One generation to another


While I was visiting my mom over the summer I had a conversation with a retired Army spouse that has stayed with me. I've wanted to write about it for months but wasn't sure if I could find the right words. I probably won't but here it is anyway!

Mrs. C is a petite elegant woman with a wicked twinkle in her eye. Mrs. C's husband was a career soldier who served in both Korea and Vietnam. And yet, when she saw Stretch and I come into the church that Sunday morning, she came up to us and thanked us for our service. Then she looked at me and told me how proud and in awe she was of us, today's military wives.

I was staggered. She went on to say that today's young women displayed such strength, enduring multiple deployments. I tried to point out that her generation were our role models, that they'd had to face many more hardships than we do. I said that at least we usually had good communication available to us. Her response seemed to indicate that maybe that was a double-edged sword for us. She pointed out that in her day, the war might be on the 6 o'clock news and that would be it. They didn't have to make a conscious effort to avoid reminders.

Recently, Sarah posted this and this about their current deployment. It made me realize that Mrs. C had another point about communication. It's great that we have so much available to us to stay in touch with our loved ones. But it's not so great if we become chained to our computers or phones, afraid we might miss a communication, and not going on living our lives.

Our first deployment was very old-school. We had snail mail that took a month or more to arrive. Stretch managed to phone home once before the invasion began. Our last deployment couldn't have been more different. He had access to email, was able to phone home once a week or so, and we were even able to schedule video teleconferences through Freedom Calls.

Was that last deployment better or easier than the first? No, not really. I wasn't as scared I might lose my husband but I also never left the house without forwarding our land line to my cell phone. And I never left the house without my cell phone, even if it was just to walk out into my front yard to watch the kids playing. I'm pretty sure the phones even went into the bathroom with me. They might as well have been surgically attached to me. Looking back, I'm not so sure that was particularly healthy. Perhaps I would have done better to just continue living my life.

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