It is easy to make conversation when you open with a common topic like "Is this your first duty station?" or "How much longer are you here?" When you have common obstacles, like "When will he be home?" and "What are you doing for R&R?" And if all else fails, you talk about where you've already been or are headed next. You probably know someone there already or have heard about what that base is like. You can have a pleasant conversation with a stranger that quickly becomes a friend because of these commonalities. It makes communication easy, it makes it easy to get to know other wives and to develop these conversations into friendships.
Everyone is coming to or leaving the base.
Everyone is facing deployments (sooner or later).
Everyone has the same or similar issues that you have.
And in some cases, these other wives are the only source of outside world you have.
It is a revelation. It is a comfort. It is peace of mind.
Knowing that the woman at the commissary shopping with her three kids is worried about the same things you are worrying about right now. Knowing that even though your kids are screaming their heads off about this or that, no one in the PX cares and everyone understands that you are struggling on your own.
Because everyone else is in the same boat.
I am not saying that military wives and this community are without flaws. That they can't be cliquey or shallow or hard to get along with. Because they can. But really, everyone can.
What I am saying is there is no other community where everyone has the same issues. Not that I know of yet. Where you fit in simply because of a job. Where that job becomes a way of life.
And the only people that understand that way of life - the constant moving, leaving friends and meeting strangers, being alone more than with your spouse - are the ones that live in that community.
I started by saying how great it is to be a military wife and grow into adulthood learning how to make friends everywhere you go. It is also the hardest part of being a military wife - leaving all those friends as you move to your next duty station or when you decide to try and make it in the civilian world.
We have now been in the civilian world for a little over a year. I make the distinction of saying "civilian" because it is like a new way of life for me. I don't really know how to fit in here. I haven't figured out my place in a world where things (like having a spouse that comes home every night) can be taken for granted.
Even though it has been a year now, I am still used to women that take you as you are because there is no one else that understands.
I miss my friends.
Thinking of our all friends literally around the world tonight and wishing I could see them all.
Maybe one day.
Until then, I thank God for the internet.