Published: May 24, 2013
Julia Gibbs is an Army wife stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala. Last year, while living in Germany, she flew to the States to visit family with her two small children. On the last leg of their journey, they had an unexpected companion, and Julia wrote a story about their experience. She generously allowed me to share it here in Spouse Calls. Julia writes:
After a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call, hours of standing in line holding my 2½ -year-old on my right hip while holding the hand of my four-year-old; after an 11-hour fun-filled trip of spilled drinks, Disney movies, crayons, lost sippy cups, pull-up nightmares, plane-toilet drama, and tears of joy, we finally landed in Atlanta. We all took a deep breath of relief when we made our connecting flight to Pensacola, Fla.
Published: May 15, 2013
Speaking from the Pentagon, the director of an office handling family policy for one of the under secretaries of defense fielded questions from military spouse bloggers one day. The topic was moving, that recurring challenge of military life.
One question concerned transition issues for families with special — specifically about wait-list — frustrations for state benefits, like Medicaid for disabled individuals. Military families often spend much less time in a state than it takes to reach the top of a waiting list, so moving to a new state means moving to the bottom of a new waiting list for needed services — just one of the hurdles for military families with special needs.
Published: May 15, 2013
Emily Fertitta is a Marine Corps spouse, a busy mom and a member of the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council. The council includes representatives from the DOD, military family organizations, active duty members and military family members.
“The family members bring a wide range of expertise and experiences to the table,” Emily said. “The spouses have been pushing for the council to increase the frequency of meetings … To me it’s very important that we meet as there is a lot of information to be shared and this helps us guide our recommendations.”
Published: May 9, 2013
The poets say spring is the time for love. The pollen count insists it’s sneezing season. And then there’s spring cleaning. No conversation about cleaning and organizing among military spouses can be isolated from preparing for the next move, another rite of spring.
Lydia DiCola is a Navy wife who represents CallDibs, a free online marketplace for military families to buy and sell to each other, like an online garage sale for military neighborhoods.
Published: May 3, 2013
Dear New York Times Magazine book critic:
I just received an advance copy of a book by Navy wife Sarah Smiley, “Dinner with the Smileys,” which hits bookstore shelves next week. The book is a touching and forthright account of the way Sarah and her three boys filled her husband’s spot at the dinner table during his yearlong deployment. It’s about the dinner guests, including teachers, authors, athletes and lawmakers who shared a meal and became friends with the Smileys.
Published: April 23, 2013
I saw her as I walked into the dining room at a military spouse conference: A lone woman at a table for eight. Young, stylish and self-assured, she had toned arms that would make even Michelle Obama envious. She’d probably be more comfortable with someone her own age and fitness level, not me, I reasoned.
A buffet plate in each hand, I scanned the large room for another place to sit. I was about to veer left when our eyes met and she smiled. Too late to turn back now. I smiled back, approached her table and asked if I could join her.
Published: April 19, 2013
Army wife Karen Francis said she thought it was great that the Army devoted a whole duty day last year to suicide awareness. “Suicide Stand Down” was a service-wide mandatory training day conducted in September, the Army’s response to the alarming suicide rate among brothers and sisters in arms.
Francis couldn’t help wondering about Army spouses and children. Though family members were welcomed at the event, the program and timing — on a weekday — were not suited to them. She was concerned that suicide and its effects on military family members was not being addressed.
Published: April 12, 2013
In March, I wrote about a classroom of military kids I met in 2007 when they were in fourth grade at Ramstein AB, Germany. They shared some of their thoughts on military life, which I included in my column, wondering how their impressions would have changed now that they are teenagers. Some readers, including their teacher, responded on Facebook.
“Since that year just six years ago, I have had several different teaching positions due to my husband’s military career,” wrote Kathy Keith, now living in South Carolina. “I have been a math intervention teacher for a year, ESOL (English to speakers of other languages) teacher to adults for two years, homeschool teacher for a year, and now an elementary science lab teacher. The military life has given my teaching experience a breadth of variety.”
Published: April 4, 2013
Our oldest son is approaching his college graduation day, the expiration of his last ID card and the end of the military family status he’s had since birth. Soon he will be independent, no longer a military dependent. Of course, that does not mean his father and I are unconcerned about his future or his health care.
When President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, I was interested in the provision that requires health insurers to extend family coverage to adult children.
Published: March 29, 2013
I saw it on the news, I had forgotten the date, but I remember the invasion of Iraq. The anchorman said March 20 was the 10th anniversary, but I can’t remember just one day. For several days and nights in late March of 2003, I was torn between being glued to the television and avoiding it.
On almost every channel, the progress of American forces advancing toward Baghdad was covered by embedded journalists, like a horde of sports reporters giving play by play for a giant game of Risk. But it was no game. The risk was real, and my husband was over there — somewhere.