The Spouse Role Outside Tradition


I'm a klutz.  I have had life-long dreams of being one of those graceful and gracious ladies who is always dressed impeccably and says the right thing at the right time in the perfect tone of voice.  Basically, I've got dreams of being Andi when I grow up. 

But, alas, it doesn't seem to be in the cards for me.  If there are stairs, I fall down them.  If there is a conversation, I'm one of the loudest participants.  If there is a serious discussion I'll be the first one to bring up sex or poop.  Inadvertently, of course.  And that is not even getting into that whole situation where I was visiting the White House with the back of my skirt split, completely oblivious to the fact that everyone had a full view of my control-top knickers.

My klutziness, though, seems to run in cycles.  The cycles usually center around when I'm expected to be most gracious and competent.  You know, like when the general visits or something.  Try as I might, I just cannot fit into that professional military wife groove so beautifully illustrated by Julie Moore, the wife of Gen. Hal Moore (We Were Soldiers, Once, and Young). 

What is worse is that I've been absolutely blessed during hubby's career to be surrounded by a set of military people (and I do think that this is the normal group personality) who have been utterly forgiving of my awkward personality tendencies.  Sex and poop humor aren't as verboten as they would be, say, at the Queen's table.  And I'm usually not the only one speaking at a decibel level designed to be heard over the roar of a jet engine in the library.  How is this worse?  Well, someday I'm going to have to live with NORMAL people!  I may end up as a crazy cat lady.  Or in jail.  At the very least, I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be the neighbor whose name is mentioned with a pitying shake of the head and some tongue clucks. 

When I found out that several areas in Great Britain and Northern Ireland had instituted a system to protect people against behavior deemed "harassing" or "distressing" by issuing ASBO's, I also figured out the reason hubby has never gotten accompanied orders for overseas, despite the fact that we've been trying to get them since 1998.  Somewhere I must have made a list of people to watch for possible tendencies towards creating international incidents.  What if I promise to be good, guys?  Will that help?

I'm reminded of my clumsiness every time I watch Army Wives and Claudia Joy has a scene.  My goodness, does that woman NEVER become flustered?  My first inclination to some of the situations she encounters is a taser.  Which probably explains every single reason why I'm not able to be a Claudia Joy in real life.  And, lets face it, even though Denise doesn't ooze competence out of her every pore and expression like Claudia Joy does, she's certainly lady-like and regal in her own way. 

I guess I could be regal.  Oh, wait, that would be imperious.  Which is probably why God decided to inject me with that vein of klutzy awkwardness.  It keeps me humble.  It's pretty hard to be anything but humble while people rush over to see if you've survived your amazingly gymnastic tumble down the front steps of the State House.

Luckily, the miltary life isn't as cut and dried and marching in lockstep as people with no connection to it might think.  So far, I've fit right in.  The weird one, sometimes (or maybe more often than sometimes), but there has always been a place for me.  A great place.

And maybe someday I'll even grow up to be Andi.  :)

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