Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Tulips I Planted.

This morning I noticed some sort of perennial sprouting from the flower bed next to the driveway, and I realized that in Utah, Germany and Maryland there are tulips starting to sprout that I planted. Bulbs I planted and cared for knowing I'd only see them bloom once, maybe twice, before we moved again.

And that made me think about two of my friends here who are moving soon and the gaping void that will leave at the end of summer.

In the military, we move. A lot. But that doesn't stop us from cultivating perennials or friendships. We go into it knowing that although we may only be here for a short time, the flowers and the friendships will keep blooming forever.

It reminded me of this poem someone once sent to me. I don't know the author, but truer words have never been written.

What is a MILITARY Wife?

They may look different and each is wonderfully unique, but this what they have in common.

Lots of moving---




Moving far from home.
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog----all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house.
Moving curtains that won't fit.
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends, moving toward new friends.
Moving her most important luggage: her trunk-full of memories.

Often waiting-




Waiting for housing.
Waiting for orders.
Waiting for deployment.
Waiting for reunion.
Waiting for phone calls.
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home for dinner----AGAIN!

They call her a 'military dependent', but she knows better.

She can balance a checkbook.
Handle the yard work.
Fix a noisy toilet.
She is intimately familiar with drywall, anchors, and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move, all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
Reinvents her career with every PCS.
Locates a house in the desert, the arctic, or the deep south and learns to call them all 'home'.
She MAKES them all home.
She is fiercely IN-dependent.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty.
They leap into decorating, leadership, volunteering, career alternatives, churches and friendships.
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.

They plant Annuals for themselves and Perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other.
They connect over chocolate, rely on the spouse-network and
accept offers of friendship and favors and record addresses in pencil.

Military Wives have a common bond.
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands.
His commitment is unique. He doesn't have a job,
He has a 'mission' he can't just decide to quit. He's on-call for his country 24/7.

His language is foreign:
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long-distance link to keep them informed, the glue that holds them together.

The Military Wife has her moments----
She wants to wring his neck, dye his uniform pink, and refuse to move to Siberia.
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath, a pledge to the flag, and a wedding picture.
And she goes.

She packs.

She moves.

She follows.


What for?

How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man...
Who puts duty first.
Who salutes the flag.
And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military husband,
She will remain his Military wife.


  1. I love that poem Brandi! Hope you don't mind I am copying it. What a great comparison between military friendships and perennials. Not very often do we see that sentimental side of you. Military wives are awesome it is amazing how quickly we can form lasting relationships.

  2. Good poem. I miss my military friends. There's only civilians around here. Though I guess they're ok too. (I'd insert a smiley face, but I hate when people do that, so I won't)

  3. Love the poem! I feel so special, once again, to be referred to in your famous blog...thanks!

  4. Ok, tears..tears..and more tears! What an inspiring poem to acknowledge the sacrafice of a military wife. As I welcomed my husband home three days ago after a year long deployment. You can understand the reason for my many tears. Plus, I am pregnant and the hormones show no mercy. Thanks for sharing. I too will copy this:)

  5. Oh, and I've planted bulbs, I've actually never seen.

  6. I love this and your insight. I know we don't sacrifice as much, but we will be moving every 3 years too so it gets to the point that we just bloom where we are planted. Even if it is for a short while. :)

  7. I wish I had a yard instead of a balcony so I could plant bulbs. But I don't even know if I could find them around here.

  8. What a great poem.. Can I steal it???

  9. Oh, that was beautiful. We don't thank the soldier's wives enough.

    Thank You!

  10. Somehow...I don't think the person who wrote that poem had a husband that deployed enough. Does that sound harsh? She touched on some things like the moving around and getting new friends, but what about the overseas phone calls, the missing toothbrush in the bathroom cabinet, and never seeing your husband and totally forgetting what it's like to be married because they've been gone soooo long, but yet you know you still are because somehow you keep getting pregnant and look! another baby!

