Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Army Wife Network - Building Community - Army Style - Jan 2010

I think one of the hardest things about being an Army Wife is the constant change. New Post, new community, new set of friends… We constantly have to start over where ever Uncle Sam sends us. It means stepping out into the uncomfortable and making that connection with someone. Attending Chapel (or a local church), signing up for a class, or going to an FRG meeting…

I have a friend that says “bloom where you’re planted” and even though I laugh when I hear it, she is right. We need community, maybe even more than the civilian world. We need someone that we can call at 4 am when we get that phone call with a bad connection and then our Soldier doesn’t call back. Someone who doesn’t gripe about her husband going hunting and being away for a weekend when yours has been gone for 15 months! Someone who gets the struggles and fears (and yes, even the joys) of military life.

I will admit I like to watch “Army Wives” on Lifetime. I know it is not realistic. No, the Army will not send your Soldier to recruiting school just because he is set to deploy and you don’t want him to go. Nor will they send him home from the Sandbox for several weeks to work on your ‘marriage issues’. And it drives my husband crazy that there is always at least one that can’t get his beret on straight. However, I love how that groups is always there for each other. Good and bad times. That is community.

For me, it was MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I knew that I had something in common with all the other women in the room – we were all moms. Even if there wasn’t another Army Wife for miles (we are few and far between in this Air Force town!), I knew I could have a conversation with someone who could complete a full sentence. And boy, did I need adult conversation!

The relationships that I have developed over the years with women all over the world because of MOPS have changed my life. When my husband was deployed, the local group brought meals and offered friendship. The ones far away sent emails and cards (sometimes even with cash because they knew money was tight). When communication was down and I hadn’t heard from my Soldier in days, they were there to listen and to pray.

So how will you make a connection? Take that step and say hello. Exchange numbers. Have a girl’s night out. Are you a mom? There might be a MOPS group on your Post. Start building community where you are today. I am so thankful that I took that first step and walked into a MOPS meeting. You will be too.

For more from Army Wife Network, check out their website at http://www.armywifenetwork.com/

Athena Goldinger Hall
Army Wife and mom to six Army Brats

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