers into a part of the Army that will have him gone more often than he’s home. Over the past year we’ve waited for the Guard to release him early and grown more and more frustrated when they didn’t. Now that the time has come I want the days to drag. For just a little while I wanted to be a “normal” couple. During most of our entire marriage so far my husband was either in combat or training troops for combat. Operation Iraqi Freedom is given more thought and consideration in our house than what we should have for dinner each night.

This afternoon that wasn’t the case. Normally we’re “Mr. and Mrs. G.I. Joe.” He’s a King of Battle and I’m the girl everyone comes to when their husbands leave because they know I’m an unfortunate expert. But today we were able to just be. As we strolled through the galleries I completely forgot about the pile of uniforms and socks waiting at home to be washed. There was no internal debate going on in my head about whether to send cookies or muffins with my soldier for the unit. All I had to do was hold my love’s hand and try to convince him that nothing beats the works of European Impressionist artists.

After being there a while he started to let go too. I could tell that he had cleared his head when he started a futile argument with me that American art, or American anything for that matter, is the best…simply for the reason that it’s a product of the Stars and Stripes. Later this evening I know he’ll be thinking about it. He’ll remember that he has three weeks left to impart all the knowledge and training he can to his unit because once he transfers to Active Duty they’ll be on their way to Afghanistan for a year.


I’m as proud as the next wife. Wherever I go I find ways to tell waiters and bank tellers that I am married to soldier. If people ask when he’s getting out I say they’ll have to kick him out when he’s old and senile because he loves this country so much. Sometimes though, you have to give yourself a break. Constantly thinking about war, the number of days you’ve spent apart, and missed holidays is not healthy. That’s when depression and self-pity set in. Its okay to go out for an afternoon and have your biggest concern be trying to get your husband to feel something when he stares at that black expressionist cube. There will be plenty of time later when you need to convince him his daughter won’t be terribly mad at him for leaving yet again. This afternoon was our day. Instead of sitting in a dark theater we talked. We held hands. And to everyone else at the museum we were nothing more than an ordinary couple in love.



15 comments:

Antiope said...

What a beautiful post. You described what it means to be a military wife - the small bits of happiness, the weariness of long deployments, the profound understanding it takes to support your Soldier. Thank you, from both a Soldier and Army wife, for being so strong.

lola said...

love the article. It's so true :)

Julie the Army Wife said...

Lovely article. I am getting ready for about 2.5 weeks of my soldier being away from us. He just did 3 weeks not too long ago. I feel a little bad complaining because it isn't a deployment but it still sucks. Plus the deployment will come again too. Glad you guys go to get out and feel normal. I love doing stuff like that :)

Amanda said...

What a great article!! First off, I love the pictures! And I'm so glad you got to spend some alone time with your honey.
And I absolutely wouldn't blame you at all if you cried and complained about your hubby being gone. Not one bit. Whether he's gone for two hours or two years, it's still time away and you deserve to feel any way that you want to feel. People can shove it if they want to say anything nasty about you missing your hubby. You're a great and strong woman and I know that I am thankful for your and your husbands service and sacrifice.
I can't wait to read more of your articles!

Charity said...

Wonderfully written, I am sure I will be rereading this again when our separations begin.

....mrs.wood..... said...

that was a lovely,well written(as always) article! pu'ali and i are looking forward to our musuem date next month, it is such a great way to spend a day.

Ashley said...

Beautifully written, a tear came to my eye!! HUGS!!

Alia said...

That was so beautifully put. I love when us military people can just "be" as you said, it's such a nice change from reality :)

Blessing said...

Lovely article, and you have made my day!

www.musingsofanarmywife.blogspot.com

JG said...

Great post! And I love your pictures.

Wife on the Roller Coaster said...

You already know I loved this post. Just wanted to say it again! Love the pics too.

Crazy Shenanigans said...

Congrats on the article!!!!

September Love said...

Love, love, love! You have such an excellent voice for writing, J! <3

Amanda said...

We'll be taking a trip this summer, and plan on taking advantage of the museum program to take our boys to the Little League museum along the way.

Man do I hear your frustration about being a Guard family but all your time is spent getting ready to go or separated. It doesn't matter where they are, they're gone. They're not home experiencing family life with you, and it sucks. I don't get into the pissing matches over whose separation is worse. When your soldier is away, they're away, and it all sucks the same. Although I think the short trips are sometimes worse just because as soon as you get into a routine, they come back. It's jarring. (((HUGS)))

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I know I already told you but I love it!