26 April 2009

Army Wives...psshhht.

The shows are super cute, with the hugging and the crying and such. There’s always the token chick sleeping around on her husband while their kid is struggling to understand why Daddy is gone. There’s always the industrious overachiever, who is going through med school, law school, and learning the finer points of obscure Russian literature while nursing a newborn and making chicken parmesan from scratch. What they don’t show is the average, forty-hour-a-week working, baby on the hip, pot roast-and-salad-making-girl in a tank top and slacks (because the baby wanted to be held halfway through changing).

Yup, in a nutshell, that’s what a lot of us are. Well, the “us” that I choose to associate myself with, anyway. By “we,” I mean soldiers’ wives, and by “associate with,” I mean come within a hundred yards of.

Underneath the thin veneer of superficial relationship solidity and synergy is a maze of judgment, hatred, and general gated-in suburban discord. Those women who work are doomed to be judged by those who don’t. Those who stay home are slighted in existence. The better of us do not find other significant others for a duration our better half isn’t present, and the better of us work side by side with our husbands, rather than use them as meal tickets (or nail tickets, or hair tickets, or car tickets), and love them for who they are.There is one thing, though, allowed by this apparent life provided for us within the matching aluminum sided common walled housing: friendship.

Because every so often, when the stars are in the correct alignment and the PTB (that’s powers that be) or other deity-type beings deem it necessary, you stumble across someone. Someone that isn’t peeking out the window at her neighbors, or telling her friend about a random car parked in someone’s driveway, or speculating about abuse that may or may not be happening. Chances are, she’s making coffee, vacuuming, talking to her kid, and checking her email, all at once. We don’t hold each others’ hands while we wait for a telegram. We don’t have decaf in each others’ sunny kitchens, watching through red and white gingham curtains whilst the children frolic on the lawn. We may smoke, we may drink, and we may talk more loudly and quickly than most find appropriate. But we’re real, and we’re friendly, and we’ll watch your kid or buy you a “just thinking of you” gift or talk to you every morning on the phone before work.

If you’re one of us, that is.

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