Are Army Wives social? And I’m not referring to being on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking sites. I mean in real life, in person. And I’m not being rhetorical, either, I’m posing a serious question…Are Army Wives social?
I have been an Army Wife for three years now, and we’ve only been stationed at the one Post, so I don’t have a whole lot of PCS’ing experience to go on, as far as being able to compare the wives from different posts. All I know is that at the post we are stationed at, the wives do not seem to be that social. And it’s actually kind of sad and frustrating for someone who is.
I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews from people regarding FRG’s, and their respective FRG’s. I guess I’ve just been lucky to have good ones – my husband did get bounced around different companies, so we spend a good chunk of time in Fox Company, where I got to know the FRG and it was relatively active, friendly, and meetings and events had good turn outs – I didn’t make every one, but the ones I did were fun. Then he got moved to Alpha Company for a short time, and then finally he was put in HHC, just before deployment. So, other than the emails, I actually couldn’t make any of the events and meet any of the spouses in the FRG before the unit deployed. But since coming back from deployment, there have been three FRG meetings, two of which I was able to attend, and they’ve already held one event and are planning more. But the sad thing? Other than those leading the FRG, of the two meetings I’ve made, there’s usually me, and two other spouses…that’s it. And there are a lot of married soldiers in my husband’s company.
Now, I can understand, some of the spouses work. Some have children that they may not want to bring to a meeting and cannot find a sitter. But I know not every spouse works, and not every spouse has children they cannot bring with them (bring some coloring books or a toy they can play with quietly while the adults talk, no biggie), so why aren’t spouses (I’ve decided that maybe “spouses” is more appropriate, especially since I know a few Army Husbands, whose wives are enlisted) getting involved? Meeting the people in their figurative family? Making friends? People complain that others aren’t getting involved, but they aren’t getting involved themselves. Someone has to get the ball rolling. And who doesn’t want friends?
Although, I can understand, Myspace and Facebook changed the meaning of what a “friend” is – we have friends in our computer, so we don’t need them in real life. Right?
Sure, it’s easier to talk to your friends online, more convenient, but when you’re an Army Wife/spouse, who has moved across the country, or even over seas, because your Soldier is stationed there, don’t you want to know some faces? Make friends so you have an excuse to get out of the house? It’s sickening to me how anti-social people have become with the introduction of social-networking sites. Ironic, isn’t it? You go out in the real world, and no one really smiles and says hello when they pass you anymore, because they’re ego is either only OK in front of a computer screen, or everyone is sucked into their phones that they neglect the people they are with.
Sometimes it’s not that wives are anti-social, it’s that they are cliquey, just like high school was for most of us. You have a lot of different kinds of people coming together – some who came from money, others who came from a lot less. But to ostracize yourself or others based on what you came from, is ridiculous. Everyone’s paid the same in the Army (you know, aside from rank). I haven’t witnessed this myself yet, but I have heard of wives also being persnickety because of their husband’s rank. It’s ridiculous – your husband’s rank is just that, it belongs to your husband. The rank doesn’t make you a great wife, what you do makes you a great wife, and not necessarily any better. (Unless you’re comparing yourselves to the “Military Whore”, which I’m sure I’ll discuss in another post). Any faithful wife is better than she is.
But seriously, for the most part, we are all Army Wives who married a Soldier that we love dearly, who we miss every second of every day when they are deployed. And when you’re stationed at a Base or Post that is presumably quite a distance from home and family, don’t you want to surround yourself with people who will care about you, who you care about, who can get you through a difficult day during deployment when you’re mid-baking and you realize you don’t have enough sugar so you have a meltdown? Or when the towels don’t seem to want to fold just right? Or when the house is just a little too quiet? Especially when a spouse deploys and you decide to stay put and not return home, don’t you want to have and be part of a group of people who know exactly what you’re going through, to be there for you, as you’ll be there for them?
One theory I do have, regarding why women in a way refuse to bond, is that everything seems so temporary. People come and go all of the time, you get close to people and then you have to say goodbye because they or you are PCS’ing or ETS’ing. It’s difficult for some people I’m sure to get close when they know it’s not forever. But honestly, what in life is? Even childhood friends, friends from high school, college, a former job…someone always moves away. It’s a fact of life that I think a lot of people choose to isolate themselves from, instead of getting to know and enjoying the people they can have in their lives today.
That’s one of the tough things about being in the military, even for my husband. He met a lot of great people in BCT and AIT, but very rarely are you with that same great person through it all. My dad will even reminisce about the great friendships he had when he was in the Air Force, people he hasn’t seen in years and probably never will again. But he’s happier for the friendships he had during those years.
Our Active Duty term is almost over (counting down the last few months), and I’m actually kind of sad that I only made one “best good friend” during our time out here. I’ve met lots of other people, and would call more people “friend”, but really I only bonded with one other wife. Who, oddly enough I met while both of our husbands were serving on Rear-D; they aren’t even in the same company.
On a side note, does anyone else find it kind of funny that, given that my husband ETS’s before the end of the year, I have no real commitment or obligation to anyone or the FRG, but that I’m still trying to be as involved as I can, get to know as many people as I can? Some might wonder, what’s the point, right? And sometimes, when I sit in the meetings and future plans are discussed (events and things that we will not be a part of because we will be gone), I often wonder that, too, but I still want to be involved. But that’s just me, even when I left the last two jobs I held, I gave it my all right up to the time I clocked out on my last day. Just because I won’t be a part of something indefinitely, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to be an active part of it while I can.