I once wrote about "Those Wacky Civilians." It was a humorous post about the disconnect that sometimes occurs between us and them, and it was certainly not meant to denigrate civilians, but rather to point out the obvious - sometimes it's hard for them to understand the totality of this life we lead. After I published the post above, I received a huffy email from a civilian who threatened to sic the civilian police on me and take away my right to interact with the civilian community, or something like that. I tried to explain that my post was all in good fun, that I actually do love civilians and that my family and a large percentage of my friends are civilians, so I really needed to be able to interact with them. Okay, that's not exactly how I put it, but whatever I said must have resonated because the civilian constable never showed up on my doorstep and I retain my privileges to speak to civilians to this day.
Today, I'm going to praise a civilian who recently said something that left my jaw on the floor.
We've had discussions many times in the past about how civilians say they could never do what we do. All the moving. The deployments. The separations. Moving kids in and out of schools. With the war front and center these days, I think it's perfectly natural for civilians to view military life primarily through the hardship lense. They are largely more sympathetic and supportive than ignorant, at least that's been my experience.
I must say though, I've never had someone tell me they envy me. Not until Saturday evening, that is. This past weekend, we drove to Baltimore to meet up with my husband's childhood friend, his wife and children. A great, great family.
Out of the blue, Crissy, we'll call her, said to me, "I think you have the best life imaginable. I've often told Joe that if we didn't have our family and if I could trade places with anyone, I would want your life. You get to travel and meet new people and you always seem to be involved in interesting things. I think you two have the perfect life."
The perfect life?
I had to stop the urge to run out, purchase a tape recorder and make Crissy repeat that statement so I could play it over and over again. It was stunning to hear. Stunning, and wonderful. Crissy will never know how much I appreciate her words. She was just making conversation, but her words left me feeling like I was walking on air. I've thought about her statement many times since Saturday and each time it brings a smile to my face. I didn't hear pity or sympathy and I didn't feel like I was talking to someone who thought I had three heads. Crissy thinks my life is one great big adventure. And you know what, she's right - it is.
Thank you, Crissy. I needed that.
Updated: More here.