    I think you could write a better one. Challenge...maybe?

  11. Ariella--
    There are lots of better ones out there that focus more on the sacrifices of military wives (especially during deployments), but I wanted to focus on the moving aspect and this one hits the nail on the head.

    And apparently it's time for Adam to come home. ;)

  12. Is it that obvious???

    Yeah...I miss him. I guess I just didn't identify as intensely because I haven't moved in 4 years. :) Well, I guess I haven't moved from the area in 4 years. I am on my 3rd house here, but that doesn't count...does it?

  13. Wow Brandi that was great! I hope you don't mind but I copied the poem to share with some of my friends and my mother in law.
    Megan S.

  14. You guys can copy the poem all you like--I didn't write it. I wish I knew who the author was so I could give her due credit.

  15. i'm not much into thinking my life is so hard, and i am so great cause my husband has a government job. actually, my life is pretty easy. i dont pay bills, dont fix anything in the house, i dont worry about how much i run my ac. so maybe my curtains dont fit, but hey, i dont have to mow the lawn, so i have plenty of extra time to buy new curtains. so far military wife life is a piece of cake. but i guess if people want to bow to me, go ahead...

  16. Sylwia,

    How often have you moved with the military? I'm guessing you were pretty stable during medical school, and are now stable during residency. Also, you have not been through a deployment.

    Talk to Ariella. Her husband is gone about 6 months of the year, every year. She has 4 kids younger than yours. Oh, and she was primary president and then released and called as RS president the same week.

    I don't think she goes around complaining about life too much (at least she didn't the 4 years I knew her), but she makes sacrifices so her husband can go off for months, sometimes she doesn't even know where, so he can serve our country.

  17. oh, and the waiting part of the poem reminded me of a dr seuss book:

    The Waiting Place...

    ...for people just waiting.
    Waiting for a train to go
    or a bus to come, or a plane to go
    or the mail to come, or the rain to go
    or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
    or waiting around for a Yes or a No
    or waiting for their hair to grow.
    Everyone is just waiting.

    Waiting for the fish to bite
    or waiting for wind to fly a kite
    or waiting around for Friday night
    or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
    or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
    or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
    or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
    Everyone is just waiting.

    That's not for you!

    Somehow you'll escape
    all that waiting and staying.
    You'll find the bright places
    where Boom Bands are playing.

  18. Brandi

    i actually have moved all my life, not with the military where they pack it all up for me and buy me free plane tickets and reimburse me for my meals. when i moved no one packed me, we didnt have enough money to take anything but a few clothes with us, and we slept on the floor till someone gave us some dirty mattresses. and no we didnt fly or even eat during the trip. i know a hard life and moving with the military is not it. did you read the glass castle yet? that's a hard life and mine was a bit similar...

  19. sorry brandi, i hope i'm not being too opinionated for you....

  20. No, you're never too opinionated.

    You know, just because someone doesn't experience poverty, neglect, abuse and other horrific situations in life does not mean that things cannot be difficult in their own way.

    Would I rather move every year than live in abject poverty? Well, of course! But it doesn't make the moving any harder. And it's not the physical moving (the packing, the expenses...) it's the leaving friends behind.

    Also, just FYI--there is still a lot of unprivatized military housing where you do have to mow your own lawn and fix your own plumbing. There's no such thing as maintenance or a work order.

    Oh, and imagine feeling how you feel now but also having your husband off in the middle east somewhere for the entire pregnancy. Would you not consider that somewhat of a sacrifice on your part?

  21. I'm just glad military wives are so tight knit. I LOVE all the friends I've made over the years. It's the coolest thing ever to go to a new place and walk in to church and already know half the ward. That happened when I moved to Ft Meade.

