My brain knew it was inevitable. The in-processing paperwork last summer showed me it was true. But my mind still hasn't grasped the fact that I am....wait for it...a "senior spouse."
You military spouses know who I'm talking about. I'm the lady (shudder...I remember when I referred to myself as a "girl"or "chick") that has two flag poles mounted permanently on the rails of her on-post historic home. I'm the one you see at the commissary only picking up a few items; both of my kids are gone all day, so I don't need to make the once a week humongous cart-toppling trip on Monday morning. I'm also the one that has not only a hanging jewelry organizer but also one for scarves and unit pins.
I knew it was coming. I suppose there were times I even wished for it. I've spent countless hours with other spouses that had gone before me and I was always the one changing a diaper on their floor. Or excusing myself from a steering committee meeting at the commander's house because my kid stunk up up the guest bathroom and needed help wiping. Yeah, I don't so much miss THOSE times.
I do miss other stuff, though. I miss play dates in the park with other moms. I miss Friday nights during deployments when $10 would buy 15 tamales from the neighborhood tamale lady and all of us would let our kids run around the backyard until bedtime. I miss pre-school lunch bunch once a month when we would schedule pedicures and go out for sushi.
Now my "play dates" consist of shuttling my daughter to swim practice and my son to baseball practice. My Friday nights are now wine and cheese in the backyard with neighbors while our kids do their own thing in their rooms, down the street at a friend's house or go to a sleepover. My lunch bunch these days is more like a Lara Bar while I volunteer at the Thrift Store or reheated leftovers in a random 3rd grade classroom while I am subbing.
It is true a lot has changed, but even as a "senior spouse" a whole heck of a lot is still the same. My soldier still rises before the sun to do PT. We still stare down possible deployments and PCS moves with the same "bring-it-on" attitude we always have. My kids still need me, it's just that now they need me to help with homework and make their lunches. And unfortunately my never-ending mountain of laundry still exists.
So to all of you other ladies and gentlemen out there feeling a bit more "seasoned" and longing for days gone by, remember that these are the good times, too. Enjoy running out for yet another welcome/farewell/let's talk bottle of wine. Embrace that second formal in a month and the fact that you pay more in babysitting in a month than you spend on your hair. These times will seem like the old days soon enough. And to all of you younger spouses? Your kid is welcome to stink up my bathroom anytime.