Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some days you are that Military Wife...

Some days you are that Military Wife in the Commissary who is feeling good and looking good. You feel on top of the world and that you can handle anything that deployment has to throw at you and then some. You easily find a parking spot. You walk in and the “Pick-up Truck” cart that your children always want seems to be waiting there just for you. You swing by the bakery to find a little snack that the kids will enjoy (and keep them entertained) as you do your shopping. They both want the blue iced puppy dog cup cake. But when you arrive over there, there is only one lone blue puppy amongst the litter of red and yellows. Because things are going so well, they decide that they would like to “share” the last blue one so neither has to go without. Oh, they are angels. They stay with the cart and walk along right with you. They use their perfect manners and inside voices. You are good, they are good and Mr. Bluebird is practically singing on your shoulder. You have a warm smile for everyone you meet and they for you. You easily do your shopping, zipping down the isles and through the checkout and home with ease.

THEN, there are the days you are the Military Wife that pulls into the Commissary and find the one remaining parking spot at the very end of the lot. Not quite across the street at the PX, but pretty close. You and the kids make the trek into the Commissary only to find that not only are there not any Pick-up Truck carts, that there are no Space Ship carts either. There is unfortunately the extra, extra long cart with the 2 side seats in it. Although navigating that monster through the slender isles of the Commissary will need upper body strength of a platoon, the kids are begging for it. You weigh their begging against the fact that you know half way through the store, they will abandon the cart to walk, and you will be left pushing the “Winnebago” of shopping carts while also looking for your children that have just run off in opposite directions. You decide to go ahead and get the cart. You head over to the bakery to discover the lone blue puppy dog cupcake. But on this day, your kids are not in the sharing mood. They begin to fight over who is going to get it. No, the red one is not good enough, the yellow either, not even the ladybug cupcake or the Dora the Explorer cookie will suffice. The kids are still arguing, the lady behind the counter is getting impatient, and you hear yourself say, “If you do not find something to share or find something you both want, then we don’t need to get anything at all.” That stops their arguing long enough to decide on one clown cookie and one brown dinosaur. So as you go about your shopping, the kids are silently eating, you dig through your purse only to find that you have left your grocery list in the car. No way are you going back out to get it. So you aimlessly wander down each isle trying to remember what you needed as “Mom…Mom…Mom” rings out. You turn around to answer your kids only to find out they are not your kids. You have become so use to "Mom…Mom…Mom" that you answer to any child saying it. Your eyes meet with another woman looking and feeling like you, disheveled hair, eyes like pinwheels. The kids have decided they want to jump ship (cart) and walk. You knew that was going to happen. But actually it is ok because the cart is getting heavier and the less weight will help. The kids are asking for everything they see. Every sugary good product that they know you never buy but thought they would ask “just one more time”. Your daughter then informs you that ALL of her friend’s Mothers buy it, and she is the only one who NEVER gets to eat it. Your son in the meantime is rearranging the shelves for the stockers.

In front of you is the lovely Retired couple who walk cautiously and slowly through the isles enjoying their new time. And behind you is the person who is in a rush on their lunch hour. You seem to be going too fast to suit the Retirees and too slow to suit the lunch hour person. Every time the Retired couple stops, you stop, which causes the impatient person behind you to run into the back of you…for the third time. Once there is a break in the cattle lines, the impatient person behind you zips around you, giving you “the look” and races on. Once you have completed your shopping (or at least as far as you can tell, b/c you left your list, remember) you head to the checkout line. You are driving the “Winnebago” of shopping carts, it is full, items falling off. Trying to snake it through the teeny, tiny roped line is like driving an old truck without power steering. The kids have not said a word to you or asked you a question, so as you are waiting in line you decide to pick of the latest issue of Woman’s World Magazine and pass your time reading. As soon as you do, the kids want to know and ask a million questions. So, you put the magazine down to answer the questions. But once you do, they no longer want to know the answers. You decide it is too much trouble to pick up the magazine again, and decide to study your children instead. They are your angels, they are the light of your world. The bright spot in your day. You look lovingly at them. And just then, your son does a karate kick that accidentally hits his sister. The arguing starts again. You explain that it was just an accident but all she screams is “he did it on p-u-r-p-o-s-e and you always take up for him”. Ugh, you are almost there, you are next in line to hear “NEXT PLEASE”. You have your groceries, you have your kids, and you are paying attention to the sign. Then simultaneously as your son runs off to the right because he spots “bad guys” under the gum counter, your daughter while practicing her cheer moves, knocks into the Toblerone display knocking it over, and as if in unison, “NEXT PLEASE” rings out. You look to your son, you look to your daughter, you look to see which isle is lit up, you flex your muscles to get the cart started to move, and the person behind you rudely says “Excuse me, but are you going or what?” Pretty much the very last thing you needed to hear. You get to the checkout line, gather your kids and unload your cart. You reach into your wallet to get out your ID Card. It is not in your wallet. You search through your purse. No where. You start to panic at the thought of your Husband having to file a report to get you a new ID Card and all the red tape that comes with that. Finally you have to dump out your entire purse on the counter. Out comes your make up bag that wasn’t zipped so it all spills out, along with birthday party invitations, a plastic army man, a piece of gum that looks to have been chewed by your 4 year old, then wrapped back up b/c it was too hot. A pile of Walmart and PX receipts, luckily no tampons, but still no ID Card. The kids are whining, the cashier is very irritated. You look again, you find lint, the shopping list you thought you left in the car, a Hershey kiss…(oh, a Hershey kiss. It feels just like Christmas and you imagine how you will let it melt in your mouth when you get home. Now you tell yourself to stop focusing on the chocolate and get back to the ID Card). You go back to your wallet and there inside is the ID Card. Laughing at you b/c it was hiding. You check out, load everything in the car, the kids fall asleep, you pull into your drive way and now must drag all of the bags inside and unload them alone b/c your husband is deployed. You just can’t seem to face it right now. So instead, with children still sleeping, you pull out the Woman’s World, dig out the Hershey’s kiss and you silently relax in your driveway, with the car still idling. Once again, all is well.

