You might have heard of this new show on Lifetime called “Army Wives.” It premiered last weekend. I haven’t seen it. I was mildly tempted to have the DVR record it, but in the end decided against it.
If I’ve read the commentaries correctly, the TV show opened with the teary good-bye of an officer’s wife whose husband left on a three-month tour of duty. Oh, please. Here’s the thing: by the time you are a high-ranking officer’s wife a three-month absence from your husband is like an extended weekend alone.
I have friends whose husbands are on their second deployment to the Middle East. They were gone for 12 months the first time around, and they are gone for 15 months this time around. Many of these men will come back home for less than a year before deploying again. And during that time they will be gone for weeks on end to train.
It is quite possible that your husband returns from Iraq in April. You all move to your new duty station in June (because you’ve just finished three years at your most recent post), and he’s in Afghanistan by July. You guys won’t have a year between deployments, because everything starts from scratch at the new assignment.
Many of us cannot rely on our husbands. This isn’t a criticism, but a fact of life. It’s not that my husband doesn’t want to be there for me or his children, it’s just that the Army and the mission come first [it’s the same for firefighters, police officers or E.R. doctors]. He works nights, and he works weekends. He works on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. His schedule changes from week to week. Making plans is difficult, because I have no clue what’s going on two weeks from now.
I don’t mind. It’s a royal pain sometimes, but I enjoy my life. I like moving. I like making new friends. I don’t particularly care about loosing those newly made friends again months down the road, but hey, more friends are arriving at the airport as we speak.
So when I read about teary wives at send-off ceremonies [a major unwritten no-no, btw] or wives who know more about weapons than their Special Forces husbands … I shake my head and program the DVR to record something else, something I know little about so I can’t tell how unrealistic it is (CSI anyone?!)