The Bleed-Over Effect


Military life doesn't just affect our lives. Often, it bleeds over into the lives of our close friends and family. We've discussed this topic before here at SpouseBUZZ.

Last week I was talking to a military spouse whose husband is currently deployed. We were talking about how her mother has been an enormous help, even though she lives several states over. My friend's mother recently flew in to take care of the children so that my friend could attend an out-of-town function. A function that she wouldn't have been able to attend without someone taking care of the children while she was away.

This conversation made me think about the mothers in my life, and they deserve some kudos for taking the bleed-over effect and running with it.

It seems that events I don't want to miss always seem to crop up right in the middle of a deployment, and those of us with kids, or in my case, a dog, are left wondering how we can pull it off, or if we can pull it off.

During my husband's last deployment, I was invited to attend the premiere of The War Tapes at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. I had met the director and one of the stars and I really, really wanted to attend the premiere, but I had a problem. A four-legged one. I wouldn't board my dog. He was spoiled rotten, had never been boarded or kenneled and didn't take kindly to having his routine turned upside-down. Mom to the rescue. My mother flew into Washington to spend some quality time with her four-legged grandson and off I went to New York for a weekend that I'll never forget. (By the way, if you haven't seen The War Tapes, I highly recommend it. I noticed that The Military Channel was running the film a couple of weeks ago.)

Later, during that same deployment, I had another dilemma. Each spring, I take my nieces and nephew to a beach in South Carolina. I rent the same house each year. In fact, the little ones call it "Aunt Andi's summer home." I wish.... My "summer house" doesn't accept pets and my annual trip was looking like it wouldn't happen. I told my husband that the trip was off because I couldn't leave the dog. From Afghanistan, he called his mother, who then called me and said, "you go and I'll come babysit my grandson." The annual tradition was saved!

Both of these ladies put their lives on hold for a few days, traveled considerable distances (and let's not forget the hassle of negotiating airport security) and burned some of their vacation time because my husband was deployed and they wanted me to be able to enjoy some things that I really wanted to do. Both knew that if my husband had been home, I wouldn't have had to think twice about whether or not I could travel. Both knew that my dog is more like a child and as silly as it must seen to some, they knew that I wouldn't leave him in a kennel.

I'm grateful to both of my mothers for their love and support and I'm lucky to have such a wonderful family to step and give me the valuable gift of some fun, entertainment and a distraction from the deployment. As I said at the top, this life tends to have a bleed-over effect, and it's not always in this way, where our families step in to help. Sometimes the bleed-over effect means that we miss out on family functions. Yet another reminder that our families serve too.

Related SpouseBUZZ posts:

The Grass isn't Always Greener on the Other Side

Sisterly Love

Memorial for Mom

The Absentee Auntie/Sister/Friend

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