An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

First FRG Deployment Meeting

Tonight was our first FRG meeting since the deployment began. We decided to hold Battalion-level meetings because (1) we were not getting enough people at our Battery-level meetings AND (2) two of the Batteries did not have FRG leaders until recently (the commanders' wives were unable or unwilling to volunteer in that position).

The room was PACKED... and there were about 30 kids.

Finally one of our FRG leaders moved the kids into another room with one adult and we were able to hear the information. We've lost our funding (on the post in general) to have babysitting for these events, so we might try to trade with the other Battalions.

We did potluck and I made pasta salad (which I always get lots of compliments about).

The two FRG leaders who are teaming to run the Battalion FRG put out some useful information.

The Chaplain came to speak. However, he was very negative, very absolute, and very patronizing. He began by saying that we were all unhappy, because we looked unhappy and either he was boring or we were unhappy. Then he proceeded to tell us how we feel, how we should act to "fix this," and what we should not do.

Sorry. I miss my husband, but I am not unhappy.

I know what works for me; I might appreciate your suggestions, but I don't need your mandates.

He also went off on a tangent about how there is no such thing as "falling in love"--that falling in love is just a bio-chemical urge to perpetuate the species.

His REAL point was that real love is an act of will to help someone else, not just infatuation. Now, I don't necessary disagree with his REAL point, but I was really shocked to hear a supposedly spiritual man discount this magical aspect of choosing that one person to whom you will devote your life.

Of course it is real work to keep it going, but one this one person as opposed to this other perfectly decent option?

He may not believe in falling in love, but discounting it entirely is not a good way to appeal to a bunch of women whose husbands are deployed.

When he finished, he mumbled something to our FRG about how we weren't really interested.

I do think that we would be interested in hearing about strategies for coping with separation, especially if they were presented in a more sympathetic and engaging manner.

I really do recognize he was trying to help--and provide us with some of the tools to deal with separation.

Perhaps it is just too difficult for someone who has only deployed, but has never had his spouse deploy, to really understand where we come from. Maybe it is also a very male/female thing. The vast majority of our soldiers are male and so the spouses are female...100% in our Battery.

After that, I spoke about our website, which I administer. I put together a slide show of everyone's deployment photos and showed it at the meeting. Of course, I had to figure out how to work the projector. I'm glad I got the show operational because the wives seemed to enjoy it.

I'm also a Battery FRG co-leader. I also publish the Battery newsletter. A bit too involved?

Finally, we broke into Battery groups and made another canvas banner for our guys to hang up in there FOB and vacuum sealed about 500 cookies to ship in a care package. I really enjoy my new vacuum sealer!

Between the cooking, baking, tutoring in the morning (I volunteer tutor at the local high school), a vet appointment in the afternoon, and the meeting, I...AM...SPENT!

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