As long as I’ve been a military spouse, I’ve always lived in a military town, surrounded by military families. Typical discussions with friends revolve around the trials and tribulations of deployments, packing and moving, and our husbands’ unpredictable work schedules. I’m blanketed with empathy, and I never have to articulate my feelings because those in the military community understand.
It never occurred to me that my lifestyle was a foreign concept to civilians until a conversation I shared with a nonmilitary friend during my husband’s second combat deployment. After asking the usual questions about how he was doing and how long he’d been gone, she startled me with this one: “So how long after he returns home can he get out?”