This past weekend I attended a “dining-in”, an age-old military tradition. Chuck wasn’t able to attend (he was on Mancation with childhood buddies this week in VA – hence my pseudo-“date” pictured above hehe), so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. After initially being really weirded out, I had so much fun! It’s kind of like a roast – and a blend of old-fashioned (practically medieval) language, formal toasts, and traditional practices combined with inside jokes and modern fun. Kinda hard to explain unless you’ve been to one, but it was a great time.
It was one of those rare occasions when, as a spouse, you get some insight into what this all means to your Marines. We (or at least I) spend so much time complaining, worrying, and dealing with the pain-in-the-ass aspects of being part of the military family, but it was really cool to see how special it actually is. The camaraderie, the fellowship, the tradition, the responsibility, the devotion… it was awesome. It gave me many of those “this is why they do this… no, this is why WE do this” moments.
Of course, it helped that the guest of honor (a USMC Colonel) gave a wonderful speech celebrating the military spouse. And, it wasn’t the cliched “thank you for your sacrifice, we couldn’t do it without you” rundown (I hate that BS, because it would probably actually make your job easier in many ways if you didn’t have us to worry about.)
Instead, he was was very specific and relatable, keeping it about our experience, rather than theirs. “You laud our accomplishments and support our aspirations while setting aside, delaying, or completely sacrificing your own… You take care of everything we would take care of in our absence, act as single moms, endure with minimal support in far from home, and we know we can’t ever forget that.” He really hit it where I feel it, at least.
Of course, the Marines are the ones who live and breathe the ultimate sacrifice, but it’s also a job of glory. The spouse’s role can feel a great deal more thankless…futile… unrecognized, stereotyped, and lonely, while our husbands get their medals, recognition, and career advancement. It can be very rewarding of course (I am always so proud of Chuck, and I am also thankful for what the military provides, from steady income, to health coverage, to security), but it’s nice to have the truly tricky parts recognized by someone at that level.
Anyways, it was a fabulous time, and made me feel better than ever in my role as a Marine wife, from every perspective. 🙂