May 07, 2007

PREPARED

I wasn't exactly sure what we should expect as panel speakers, so in typical plan-ahead fashion, I wrote up something to say in case I needed to explain why family blogging is important. I didn't give this speech per se, but I did manage to work most of these points into my time on the panel. I thought I'd share my planned speech with you in case you're interested.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I write at trying to grok. I have a hate site dedicated to me, a guy who pokes fun at me for being the #1 War Cheerleader. At first I was not so pleased about this site, but eventually I realized that my role here is indeed war cheerleader, so I may as well be #1, right?

I think in some ways a being a war cheerleader is harder than being a soldier. The military wife faces her husband’s mortality on a daily basis. I came to terms with the thought of my own death long ago, and it’s far easier to face than the death of my husband. I’d rather go to war myself than send my husband, even though I can’t run 2 miles in under 6 days and about the most discomfort I can handle is banging my funny bone.

A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine from high school returned from a Special Forces deployment. Once he was safely home, I breathed a sigh of relief and mentioned to my husband that every time I emailed my buddy in the final days of his deployment to make plans for dinner when he returned, I felt a tinge of dread, that feeling of “what if he doesn’t come home to eat this chicken parmesan”, as if the mere act of making plans for his return would invoke The Power of the Jinx, as milblogger Tim elegantly described when CPT Patti was in Baghdad. My husband looked at me incredulously and said, “Did you really worry he might not come home?” as if the thought had never occurred to him.

I pointed out to my husband something that every servicemember needs to remember when he thinks of his family back home. We’ve never been to Iraq or Afghanistan. We don’t know what it’s like. We imagine the worst, and our mental war zone would probably seem cartoonish to you. But we simply can’t fully grasp what war is like. And while you know when you’re safe or bored or having a slow day, we don’t. Many times you can see danger coming if you have to go on a mission and you can emotionally prepare yourself to let slip the dogs of war; we have to stay emotionally prepared for the entire deployment, never sure of when your mortality is on the line. Your deployment is filled with the ebb and flow of adrenaline; your life is monotonous days punctuated by moments of anxiety or excitement; our adrenaline is always half-on, since every moment that we’re not on the phone with you is a moment when you’re possibly in danger. Such is the life for those on the homefront, those who stand and wait. Such is the life my husband can’t begin to understand, any more than I can really understand his.

So I’ve decided I’m taking the insult back. I wear the title of #1 War Cheerleader with pride, for it’s one of the toughest jobs in the Army.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:00 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 580 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Yes! You managed to get this posted. I think it's the absolute best point made even with all the really great stuff they talked about in the other discussions. As soon as I can get my sorry act together, I'll be linking to it. Meeting you and CaliValleyGirl was one of the biggest highlights of the Conference. I'm so glad you were there!

Posted by: Teresa at May 07, 2007 08:22 AM (gsbs5)

2 I’m rather partial to the cheerleading crowd, all that positive energy and all. (Plus I’m a leg man). Some like to take the easy way out by biatching and moaning. They make themselves feel good by running down something. Staying positive and getting the job done when things are a little tough takes a lot more intestinal fortitude. Unfortunately, most people are weak minded and think everything should be quick and easy. Keep cheering, I for one will keep listening and cheering with ya’.

Posted by: tim at May 07, 2007 11:46 AM (nno0f)

3 I didn't know you had a hate site dedicated to you! Wow! That's almost a compliment! All I have is a mother-in-law dedicated to hating me, which isn't as fun as it sounds. It can't go on my resume, like yours. I think your remarks were great - you explained it very well.

Posted by: airforcewife at May 07, 2007 02:57 PM (0dU3f)

4 You were wonderful. I enjoyed you and the Family Panel via the web.

Posted by: Reasa at May 07, 2007 05:51 PM (JfF5d)

5 I tried to trackback but they are being a pain in the butt so here's my link: http://homefrontsix.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-thought-i-was-done.html You have NO idea how hard what you had to say that afternoon hit me. Thank you. It was wonderful meeting you! Are you coming out for CVG's wedding??? Please say yes!

Posted by: HomefrontSix at May 07, 2007 11:11 PM (4Es1w)

6 I believe there's an old Afghan saying that goes something like this: "The insults of an enemy are a tribute to the brave."

Posted by: david foster at May 08, 2007 04:47 AM (BuT7m)

7 Sarah, great post. Thanks for putting it up. Andi asked JILL and I to be on your panel, but this crazy war deployment got in the way... can you believe it? Anyway, I noticed on Homefrontsix's blog comments that you may be in Hawaii soon...??? If so, as I suggested on her blog, I hope you manage to link up with JILL and chat a bit. I know she would love it and I'd love hearing about it. Anyway, still loving your blog, even from the Sandbox.

Posted by: JACK ARMY at May 08, 2007 09:18 AM (ypreu)

8 That is the BEST description of what it is like. Do you mind if I copy that? I'd like to send it to my non FRG group. Cause we weren't able to explain it to our deployed troops/sons/husbands... and that would! LAW

Posted by: Liberal Army Wife at May 08, 2007 03:32 PM (A5s0y)

9 Very beautifully written, Sarah. Just beautiful. You said so eloquently what I've never been able to put into words. I might just save this to show my husband one day. I don't completely understand what he goes through any more than he completely understands my point of view. Thank you.

Posted by: Robin at May 08, 2007 03:34 PM (XTKEz)

10 Sarah, loomking forward to seeing you this weekend in San Diego.... You did a fantastic job on the panel and were very impressive indeed!! You made me laugh often, and your approach was thoughtful..... I think the guys enjoyed hearing how proud we REALLY ARE OF THEM....and how we really cannot wait for them to return to our beds... I want to be the #2 cheerleader!

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at May 08, 2007 05:59 PM (A5s0y)

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