I mostly write about our Japanese Cultural experiences, but my sentimental side is in full-swing at the moment, so I'd like to dedicate this blog entry to military spouses. Although we are civilians, I am not completely immune from being a part of a military community. Previous to coming to Japan, we lived in a Navy town for many years. I have had many co-workers and friends whose spouses were deployed at one time or another.
Back in 2003, my friend's husband was on a 9 month deployment on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson. She had 3 young children ages 3-8 to contend with and I watched her as she held down the fort, dealt with all the emotional issues with the kids not having their dad around, connected with her friends in her spouses group, and utilized some of her civilian friends for additional support. I was amazed at how she handled everything, even though it was a daily challenge.
This was my first real taste of being around a military spouse. Now, on a daily basis, I'm surrounded by these amazingly strong women (and some men too). They are the most flexible and independent people I have ever met. Having to deal with everyday issues, regular moves, changes in orders and often doing these things with a deployed spouse is commendable. Many of the Navy spouses here have "deployment wives", playgroups, social groups, sports teams, their jobs, Command spouses groups, and do volunteering for support, personal enrichment, or stress relief.
As a civilian, I can't completely relate to having a spouse who is deployed because my spouse's job is here. The one area I can help is to offer my support. I can help with carpooling, babysitting, shopping and to be a good listening ear. My offers are sincere, and I am more than willing to help.