I had worked for years with the military as a contractor before I met and dated my husband. After several deployments as “just the girlfriend,” I was so excited to get the upgrade to wife status.
I wanted the ugly beige ID card. The Facebook groups and events. The noted support available to all military spouses. I was ready, and totally excited to be admitted to that elusive, exclusive group.
Little did I know that I would be so horribly terrible at it. I volunteered at the spouses club for my husband’s unit. I joined the officers’ spouses club on base. I was there. I was ready.
And I was such an outcast.
Being relatively “old” for a new spouse, I was depressed that my social security number was no longer valid and my career didn’t mean much. I didn’t have a ton in common with my new support system – my broken uterus (no kids), veganisim (so many pinterest recipes I hadn’t tried but looked delicious) and years of not owning a TV left many conversations in awkward silence.
Then I found out my cookie baking skills were way subpar. My finely developed sarcasm and somewhat off color sense of humor (so valued by the active duty military!) got me only a polite smile and a quick exit from the conversation.
These other military spouses were all married to guys that I work with. I had just assumed that if I got along so famously with their husbands, I would automatically hit it off with the wives they had talked about so warmly. Again, I was wrong.
Please don’t understand me. I met some amazing women who I hit it off with. I met many more who were interesting and hilarious. I can do my commanders wife duty and make the child birth lasagna with the best of them, bring coffee to the holiday and late shifts, and my cookies are delicious, if lacking is ascetic quality. I try my best to volunteer when I can, but still feel like a total failure in the spouse department.
But I’m learning its OKAY.
I’ve given myself a pass to be bad at it. I have years to learn how to do this. I will likely never be the next president of any spouses club, but then again I wasn’t voted prom queen either. However, I still am great friends with those girls from high school, and the few friends I’ve made here I know will be friends for life.
I know may not be a great military spouse, but I’m a damn good friend. And we all need plenty of those.