Last night was one of those nights. A night for a “farewell”… to wish a friend good luck at the next duty station; to laugh at memories made over the last few years, months, weeks, and days; to promise future “girls weekends,” skype dates, and Facebook updates. Last night was a little extra difficult for me because it wasn’t just a fellow Navy spouse who we were “see you later-ing” it was the farewell dinner for one of my dearest friends – a true Navy sister.
All day today I’ve been thinking of the friendships I have made through the years as a Navy spouse. They are truly incredible. I know, for certain, that I am not alone in thinking that friendships made in the military community are some of the most unconditional, loyal, and beautiful friendships. Tonight, I write for my military friends. You know who you are, near and far…
To the girlfriends of USNA Mids who I met while dating my future husband… thank you for being part of those beginning months of my Navy life. What a journey it has been since those days of weekend liberty, Ring dance, and graduation.
To the wives I met through Paul’s flight school days… remember how we whined that we never knew what our husband’s schedule would be the next day?! How we waited (impatiently) for the schedule to come out and the instructor wives would roll their eyes and say, “at least they come home every night and aren’t on deployment… just you wait.” Yeah. Those instructor wives knew what they were talking about.
For all you, who lived in Kingsville, TX, with me and become experts in all things ranching, Bunco, and Wal-Mart. Those were the days! Nothing brings a group of ladies together quicker than having nothing better to do than window-shopping at Wal-Mart. No, but seriously, talk about long-lasting friendships.. that was TEN years ago.
Last but not least… the last days of flight school… when your favorite person in the whole wide world is flying a big ol’ airplane with a big ol’ radar dish on top and has to land (safely!) on a teeny tiny boat in the middle of the ocean. Nothing like waiting for that phone call to hear he made it.
To the friends I made when I was GIP (a.k.a. “Grumpy In Pax”)… Well, to you all… first and foremost I apologize. I was kind of grumpy for three years. Second and secondmost… thank you for being my friend anyway. Thank you for driving up to Waldorf or Annapolis or DC with me so we could get out of dodge for a few hours. Thank you for showing me new playgrounds to entertain my kids. Thank you for encouraging me when life was hard as a mom of two (and then three) little kids. Thank you for loving me when I was not my most loveable. The Navy is lucky to have ladies like you.
To the friends I found in the fleet… Well, shoot. Moving across country, dealing with the housing office, ever-changing work up schedules, debating which port call to go to, drama in the Spouse Clubs. It’s all a bit stressful, but it sure did give us lots to laugh and cry about together. Relationships that may not have ever gone past the point of acquaintance grew into amazing friendships based on commaradrie over not mowing our backyards until Housing mowed our front yards. Or during a long flight to a port call. Or finding out we hail from the same home state.
Not to mention the friendships that grew and solidified into something more like a sisterhood through deployments. When half my heart is on a boat on the other side of the world, life can be pretty lonely. When I only get to see my Hub’s face and hear his voice every 6 weeks or so, life can look pretty bleak. Deployments suck. But with friends like you, I made it through. We became friends over weird only-done-during-deployment traditions…
* We stuffed “cruise boxes.”
* We made calendar squares.
* We planned Halfway dinner.
* We wrote in code regarding portcalls and homecoming dates. (OPSEC, people!)
* We interupted conversations if we thought our husband was calling.
* We made banners and signs professing our love (and creative wittiness, sometimes) when Homecoming day neared.
And we became even better friends doing things that aren’t so weird and more every-day…
* We shared meals often.
* We drank wine often.
* We shopped often
* We literally worked our behinds off at the gym (more than often).
* We danced!
To all of my Navy friends… We have gone through so much – so many strange life events that are unique to the military life. Our friendships have been tested with abnormal stresses, incredible heart breaks, and long distances for long periods of time. Those tests have made me hate the Navy at times, ached to be “normal” and yet I wouldn’t change a single thing because I have been blessed with such amazing friendships. Thank you for being your awesome selves so I can have such awesome friends!