After having spent over 20 years as a Navy wife, I will readily admit that when the time came to shut the book on that career and watch W begin a new opportunity, I was ecstatic. That 20 years had brought with it three separate 6 month deployments, additional absences for the preparation for those deployments, the loss of friends in helicopter accidents, moves away from family, more moves away from friends who become your family in new places. Military life isn’t for everyone and as a 17 year old girl who was interested in this guy who wanted to fly, I really had no idea the life I would embark on. When W retired about 16 months ago, I was so proud of his service and accomplishments but so ready to go.
I had forgotten, I think, the amazing value of people who had drifted in and out of our lives in the Navy. People who understand your tribulations and unique trials. No, they do more than understand; they share in it. There is a distinctive bond created by extraordinary circumstances. Last night, I was reminded of that camaraderie.
I was honored to attend a farewell at the Chiefs mess last night. For those of you who don’t know, those invitations aren’t widespread. The Chiefs are, rightly so, protective of their club and prefer to keep it exclusive. Very exclusive. Last night, though, the Skipper of the base was invited (and we just happen to be good friends and are staying at his house). They “farewelled” 3 of their Chiefs to other duty stations and the men who are the most stoic, ultramasculine guys in the room are transformed into sensitive kindreds ~ it warmed my heart and reminded me of how important the connection is for people who serve to establish this family of peers. I adore my coworkers but those friendships pale in comparison to the type of unbreakable liaison these men and women share. As a military spouse, I was privileged to share in that.
Thank you, Chiefs, for the distinct honor to catch a glimpse and be reminded of how incredibly special the military is and how notable you all are. I missed the Navy last night and appreciated what it meant to my life.