Missed Connections: Truth in Commentary

If your spouse is deployed right now this will hit home without any extra help – if he (or she) is stateside, remember back to the last time he was gone. Recall with me that feeling of needy desperation as you waited hours, days and sometimes weeks for your phone to ring, hoping to hear his voice on the other side. Remember how you walked around, cell phone glued to your person, not knowing when it would ring, but determined to be there if it did. And remember the one time you left it in your car as you ran into the store for a mere two minutes, only to return and find that you had missed his first call in two weeks.

Feeling a little panicked by these memories? Me too. But they are real, they are raw and they are what military spouses everywhere deal with daily. (Excuse me while I pause writing to go find my phone ... you know, just in case).

We spend a lot of time here at SpouseBUZZ talking about how the “the media” misses the boat when it comes to describing the military experience. We’ve also talked about how fellow spouses have misrepresented us and our community in favor of easy-to-sell stories.

So it’s a good feeling when someone gets it right  -- really, really right – the way Siobhan Fallon did in an NPR commentary late last week on the challenge of waiting for the phone to ring. It starts like this:

The spouses of deployed soldiers have a desperate relationship with the phone.

You never know when it will ring. Even when you get an email that says your husband will call you at a certain time on a certain day, there are always last-minute patrols — sudden communication black-outs when all Internet and phone lines on the base are cut, or claims that "the satellite dish can't find the satellite." The randomness can drive a girl crazy. Because I had to answer that phone — especially since there was always an ugly whisper in my brain saying this just might be the last call my soldier would make.

Throughout her short piece she beautifully and eloquently puts into words exactly how I feel about the phone during my husband’s absences. Even now,  though he is TDY stateside and not overseas, I know that he will probably only have a chance to call me once Friday or Saturday after two weeks of no communication and before three more weeks of the same, and the desperation of not missing that call is starting to set in.

I have not been a fan of everything Ms. Fallon has written – in fact, I thought her debut book was way, way off target – but this is a commentary I am completely behind. Go check it out for yourself.

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