Quite often I get the following exclamatory statement from strangers I meet, “You have got to be from the South!” I grin, nod, and proudly admit with a natural twang that both my husband and I are from the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. Needless to say, we stuck out at our first duty assignment as the Army sent us far away from home…over the Atlantic…and landed us in beautiful Germany (K-town for all of you that have shared the Germany experience). Although we were geographically displaced from family and friends, we couldn’t help but fall in love with all of Germany’s splendor – green rolling hills, pristine gardens, tasty vino, fresh bread and vegetables, friendly neighbors…it felt like home.
Shortly after arriving in Germany, we received orders that my Soldier would leave to go downrange within 60 days. Soon thereafter, we found out that we were expecting our first child. This news was quite a shock to us as we had been advised by numerous doctors our chances of conceiving were slim to none. Not the case. You all know as well as I do that life happens, literally, and we as Military Spouses have no choice but to make the best of not-so-ideal conditions. I wanted my husband there to share in the experience, but in his absence, I wanted my mama…my sister…my family and friends. An ocean away, I soon realized that it was my decision to face this like a big girl; this was the pivotal point in my Military Spouse mind of when I started to become engaged in the world around me. FRGs are always a great starting point, especially when there are amazing leaders in place setting the standard. Thank goodness our FRG Leader was amazing which started off our first FRG experience as a positive one. She was the first to reach out and offered personal support as she cheerfully accompanied me to one of my lonely ultrasound appointments. For the first time, I felt like I was home despite the circumstances and I am thankful for her. (Big Shout Out to Bev Clark). She remains in our family’s lives today and will be a friend and sister to me for all time. I know you all can name at least 2 “Bev Clarks” for every duty station you’ve been assigned!
The point is – you never know unless you are open to experience life around you….adventure after adventure. I urge new Spouses to jump right in and to bask in the infinite resources we have at our fingertips. Get involved. Make home wherever you may go. Home really is where your heart lives and no matter where the Army may send us, a little piece of my heart remains in the friends that we make along the way, the communities where we volunteer, the schools where our children or ourselves attend, and the combination of time, energy, and love that we pour without reservation into making this ever-adventurous lifestyle such a blessing.
Name: Malori Fuchs
How long have you been with your service member: 3 years – we met online in March 2010 and had our first date a few weeks later. We got engaged in December 2010 and plan on marrying in the spring of next year (2014)!
Your favorite duty station: My fiance is stationed at Ft. Hood, but I live in the Dallas area. What I’ve seen of the post/Killeen area is so-so, but I don’t have anything to truly compare it to. I’m looking forward to moving with him to Ft. Huachuca next year after we get married! I’ve heard great things about that area – I am especially looking forward to the mountains and getting away from all the Texas allergens…AND finally being married and eliminating the 3-hour gap between us! :)
What most inspires you: I love talking with seasoned military wives and retired veterans – they have SO much wisdom and are able to see the whole picture when I’m stuck in the moment.
If you could go back and tell your new-to-Army-life self any piece of advice, what would it be? I’d tell myself – and I keep telling myself, because I still am new – to be patient and just go with the flow. I am a detailed planner, and the hardest part about Army life is having plans be changed or delayed. But remember that life is an adventure and there is a silver lining to every cloud!
Share a favorite blog or website that inspires, helps or entertains you: My new favorite is www.JonAcuff.com. Jon is a motivational/career development speaker and author, and his books Quitter and Start, as well as his blog, have become instrumental in helping me work toward my dream of becoming a professional writer/author. His premise is how to make the transition from your “day job” to your “dream job,” which is quite relevant for mobile military wives. I highly recommend his work!
I also wanted to share that my favorite thing about the Army Wife Network is the weekly radio show! For my long commute to and from work each day, I will oftentimes download the podcasts to my phone and catch up on the many shows that happened before I ever discovered AWN. I have learned a lot and been very inspired by the topics and guests that Tara and Star host. Thank you so much for this resource!
We had the distinct honor to be part of the 2013 “Heroes at Home” Military Spouse of the Year event sponsored by The Flagship News which was held on May 9th in Virginia Beach, VA. The caliber of Military Spouse nominees was immeasurable due to the countless energy, dedication, and passion in which they serve not only their military communities, but to the communities where they worship, volunteer, and live. Although there could only be one title bearer, all of the nominees were honored for their daily sacrifices to our great nation; every attendee received a goody bag, catered lunch at the beautiful Founder’s Inn, and a program with top notch inspiring speakers.
As I sat there alongside our Sisterhood soaking up all of the Military Spouse appreciation in the room, my heart couldn’t help but be moved. Moreover, pride consumed the feelings reserved for all of the mothers in the room. Not only do these outstanding women sacrifice their time for the greater community through their volunteer and work efforts – they have mastered their time management skills all the while being a mother at the same time! I would assume that most moms inherently learned this skill with the first child and have only sharpened their time management skills with each additional child born into the mix. However, there is one huge missing piece of the puzzle that must be taken into consideration when single moms and most military mamas do not have the luxury of having their Spouse or partner at home to help on a daily basis.
So, with respect to Mother’s Day – I want to thank all military moms who are sharing this time exclusively with their children in the absence of their Spouse either on deployment, training, shore duty, or TDY. Although we are not spending this occasion in the company of our family circle, we share it with our Sisterhood now and every day.
Below is an article titled “Sisterhood” by Debby Giusti, which is an Army Spouse (RET). Although she may be writing as an Army wife, the sentiments and memories apply to the camaraderie among all military spouses:
“I am an Army wife, a member of that Sisterhood of women who have the courage to watch their men march into battle and the strength to survive until their return. Our sorority knows no rank for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles or nations to begin a new life with our Soldier husbands.
