I want to start off by thanking everyone that read, liked, shared, and tweeted about my military equality post. If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out! If you have read it, here is an update:
After a few days of trying to reach someone at Military Spouse magazine, I decided to call Armed Forces Insurance (who sponsors the Military Spouse of the Year Award). They forwarded my contact information to Kate at Military Spouse Magazine – who called me right away! Literally, right away as in within the hour. She read my military equality blog post, and clarified that I DO in fact qualify to accept my nomination. How so? Because my husband is currently on Title 10 orders.
Although I was happy to accept my nomination, I’m still saddened that other military spouses wouldn’t be able to due to the rule of requiring activation 180 days or more before the application deadline. Although I could accept my nomination, I still want all other PT military spouses current and future to be able to accept too.
So, I asked Kate: “What about the other National Guard spouses whose husband’s are not currently deployed? The Reserve families that are not deployed?” Kate said, “good question!” She was happy that I brought it to their attention, that I cared so deeply about fellow PT military spouses. We had a very long, fun, and overall fantastic conversation, and this is what I learned:
1) The award is still young, in that it was only founded in 2008.
2) They just added National Guard to the list of potential categories just two years ago, and the verbiage for their qualifications came from DOD (Department of Defense).
3) The award is growing both in size (more branches) as well as national recognition.
4) Kate herself is from a Reserve family, so she understands where I’m coming from. (can I get an Amen I met someone who gets the PT military life?!!?)
5) Although they most likely cannot change the rules for this year, they will look into including all National Guard (Army/Air) and Reserve spouses, regardless of deployment status. Kate did give me the disclaimer that she can’t promise anything will change, but she did tell me that she would bring it to the attention of the “powers that be.”
That last bullet point makes my heart skip a beat. I’m elated. Just the thought, the hope that I might have made a difference – I’m humbled. During my husband’s first deployment I wanted to reach out and try to help other spouses in the PT military life, but I didn’t know how. Life kept getting in the way.
This deployment? I felt that I had been silent long enough. I thought to myself, what if you meet one person – just one person through this process? What if you can help just one person get through their deployment? What if you can be that one person for somebody else? That one person that you so desperately searched for during your own first deployment?
So, I jumped into the world of online blogging and twitter. I literally just started my blog, twitter, and Facebook page less than a week ago. I’m only four chapters into my book with no publisher, hardly any Twitter followers, and very few Facebook likes. However, I had to hope that somehow, someone, somewhere would hear me. And you know what? Today I was heard. I was validated. I was understood.
You can read about why I decided to become a MilSpouse Blogger, and you’ll see that for me, even if no one reads my blog, it helps me to process the struggles of my own life. It helps to know that maybe, just maybe, my experiences can help someone going through what I’m going through.
Even if no changes come from what I’m trying to accomplish, and that Guard/Reservist spouses still have to be married to an activated soldier to qualify – I feel that at a minimum I gained a new friend, Kate. Our conversation was easy, the laughs were many, and the tears were sincere.
She cared, really cared – not only about me, but what she does. What she stands for. Who she serves. So, it’s not at a “minimum” that I met a new friend – it’s more like “at a maximum.” Why? Because as a military spouse, there is nothing more rewarding, comforting, and calming than knowing you have a friend. A true friend – one that understands your struggles, your fears, your uncertainties, and most importantly – understands the love that you feel for your spouse.
Then it hit me – I was going out into the world to try to “be that person” for someone else, but I was blessed with someone who could “be that person” for me instead. Again, I am humbled. Kate – I look forward to all the conversations to come!