    Brandi...thanks for the sweet comment, but you know as well as most of my dearest friends that I do my fair share of whining. :) I really miss our whine sessions...I mean presidency meetings. hehe

    I know this is totally off topic..but I miss your FOOD. I know you probably do too, but I do. I dream about it sometimes. :)

    one more smiley just for Sarah. :)

  22. you're right brandi, i do have a hard life, just kidding..

    no, you are right about the fact that i dont like leaving friends behind either, or having them leave me. and that's what your post is mainly about.

    i do like meeting new friends however. i always learn something that betters my life from them, like you blog!!!

  23. Here's the thing, Sylwia: part of this life for each of us is experiencing adversity and trials. And the Lord in His wisdom knows what each of us will perceive as a trial and be able to learn and grow from. We won't all experience dire poverty, family violence or the mental illness of someone near and dear to us as you have. So it stands to reason that even though my life may appear charmed in comparison to your history, there are things I will experience as being difficult to face, even though you may think they're no sweat.

    The poem Brandi posted expresses many of the things I find difficult about Army life. I realize that I have many, many, many blessings to count and that the Lord has been with me and watched over my learning process, but that doesn't make my trials any less of a challenge FOR ME. And sometimes, when I'm feeling overwhelmed and overloaded, I need to be able to turn to my friends and vent, without worrying about them telling me to suck it up and quit whining because I'm not starving or sleeping on a dirty mattress on the floor. I just need them to listen and empathize so I can get it out and get on with my day and get back to remembering all the blessings I do have.

    It's not that I'm offended by the happiness you've found after having such a horrendous time in your early life. It's just that I think you could realize that your experience can never be the same as another person's, and allow each of the rest of us the opportunity to muddle through our trials the best we can without telling us all that we should quit whining because we've got nothing to complain about.

    Sorry about the soapbox, Brandi. The poem made me cry. And I don't cry at much unless I'm pregnant. (And I'm not, I checked ;P )

  24. all right all you military wives, you now have my permission to whine!!!

  25. crysta "poohzcrew",

    i get your speech a lot. i used to hear it from my husband's sister before she got married. my husband lived pretty much the ideal life, and my sister in law actually complained about it and would tell me how hard her life had been and how different people experience different trials that are hard for them. i tried to stand my ground and say that what she was describing wasn't all that hard, but you know, she was young so she did not agree.

    then she went on a mission, and that's when her eyes were opened. in every letter she wrote how wonderful her family was and how blessed her life had been. she now had something to compare it to. after her mission she got a job at a school for very troubled teens, many pregnant, on drugs, etc. she has never complained about her life since then. she feels blessed beyond comprehension, now that she has seen what life is really like out in the world.

    so i have no reason to talk and make my points. over time life makes those same points to us all.

    i feel like i now have the easiest life around. i still whine, but deep down i know i'm just bluffing...

  26. Sylwia, I'm not an 18 year old kid complaining about how awful my life is. I'll be 38 in a month, and you have no idea what I have and have not been through in that time. You have no idea what my current struggles are. You also apparently missed my acknowledgement of the many many many blessings I have in my life. My point really was that day-to-day life can be hard for each of us, even when that life is comparatively cushy, and for me, keeping my admittedly petty frustrations inside only exacerbates the problem. The discouragement, pressure and resentments build up rather than dissipating. When I am able to turn to good friends and do a little whining without judgement, it helps me to realize how silly some of my complaints are, find answers to solve others, and most of all, to know I'm not alone in the day-to-day struggle to choose the better way and feel gratitude for my many blessings. It's helpful to me to get those dark feelings out and let them blow over instead of dwelling on them. What isn't helpful is being told to shut up and quit whining because I haven't had it as bad as you. Maybe that's not what you really mean, but that's how you're coming across.

  27. crysta

    i wasn't telling anyone to shup up. i dont communicate that way. i dont mind people expressing their opinion, i enjoy it. i'm sorry that it seemed like i was attacking you. i wasn't. i deliberated responding to your post, and i guess i made the wrong decision to continue the dialogue.

    the truth is we probably dont know each other well enough to be able to disagree without being hurt. maybe we should hang out more. i've been wanting to get to know you better for a while...


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