Unlike our civilian counterparts, we measure time not by age, but by tours – married at Knox, a baby born at Bliss, a promotion in Missouri. We plant trees and never see them grow tall, work on projects completed long after our departure and enhance our community for the betterment of those who come after us. We leave a part of ourselves at every stop.
Women of peace, we pray for a world in harmony and for the flag that leads our men into battle…Yet we are an optimistic group, thinking of the good and forgetting the bad, cherishing yesterday while anticipating tomorrow.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all “Heroes at Home” – our Sisterhood celebrates you always.
I have never been good at making friends. Like, ever. From as far back as I can remember, I have been told I “look mean.” Seriously. I never know what to say when someone I meet finally gets comfortable enough with me to say, “I thought you were mean.” Because, really, this face? Is nothing if not angelic (and fat). As a result, making friends has never been something at which I excelled.
My kid goes to an international kindergarten off post here in Korea. For seven hours a day, he is gone and I get to catch up on my crap television. (I do other things, like volunteer, but I’m rarely giddier than I am when I have a marathon viewing of Mob Wives or Mad Men.) The worst part for me as the most anti-social, anxiety-ridden mom ever is the bus stop. (The place, not the dance. I can totally rock the dance.) Waiting for the bus to arrive was something I dreaded, because if I was early or the bus was late, I’d *gasp* be forced to socialize with these people whom I didn’t know. (Okay, so as I write this, I am starting to understand the whole I “look mean” thing.)
There was this woman, Mary, who talked to everyone at the bus stop. Sweet, easy going, and funny, you could tell she didn’t want anyone to feel left out. One day, she approached me and she started to go into a diatribe about certain aspects of motherhood. And I? Felt like I met my female soul mate. As she put it so eloquently, “I love being a mother. Just not every day.” I knew I had to be her friend.
We are an unlikely pair.
She: Beautiful, hysterical, smart as a whip, teaches nurses how to be nurses, 40-something O6 Navy spouse.
Me: Fat, awkward, college dropout, teaches four-year-old son to fart on people, 20-something O2 Army spouse.
We ended up being friends. Best friends, even. We make each other laugh, and I think our friendship borders on inappropriate most days. Sending each other love songs via YouTube? Totally normal. When I was in therapy, I had a revelation that I was afraid of losing her friendship. After a session, I called her crying (biggest, fattest baby ever), pouring my heart out, letting her know how much her friendship means to me. That’s the kind of love I’m talking about.
Alas, she is PCSing in a few weeks. *insert hysterical crying/breathing into a paper bag here* I am not handling it well, because a.) I’m a big fat baby; 2.) Who is going to laugh at my jokes now? And iii.) Everyone I know is PCSing this summer, leaving me to fend for myself. How can I be president of the spouses club and not know anyone in it?!
PCS season, how I loathe thee. She will leave me on June 3rd, and I will be drowning myself in chocolate and crap television. When I’m done, I’ll put my big girl panties on, put myself out there for, like, the second time in my life, meet new people, and change the I “look mean” to I “look kind of nice.” We, military spouses, are on a whole other level of resilient.
On a positive note, we already have plans to meet up stateside in November. Our love will go on…
This month has started off with a bang for me! My birthday was May 3rd and that weekend, I went to Atlantic City with some of my closest friends. I also share my birthday month with Military Appreciation Month and Asian Pacific Heritage Month (I’m half Filipino!). It’s just a busy month for me!
Well, I wanted to share with you my filled-in questionnaire that has been passed around to all the amazing “Loving a Soldier” contributors.
Name: Rachel Tringali Marston
How long have you been with your service member: Together since 2011 – married since 12-22-12 (and no, that wasn’t planned!)
Your favorite duty station: I’m a newb, so I don’t have very much to compare, but I suppose I would say Fort Drum.
Why: It’s the duty station my husband was stationed at when we met and we’ve spent a lot of time there together. I really enjoyed exploring the area, especially with it being close (enough) to NYC! I loved being able to hop on a bus from a bustling city to a rural area like Watertown. It does a city girl good!
Your most challenging duty station: I would have to say my husband’s current duty station, Camp Red Cloud.
Why: While he’s away, I’m still here in New York. It’s been very challenging for the both of us to be newlyweds dealing with long distance. I’m learning to be a military wife from a distance too – and most of the time I feel lost. It was difficult enough with his TDY to Fort Huachuca for four months, now we’re oceans away!
What most inspires you: I find inspiration in a lot of things! Right now though, I would have to say other military spouses. It’s been VERY inspiring for me to meet and interact with so many amazing people in just my short time as a newlywed. When I was growing up, New York City inspired me a lot. I fell in love with the city when I was a young girl and I made it a goal in life to live here! It motivated me to excel in school and study here too! If it weren’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have had all the drive and motivation to move to New York City. They are the greatest support system I have and I wouldn’t be anywhere I am today without them!
If you could go back and tell your new-to-Army-life self any piece of advice, what would it be? Haha, what would I tell myself now? I suppose that I’ve been in this rodeo now for four months, so I’ve already had some taste of military spousedom. With that said, my advice would be: that your life is NOT over, just because you don’t know what’s going on right now. Take everything with a grain of salt and learn to appreciate what you do know…for example, that no matter where your husband is, he loves you, and that you love him. A year’s time will go by and if you keep your mind occupied on the stuff you can control, time will go by quicker.
Share a favorite blog or website that inspires, helps or entertains you: Not to toot my own horn here, but my blog, The Professional Army Wife has really helped me with occupying my time and keep my creative juices flowing. A huge website that really helped me with learning about Army wife life is the Army Wife Network! Seriously, it’s my go-to place if I find myself asking questions. I’m a fan of surfing around to other blogs of milspouses too! It is really inspiring to read about other stories out there and get to know a bunch of amazing people through their words!
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