The point is, we have ALL been the first Military Wife and we have ALL been the second one. And probably most all of us has even been the third one. You know the one where your husband is home, the kids are playing with him, and you don’t have a care in the world as you stroll through the isles with a package of Doritos and a Dr. Pepper leisurely looking at anything and everything that catches your eye. And surrounding you are all the Military Wives who were like you were last week in scenario number 2.

Gentle Tips of Reminder…

If you are Military Wife scenario #1 or #3- Be extra kind to Wives in scenario #2. They need it.

* Greet them with an encouraging warm smile
* Compliment how well behaved her children are, so she must be a great Mom
* Don’t just say “Hey you dropped something”, stoop down and pick it up for her
* Tell her how pretty she looks in that color
* Let her go in front of you in line
* Help her retrieve an item from the shelf as she is balancing the cart, the children, and perhaps a melt down

Look for ways to show kindness to fellow Military Wives. We have all been there!

*And don’t be the person in line who says “Excuse me, are you going or what?” That is rude and unnecessary. And it is not how we should treat and support one another.

*Also, be very kind and understanding to the Retirees you meet. For one day, if you are lucky, that will be you! And you will look back and feel proud of the honor you showed them.

If you are Military Wife scenario #2- don’t take out your hard day on others.

* We have all been where you are
* Tomorrow will be better
* People are just trying to help
* And you will never be proud of yourself for mistreating or being rude to someone just because you are having a difficult day
* Those are the days that our true character is shown in how we treat others when things are not going our way

And remember, the Post is a small, intimate Community. It is very likely that you will run into the person that you showed rudeness or unkindness towards. Always try to keep your patience and manners so you do not have to be embarrassed for your behavior later. You just might have been talking to your Chaplain’s Wife, your Child’s Teacher, your new Neighbor or you Husband’s Commander’s Wife. Regardless, you are talking to another Military Wife and Mother. Speak to them the way you would like to be spoken too.

If you show kindness in a Military Wife’s time of need, someone will be there to show kindness in yours. That is how our Community succeeds!

1 comment:

  1. That was a wonderful post! I have been all 3 at one point or another. And it is soo frustrating when you are trying to have a good day and things just are not working. But I do know that sometimes, I am in a hurry and really just want to get outta there--like on payday, lol. I probably need to slow down more and just breathe. I will get out of there eventually. ^_^

    My favorite is when we were in Europe and some days my debit card wouldn't work because of whatever affecting the system. And it was always *my* card, not my hubby's or anyone else's, but mine. Embarrassing! Everyone behind me would glare at me like "How dare you get in MY line without proper payment?" I was already beet-red and mortified enough, without it being glared in my face. Noone would stop glaring, tapping their feet, or say "Oh, I've been there; it's okay." Especially with my hubby being gone, a nice "It's okay" statement would've made me feel easier than ready to cry my eyes out for one more bad thing happening.

    And I have soo been there with the ID card just surprisingly disappearing at the worst of times. It's worse than socks sometimes! LOL. :)

    Love the blog and I will be back to read more!
    Sonja A.

    p.s. Looking at the positive side of life is sometimes easier said than done and I am trying to though. This is a great blog to help that.