Me? I have no enthusiasm left for military life today. This is a day I am so tired of living apart from my darling that I am likely to troll the streets of suburbia counting how many husbands are actually home. And mowing their grass. Or smokin’ it….
If you are married to your favorite person in the world and they are gone a lot, consider the occasional day of rock-bottom enthusiasm normal.
Yet “normal” does not mean that I oughta crawl back into my jammies and eat a box of Popeye’s fried chicken all by myself. I need to recharge. Barring a Hello Kitty costume in my size, what kind of things can we do to renew our energy for military life? Here are a few that work for me. What would you add to my list?
1. Road trip! I keep a folder of all the magazine and newspaper articles I find about things to do within a couple of hours of my house. I keep ads for antique malls. Places that sell blackberry pie. Restaurants with the most amazing pork cutlet sandwich in the world. Spooky statues that are supposed to come alive when you sit in their laps. On a low enthusiasm day, a road trip with the kids to one of these garden spots tends to spark that delight I have with all the places the military sends us.
2. Get out the wedding photo. On the day we got married, my husband and I were certain to the depths of our bones that even a few days together would be better than a lifetime apart. Somehow the photographer caught that that idealism in our faces. Even on a low-enthusiasm day, I know we were right.
3. Read Carla Kelly novels. If you don’t mind a romance novel, try dipping into Carla Kelly. All of her heroes are military guys during the Regency period in England. She writes about the kind of military guy I know—the kind whose service is not just a J-O-B, but the kind who serves because this is who he is. And her heroes really crave their own wives. I like that.
4. Host an impromptu reunion. Host a reunion with friends from your last duty station. I’d love to touch base with all the stroller moms I used to hang out with when we were stationed in Monterey CA. FaceTime group chat them. How many old friends can you get on the phone at the same time?
5. Send a care package. Nah, not to your spouse. To one of those old stroller mom friends who could use a little cheering up.
6. Hoist your flag. I don’t fly my American flag every day. But when I do I feel little more on the cheery side.
7. Go to the commissary. Old people cheer me up. Babies make me feel better. On a low enthusiasm day, a visit to the commissary reminds me that the time my husband and I are actually apart is not forever. At the commissary, I see people who are like me now. I see mommies who remind me who I used to be. I see couples shopping together who look just like how Brad and I will look someday when he is home forever.
8. Look at the Facebook pictures of your high school class. Do you really wanna live in Sandusky all your life??
9. Attend an event for your unit. Even if your FRG meetings are far away or at an inconvenient time or never provide cookies, it is so worth it to attend an event. I just like to talk to other people who know that three months left of a nine-month deployment is not “almost done.”
10. Get in touch with your love. Research shows that the number one person military spouses rely on for help is…their own service member. In his wallet, my husband keeps a list of things to say to me on a low-enthusiasm day. And somehow this always makes me feel a lot like a Chihuahua in a Hello Kitty suit.
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