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Why I’m Thankful for My Military Spouse Friends

Thank you to our guest blogger, Michelle Volkmann, for sharing some of what you are THANKFUL for today!

I am a person with deep family roots. My German ancestors settled my hometown and my maiden name is the most prominent surname there. I never needed to make friends. I was born with friends. They were the grandchildren of my grandparents’ friends.

Flash-forward: My husband and I were newlyweds stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. I needed a local friend desperately. My close friends were hundreds of miles away and none of them were married to a service member. I was lonely until I met my first military spouse. We bonded over our mutual feelings of being misplaced in the scorching desert.

This November, I’m thankful for my military spouse friends. Here are the top five reasons why they have a special place in my heart:

Betsy, Danya
The pure definition on understanding oozes from her!

1.  Knowledge. I don’t need to translate military jargon with them. They understand those frequently used acronyms (PCS, BAH), offices (Tricare), and shopping choices (commissary, exchange). There is no need to explain why we move every two years.  They understand the traditions of a military ball. They just get it.

2. Diversity. In the nine years that I’ve been a military spouse, I’ve met only one military spouse who was from my home state. One. Everyone else came from different states, communities, countries, cultures, and religions and I am so grateful to learn about the world through my friendship with each of them. I’m especially grateful for the military friends who were once military children. These friends take the time to answer my endless questions about resiliency and maintaining a positive attitude.

3. Understanding. There is a mutual understanding among military families. This understanding may be lost on your civilian friends. For example, my military friends never make me feel guilty about not traveling during the hectic holiday season. They understand why I spend a month at my parents’ house in the summer. They understand the acceptance of an unknown future. They listen when I want to talk through “what-if” scenarios for various potential orders. They celebrate with us when the orders arrive. They always say goodbye with grace and a heartfelt memento.

Amy, Danya, Laura
Trying on hats in Omaha, NE. Never a dull moment with your military spouse friends!

4. Adventurous.  My military spouse friends are adventurous and well-traveled. Their passports are filled with stamps and they are always planning the next getaway. When I asked for volunteers to climb Mount Fuji with me, every military spouse eagerly asked “When?” My military spouse friends recognize that their time in a particular location is limited, so they take advantage of each opportunity.

5. Generous. Military families are the most generous people in the world. Hands down. You know that idiom about a person “giving you the shirt off one’s back,” I have a theory that person is an American service member. I once made BLT sandwiches for dinner when the only ingredient I had was bacon. Four generous neighbors gave me bread, lettuce, mayonnaise, and a tomato. Military friends will loan you dishes when yours are in transit from Italy. They will watch your child in the middle of the night when you’re in labor and heading to the hospital. They will listen when you need to vent. They will give you a hug when you want to fall apart. They will make you laugh when you want to cry.

My military spouse friends are awesome. I am grateful I have a long list of friends to call, text, email, or send a note on any given day. I never feel lonely, thanks to my vast network of military spouses. They keep our friendship alive even when the military sends us apart.
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Part-time writer, full-time Navy spouse Michelle Volkmann is currently stationed near Monterey, California. Of her 366 friends on Facebook, 79 are military spouses, men and women, married to Marines, sailors, soldiers, and airmen. Her New Year’s resolution is to befriend a Coast Guard spouse.
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