Why didn’t you tell me that the wives with years and decades of military life experience could be so mean to me, the bright eyed newbie?
When my husband and I first arrived at his new duty station, I was under the impression that my new life would play out just like an episode of Army Wives. I would meet a group of women all in different stages of life and we would have tons of chats over coffee and become the best of friends!
I was certain without a doubt that I would meet a “Claudia Joy”-- an officer’s wife who would help me and guide me through this whole wife thing. Sadly enough, this was not my experience.
Within a few weeks of arriving in our new home my husband's command held a small function that would allow all the families to meet. Since a deployment was nearing, I was more than hopeful that this would be my chance to make some friends.
You can imagine my dismay when I quickly found out just how out of place I truly was. At some point during our get together my husband went off with some of his shipmates and left me to introduce myself.
I was greeted and said hello to very politely, but after that first encounter everyone went off to go sit with their “groups.”
I felt so awkward standing there alone. I found a table, sat down, and stuck my nose in my phone--the way you do when you don't know what else to do.
This did not go the way I planned. This was not the Lifetime show I was expecting! I felt snubbed and my feelings were hurt.
Unfortunately for me, my husbands new command was very small and I was on the outs as the new wife.
There were several other get togethers and even one small FRG meeting after our husbands had deployed. I went to all of these events, hoping each time things might be different. Each time I said my hellos and then found a place to sit and wait till it was an appropriate time for me to leave.
I made the first step forward. Still, I really needed someone to take the next step and include me.
I could not understand what was happening. If I was an insider, I could never see someone who was new to a certain way of life and just watch them sit by themselves while I sat comfortably with my group and ignored them. Did these women not remember that they, too, were once the newbie?
Thankfully I’ve found some friends outside of my husband's command. Even though it’s still not the Army Wives life I thought it would be, I’m OK with that. I understand now that I was naive to expect that sort of life.
But I will keep with me my first impressions of these seasoned wives that I had looked up to. When the years have passed and I’ve gone from newbie to seasoned wife I will remember my experience.
I will seek out that bright eyed wife who is so far away from her family and her friends. I’ll take her in, and I’ll never make her feel like she’s on the outs.
Kyla is a new Navy wife who married her high school sweetheart. The couple is currently stationed on the East Coast.