By Chelsea IliffSeptember 27, 2007
The following is a commentary by Chelsea Iliff of the Fort Huachuca "Scout."
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (Army News Service, Sept. 27, 2007) - I've been an Army Wife for five years now. While I'm intrigued by the idea of the new Lifetime television show called Army Wives, here are a few true, albeit less dramatized, things they might forget to cover.
My garage is full of boxes that won't be unpacked. What's the point' We're moving again in five months. Paint the walls' Maybe in the next house. My parents are starting to think we're members of a nomadic tribe.
The Army song is stuck in my head. My laundry is filled with black shorts and grey t-shirts. I gasp at the price of cereal at stores other than the commissary. I spent more than three years watching Armed Forces Network television and can recite many of their "commercials." My husband needs more "civilian" clothes.
Not Hollywood enough'
My husband has been deployed to Iraq twice for a total of twenty-four months. We were stationed on a small post in Germany with the First Armor Division throughout both deployments. I learned quickly that "deployment friends" are unlike any other friends. These are the people who not only listen to you complain about missing your spouse, but also empathize because they're right there experiencing it with you.
These friends perform duties unlike any other. They take you out to celebrate your birthday and anniversary. They not only understand when you're speaking in military tongues (i.e. "Did Joe have to leave the FOB today'), but they speak it too. They're there when Soldiers leave, and there when Soldiers come home. Perhaps most importantly, deployment friends see you through every day of what can be a very long and lonely separation.
My husband and I left Germany in May, and other families left shortly thereafter. It's difficult now to have my confidantes spread all over the world. These ladies are my battle buddies, through and through. This is one area where Hollywood better get it right.
It's difficult for those who move regularly to maintain steady employment. This has been a consistent frustration of mine. As soon as I get settled in a job, we move somewhere else. In five years, I've worked in the fields of public affairs and education, and that's only by being extremely persistent. My degrees are in political science and journalism; however, I'm learning to adapt and be flexible. I learn something with each new place. My skill base continues to grow.
My husband and I wrestle with the issue of children and timing. We don't have children now, but desperately want to get started. But, is now the right time' The military is full of super-Moms/Dads who impress me beyond explanation. I hope Hollywood can adequately portray how special and unique it is to be a military Family.
I'm thankful for the new Army Wives show. Surely it will show our country what an amazing and unique strata we are. However, only those of us on the inside know what it's really like to live this life. From constant moves and friendships to jobs and children, I'm pretty sure the new "Army Strong" slogan extends to wives, as well.
(Chelsea Iliff writes for the Fort Huachuca "Scout.")