I stressed over today’s post all weekend. Why? Because this post is #100, which means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but to me it’s special. I wanted to write something really good … or really funny … or really poignant, but nothing I wrote was quite right. I worked on a post called “The F Word,” but it didn’t exactly scream “Hooray! 100!” I wrote a quirky little “Navy Kids Say” post, but that seemed a little too flip for a special day. Then I re-read this piece … I wrote it about six months ago on another blog, and oddly enough it was the post that began my transition over to Back on Land. So instead of something new (sorry!) I’m giving you something old … something I’ve shared before and will likely share again. I’m giving you my favorite post of all time, the one I’m most proud of, and the one I hope means something to you as well! Happy 100!
Here and there on HTM I have mentioned that my husband is in the Navy. I mentioned it here (way down at the bottom … almost like an afterthought). I wrote about the bitchy neighbor to Murphy’s Law here and my “home”sickness here. I mentioned how small our community is in “It’s a Small, Small World,” but what I probably never ever wrote before is the five words at the top of this post.
I am a Navy Wife.
In the early years of our marriage, I didn’t like being called a Navy Wife because I felt that it somehow diminished anything I did as a person separate from my husband. I thought that if I accepted that title that it would outshine the other titles I was working towards, like Manager or leader. I half-joked with Josh that I was going to start calling him a “Civilian Husband” to see how he liked it. Oddly enough, that didn’t bother him at all.
I’ve also avoided being called “Navy Wife” because in some circles it has a really negative connotation. Navy wives are fat, lazy, baby-making machines, or so I’ve heard. Navy wives are in it for the paycheck, the benefits, and the freebies, or at least that’s the rumor. Navy wives are catty, bitchy, and downright rude, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Josh and I have been together for over 14 years, and in that time I’ve heard pretty much every despicable thing that could be said about Navy wife, and for many years I simply chose not to be associated with that stereotype. I denied it. I took exception to it. I outright refused it.
But guess what?
I am a Navy Wife.
Just days shy of my 36th birthday, I have decided to not only claim the title but embrace it! I am a Navy Wife. I know now what I couldn’t fathom at 22 or 23. I know that I hold many, many titles, and I alone give them importance. I am a Navy Wife. I am a mother. I am a sister, a daughter, and a friend. I am a teacher and a student. I am a leader (who is really trying to learn to follow as well). I am a part-time blogger. I am dance teacher in my soul. I am many things, and no one of them diminishes the others. They are all amazing parts of who I am.
I am a Navy Wife especially because I do not fit into any of the terrible stereotypes I’ve heard of all these years, and I am not alone. I know many Navy wives who have college degrees, who are working on degrees, and who are gainfully employed in amazing professions. I also know many wives whose lives really do revolve around their children; not for a paycheck or a freebie but because with their spouse they have chosen the at-home mom role so they can be that constant presence that both their children and their spouse need. I know some wives who are completely catty, bitchy, and rude, but I know many more who volunteer their time on base, who prepare meals for new mommas, and who would rather plan a fundraiser than waste time gossiping.
I am a Navy Wife.
Not that negative stereotype, but THE REAL THING.
The real thing is a person who assumes the roles of mom, dad, lawnmower, oil changer, banker, decision maker, bad news deliver, boo-boo kisser and so many others for months at time and does it with grace.
The real thing is a woman who writes love letters months in advance and sends them out to sea with her man to remind him of her love when he’s a million miles away.
The real thing is someone who holds in her own tears while she cradles a child who doesn’t understand why Daddy has to go out to sea yet again.
The real thing gets excited for an email and ecstatic over a letter in the mailbox and hides quiet tears when neither arrives.
The real thing can handle the moves and the movers, makes lasting friendships that she knows will have to conquer the miles, and knows her way around the streets of more “hometowns” than the average person ever will.
The real thing is a woman filled with pride over a husband who serves his country, who loves her man in uniform, and who knows how special a pair of work boots by the door really can be.
Yep, I am a Navy Wife, the real thing, and I wear that title with pride.