With the Olympics recently on my mind, I couldn’t help but imagine Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir's commentary on my military spouse life.
"She's attempting to get two babies to the CDC, this is a tricky maneuver, Tara, we've seen her stumble on this one in the past."
"Great point, Johnny, she mastered the swing of one baby to daycare with relative ease but handling a toddler and infant has posed a real mental challenge. I'd love to see her overcome it today, but I am not sure it's her time."
"And Tara, it matters more today than ever, the spouse next door, an upstart at 24 years old is currently trying to get out the door with her three month old. She gets extra points for attempting this with a deployed spouse."
"Well said, and we see the baby go into the infant seat. That was a smooth placement; her confidence is skyrocketing. She steps back to wrangle the toddler. Wait, oh no, Johnny, that's not what we wanted to see."
"No it isn't, perhaps one more burp before placing the baby in the seat and that spit up incident could have been avoided, unfortunately her haste will result in a point deduction. Meanwhile her next door neighbor is moving toward the minivan..."
Yes, as military spouses we support each other in ways big and small: helping out with child care, meal trains galore and patronizing each other's business ventures but we can also be a competitive bunch -- really competitive.
We share our brand of war stories openly, frequently and with pride. There's nothing like listening to two military spouses trying to upstage each other with tales of 20+ hour natural labors endured alone in strange cities (and sometimes countries). I recently listened to a woman brag about having her third child while her spouse was deployed and ignoring a persistent pain following the birth for so long that she actually had to crawl to a neighbor's home for assistance (it turned out that her gallbladder was badly infected).
Friends, really, must we fight to be the biggest martyr? Or at least, if we must, can we please standardize it to easily determine who wins the military spouse games?
Below is your scorecard. Fill it out, share it with your friends, and then bring the winning spouse a bottle of wine and a reminder to accept assistance, because after all, this is a team sport.
P.S. -- My score is 14.
· One point for each year married with an active duty spouse.
· Dual military? One point for each year you served active duty during the marriage.
· One point for each child you delivered alone while your spouse was deployed.
· One point for each move you did solo while your spouse was deployed.
· One point for each Christmas and Thanksgiving you spent away from your spouse due to deployment.
· One point per kid in your care, per month that your spouse was deployed.
· One point per hospitalization during a deployment.
· One point for each CONUS move.
· Two points for each OCONUS move.
· One point for each experience of camping out in your home waiting for your household goods to be delivered.
Aimee Lorge lives in California with her active duty Navy Supply Corps husband and two children. When not participating in the Military Spouse Olympics she teaches college classes and writes at www.aimeelorge.com.