“Ugh, my ribbon rack is wicked full!”
That’s pretty much the refrain of my dear service member, with included Boston accent. Naturally, I asked him what every one of those pretty scraps of fabric and shiny medals meant. I got the rundown, from the expert shooting medal to the National Defense Service Medal.
A few days later, a friend and I were chatting about military spouse life. We, inevitably, circled around to the fact that our spouses would be hard-pressed to survive and thrive without us.
“Without us, how would they even function?” she practically shouted.
So I got to thinking…
What if there were service awards for military spouses?
We do a bunch of stuff for our service members and for the military in general with minimum recognition. Just for fun, let’s imagine there were service awards for the things that we do as military spouses.
If They Gave Out MilSpouse Medals
Cami Cleanser Award
For successfully laundering various field uniforms owned by your service member. Claim this award with distinction for correctly removing ink stains from the pens forgotten in uniform pockets or lint from whatever else he left in there too.
No, not Quidditch because that would be super fun. This award is for finding those random pieces of your spouse’s uniform when she needs to leave for the base in less than 5 minutes. Examples include: reflective running belt, military awards and ribbons, extra PT gear, service uniforms, shoes, boot bands and cufflinks for dress uniforms. Add “with distinction” for locating uniform items correctly on the first try immediately post PCS.
Financial Services Medal
For devotion to duty while balancing an impossible budget. Pulling a vacation or staycation out of literally no resources once every 2 years.
Career Services Medal
When you found a job, got promoted at work or have a promising career path, and then your spouse gets PCS orders. So you quit your job, decline the promotion and walk away from your career goals so that your service member can pursue theirs.
Global War on Isolation Medal
Awarded for warding of inevitable situational depression during deployments, living far from a base without military community support or moving overseas. Stars can be added for repeat experiences in any one of these.
Shut Up and Embrace the Suck Medal
For refraining to complain to your service member’s superior about the insane training schedules. Another way to add this to your collection is to avoid calling the duty desk in order to locate your service member for dinner for one whole year.
Mandatory Fun Action Ribbon
For attending spouse or unit social events, even when you really don’t like other people in the unit. One condition of this award is that you MUST maintain your composure and be polite to everyone you meet.
Mess Night Survival Ribbon
When you remember all of the ridiculous rules of mess night, pretend that you are having fun and manage to “hold it” for the entire event.
APO/FPO Logistical Shipping Award
Researching all of the companies and providers that will ship various items to OCONUS locations. Successfully ordering and sending any items to APO/FPO addresses, while following the rules for those places. Also, for completing the USPS customs form, both the long form and the abbreviated one, correctly on the first try.
Social Media Savvy Ribbon
For withholding sanctimonious advice or responding to the same from others on various social media platforms. To earn this ribbon, you must also avoid “drama” on Facebook.
Formal Dress Under Pressure Award
When your spouse arrives home and informs you about a fancy dress occasion, with only a few days notice. Or when you discover that your formal gown from last year doesn’t fit days before this year’s birthday ball. You successfully obtained appropriate evening wear on short notice. Add “with distinction” if you achieved this while stationed OCONUS.
Expert Multitasker Ribbon
For organizing multiple functions on short notice, balancing schedules for your children and spouse, creating a diverse and nutritional meal plan and basically doing everything at home all of the time.
Bonus: Commemorative Wine Glasses
Since apparently military spouses enjoy wine, we should totally get something for keeping our service members on track. So, each time you finish a case of wine (no time limit), collect a commemorative wine glass. When you collect a full dozen glasses, you will be awarded a decanter. For subsequent decanter awards, you may defer and receive a case of wine of your choice.