Monday, October 20, 2008

To Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson

So there I was, sitting at work, wondering when my husband would get online so we could talk on gchat. It was a busy morning but I finally had a window of about thirty minutes when there wasn’t much to be done. Whenever I have those windows of nothingness, it inevitably leads me to think about Aaron, when we’re going to be back together, how excited I am that we only (ONLY!!!) have about four more months left to go without each other. It’s such a wonderful feeling. But then, of course my wonderful feeling kind of turned sour a little bit when my Blackberry buzzed, alerting me to a new email. It was from the blogmaster, whoever he is, letting me know that someone named Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson had left me a comment regarding my most recent post. I had never heard the name before but assumed it was the wife of one of Aaron’s buddies who wanted to see how I was doing or something of that nature. But no, I have found that not many experienced Army wives go out of their way to help or welcome the newbies into their circles. We are left to essentially fend for ourselves if we don’t live on or near a post, finding solace in the occasional Myspace comment from our fellow newbies, but mostly finding refuge in the only person we know who has any inkling of an idea of what is going on in our lives. None of my family and none of my friends (save one whose boyfriend was deployed while we were in college) have ever really known anyone in the military, much less been married to a deployed soldier. So I have confided in Aaron the anguish I have felt over the last 10+ months, not only because he is my husband and that’s what husbands and wives do, but because he has been through this before. He has been deployed before in far worse conditions and knows how to be a great soldier and an amazingly supportive husband at the same time. He can listen to me and help me deal with stressful situations one minute, then turn around and jump into a stryker, leading his soldiers on a successful mission the next minute. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. So this Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson lady, whoever she is, decided to put in her unknown two cents on my post. Here’s what she had to say:

“I was searching for military wives and came across your blog and even if I don't know you I just had to comment! You LIKE your husband worry about you? You don't think it's more important that he worries about STAYING ALIVE?!? It's one thing to vent about having a bad day, but getting pissed off and fighting is a no-no for most military wives for a good reason. We rather keep that to ourselves & vent to each other so we know that our men can focus on coming home to us in one piece. I'm sorry but you seem very naïve and selfish. You need to get your priorities straight or your marriage won't last.”

Well, oh wise one, thank you for your expert marriage advice. Now, I hate it when people turn nothing into drama, and since I’m not one of those people, I’m not going to do it. But I would like to calmly and rationally (AND WITHOUT CAPS AND EXCESSIVE PUNCTUATION TO TRY TO MAKE A POINT!!!!!!) address a few things. Instead of starting with what I did say, let’s start with what I didn’t say, shall we? Maybe I didn’t make myself clear in my previous post. Never once did I say that it’s more important for my husband to worry about me than it is for him to worry about staying alive. That would be ridiculous. I also never insinuated that I enjoy getting pissed off at him and fighting with him. That’s also ridiculous. So. I’m glad that we’ve gotten that cleared up. (By the way, Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson, do you have kids? I can picture you wagging your pointer finger at me, saying “Oh, Sarah, that’s a no-no for most military wives for a good reason,” then doing the “tsk! tsk!” sound with the appropriate sign language… Just asking…)

Now, about that “naïve” thing. Without putting too much of our personal life on blast, my husband and my marriage is very different than a lot of other military marriages. What works for us is not what would work for Jack and Jill’s. What I tried to express in my previous post is that in our marriage, it is important for both of us to feel needed. We have talked about it and we have agreed on it. I know for a fact that my husband will always worry about me, because he knows I’m living alone in a place where I don’t know anybody, and in a place where the closest active base is over two hours away. He knows I don’t have the support system that a lot of Army wives whose husbands are deployed have. I’m not living on a base (but I’m not complaining – I honestly wouldn’t really want to), I’m not living near a base, and I’m not even living near my family.

So, Mrs. Ssgt. Mike Hudson, I’m sorry that it feels good to know that somebody is thinking about me and concerned for my well being. I don’t think (and my husband doesn’t think this either) that a person’s location should change how they feel about their spouse. Am I more scared now that he’s back in the place that almost claimed his life his first time around than I would be if he were safe in bed next to me? God yes. But is our relationship any weaker or at any more risk for failure because he worries about me? I would think it’s the opposite. In the beginning of this awful deployment, our brand new marriage was on the rocks. I would love to blame it on my naïveté, because God knows I was. But it wasn’t all that. It was a mixture of naïveté and weak communication, but over time we have found our groove. We have figured out how to communicate effectively and rationally, which will ultimately be the key to our successful and happy marriage.

I don’t know why someone I’ve never met decided to write negative things about my marriage. Maybe she has some issues within her marriage that she needs to figure out. But whatever the reason, I know that I do have my priorities straight. My first priority is my husband. My second priority is my stepson. My third priority is my immediate family. My fourth priority is myself. My list goes on, but my very last priority – the one way way way down at the very bottom – is being concerned with how other people think of me and my marriage. I have learned that lesson the hard way, but am so glad that I did. Especially people who have nothing nice to say and who only want to stir shit up.

Like it or not, we’re all in this war business together. I am extremely proud to be married to a United States soldier who is fighting for and who has given up so much already for your right to say bitchy things, but I’m not going to conform to the “Army wife” stereotype of being the fake smile and fake happy voice on the other end of the phone if, indeed, I am not happy. Like I said in my previous post, the whole non-disclosure thing may work in some marriages, but it doesn’t work in ours. Easy as that. Nothing more, nothing less.

Mrs. Ssg. Mike Hudson – if you happen across my blog again for some reason (even though from the sound of your comment, you’d rather eat one of those raw pig’s feet I see at the Mexican market down the street than read my blog anymore…), please feel free to comment again or leave me your email address so that we might actually get the chance to get to know each other. I’m not trying to attack you in this post, but I am trying to defend my marriage. From one military wife to another, I’m guessing you’ll understand that.


ButlerWifey said...

Oh my god, Sarah! What an evil woman! You are not naive in the least. Higher-ranking Army wives feel like it is their duty to be higher and mightier than their emotions and feel that they should keep their emotions away from their husbands because they have better things to worry about. Well, our husbands do have other things to worry about, but what kind of marriage do those women really have? If they can't confide in their husbands, only their fellow Army wives, can they even call that a marriage?

I agree 100% that the older wives really want nothing to do with us younger wives, they are so caught up in the Army hierarchy, that they forget how to be human. You can't just be "Ashley" or "Sarah" no, no, you're Lt. Butler's wife or Sgt. Cabrera's wife. Women should not wear the rank of their husbands. That is something that has always bothered me and will to no avail. I hate women who think that they are mightier than me because their husband is a major.

Anyway, even though we've never actually met, you always know where to find me if you need to vent. I hope everything is going well for you. 4 months to go!!

Aaron said...

Thats so sad..I wonder how happy that womans marriage is. Ill go on the record as saying that "wife you can tell me anything, anytime, anywhere. And ill be able to handle it. Im sorry that womans husband isnt capable of taking care of his wife. But I certantly can. I feel sorry for her knowing that shes so alone in life. So even with this distance between us. I will continue to be your support and you mine. and we will continue to be there for each other. I love you Sunflower.

Why we wait.