Unsung heroines: Military wives
Military veterans often hear someone say, "Thank you for your service." Usually, that is because some veterans wear a ball cap or some other indicia bearing witness that, when their nation called, they did their duty. Itís too bad military wives donít wear some indication of their service because if anyone deserves to be thanked itís the wives who staffed the home front, often raising the children alone, making sure the bills get paid, and worried that a next-of-kin Notification Team may show up at the door with grim looks on their faces.
Of course, there are times when military families are together, living lives somewhat similar to their civilian neighbors. Those are the happy times. But, all-too-often, the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine is overseas in harmís way, doing what they are trained and expected to do. Those are the unhappy times.
Unfortunately, there is no training manual for the military wife.* Still, they are expected to do an amazing variety of tasks, whether hubby is home or not. Imagine you are a military wife living overseas in some relatively secure environment. Without notice, your spouse is sent off somewhere in harmís way. You might be faced with arranging to get your familyís worldly goods back to the USA, with packing up, say, three kids (hopefully, not in diapers) and getting them safely home, finding a place to live, getting the kids in school, and, maybe, even finding a part-time job to help pay the monthly bills. All too often, military wives find themselves in such circumstances.
For many military wives, every day is like Ground Hog Day. Get the kids up, get them dressed and fed breakfast, pack them a lunch, and off to school, either by bus or in the family car. There is house cleaning and shopping for food. There is bill paying to do. At the end of the school day, the kids may need to go to the soccer field or piano lessons, whatever. The kids must be fed supper and homework assisted.
And that is the life of the stay-at-home military Mom. What if Mom has to work outside the home? The routine described above is complicated by arranging for a child sitter to fill the hours when the kidís schedule and Momís schedule do not mesh. And so, in either case, there is almost no time for Mom who must get up the next morning and repeat another Ground Hog Day, playing the role of mother and father to all the kids.
Of course, it helps to live on or near a military post or base where some helpful community services may be available. Fortunately, military wives tend to stick together, even if it is nothing more than providing a shoulder to cry on.
And letís not forget the wives of law-enforcement officers. While they may not face being moved around the world almost every year or a spouse overseas, there is always the fear the Police Chief may knock on the door bearing dreadful news.
We need a badge for military and law-enforcement wives to wear so people will say "Thank you for your service."
*Sometimes, the Dependent Spouse is male and the Military Sponsor is female. Not enough space here to elaborate.
©2021. William Hamilton.