The Best-Educated Food Service Line You Can Imagine

Last night I worked on the best-educated food service line you can imagine. We were volunteering together, and between the five us, there were at least three advanced degrees. We are all wives of U.S. soldiers, and none of us is able to work full time in our career fields right now.

We spent most of our time together on the food line talking enthusiastically about our careers, and very little of our time together talking about our husbands or their ranks. It was so refreshing! When I got home at 10:30 p.m. and checked Facebook, I saw that it was Military Spouse Appreciation Day. I wonder if any of the other spouses on the food service line knew what day it was?

I wrote a long time ago about how there is no “typical military spouse”, and last night’s conversations reminded me all over again that you can make no assumptions in the military community:

The hourly worker at your bank on post might have her master’s degree. The woman who schedules childcare at the CDC might be a paralegal who’s never, in the seven years since earning her degree, been able to find a job in her field.

The woman who’s heart is breaking because after so many previous separations, they’re sending her husband away again for a year — just three years from his retirement? She gave up her job as an engineer because working full time wasn’t feasible between deployments, moves, and two kids.

We all have stories, and we’re all making the best of things — even if that means scooping potatoes and beans when an earlier version of ourselves would have been just getting home from a business trip, a day in court, or a 12-hour shift at the hospital. (All of those are completely plausible scenarios for those of us working the food service line last night, by the way.)

You might not always feel appreciated for the way things have gone since you married your service member, but there are other military spouses out there who appreciate the choices you and your husband or wife have made and the orders you’ve been given. They’ve been there — they know.

An 18-year Army wife veteran who I like and respect told me last night that, “we [spouses] can have it all — we just can’t have it all at the same time.” If a spouse who’s been doing this for 18 years still holds out hope for her turn to come for career, then we can, too.

Whether scooping potatoes or arguing in court, you’re adding value to our community, so I hope you’re able to find the joy in whatever season of life you’re in as a military spouse. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day a little bit late from!

If you liked this post you might enjoy these posts, too:

Career and Military Marriage
Transitioning Away from Full Time Employment
5 Reasons I’m Okay Living on One Income

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