As we get ready to welcome 2013, we SpouseBuzzers have been thinking about what made 2012 fabulous, and there's only one answer: it was you, our fantastic readers.
You showed us through your clicks and comments what you really care about (and what you don't). You taught us valuable lessons about military life and opened our eyes to perspectives we'd never before considered.
To celebrate the year that is soon to be behind us, we thought we'd take you on a quick recap, in no particular order, of the top six things you've taught us.
1. How you want to learn of your spouse's death is really, really, REALLY important. When one Fort Stewart spouse learned via text message and Facebook that her husband had been killed downrange, we were, well ... "shocked" doesn't do our feelings justice. When, in April, a second found out via Facebook we knew we were witnessing a phenomenon that was not going to change. In these days of instantaneous information, even during a downrange blackout, we asked whether or not the notification process could be somehow sped up. The answer? Probably not. Because finding out from the guys in uniform on your doorstep that your spouse died is not only the way things "are supposed" to be done, it's the most respectful and honorable method we can think of. And that's what really matters.
2. It doesn't matter whether you're Guard, Reserve or Active -- we're all military spouses. When a Vermont-based recruiter's spouse blasted to the internet that Guard spouses aren't the real deal, a firestorm of "oh-no-she-didn't" rained down on her head. Because you've seen how hard deployments, reunions and everything in between can be for everyone -- no matter what service they are in, how long their separation is or what base or post they call (or don't call) home.
3. You are super tired of talking about infidelity. Good news! So are we. Why? Because we spent a lot of time discussing it this year. Whether it was through scandals at the highest level of our ranks or ill-conceived civilian perceptions of the level of faithfulness military spouses can expect, that topic is done ... and for a long time, we sincerely hope.
4. You are very opinionated about military balls. What should you wear? What should you not wear? What should you wear or do if you're a ManSpouse? How should you act? We tried to give you a hand with all these questions this year and you showed us one thing very clearly -- despite the existence of some very clear-cut "official" military issued guidance on the subject, there is no general consensus from you on any of these topics. So let the debate rage on.
5. Your career (or lack thereof) still worries you. It doesn't matter what fancy programs the White House roles out, what promises of help the federal government gives or what policy changes states make. Your career and education still worry you. Can you get a rewarding job in your career field after you move? Will you be able to pay off your student loans? We're worried, too, and we'll continue to watch for ways to help you out.
6. Military marriage is hard, but you're going to make it. Jacey is always telling me that no one likes being a military spouse -- because no one aspires to the marital dream of bidding their spouse "farewell" for months at a time over and over again. And she's right. Military marriage is a huge challenge. But we know that you can do it -- because you've told us that you can. We know that the reason you value military life is because of the pride you take in your spouse's service and sacrifice. You savor the little things. You muddle through the journey. You stand tall.