′Tis the season to settle in, cozy up and count our blessings. Life as a military spouse sure has its share of ups and downs, but the unexpected gifts it brings are boundless. Reflecting on all that’s good in our lives helps us to remain fully present and filled with gratitude. And gratitude has its own great rewards.
Some of the pleasures and treasures military life brings are obvious. Living in great American cities, as well as unique and wonderful locales overseas are what everyone thinks of when they imagine our lives. Our reality of new friendships, close-knit base communities and diverse social functions are pretty obvious as well.
But there are plenty of gems to this life that can be quite unexpected.
Here are 7 unexpected gifts of military life!
The Unexpected Gift of Spouse Lingo
Everyone knows service members speak a language unto themselves. But love a service member long enough and you’ll find yourself speaking a special language too.
It’s nice to be able to walk up to a person and discover they are a military spouse too. Two hours later you’ll probably know the story of their life and where the best restaurant in town is located.
The Unexpected Gift of Weird Stories
I have yet to hear a story that has topped the types of tales I’ve heard from a fellow military spouse. The litany of living creatures we’ve found in our quarters, equipment piles and spouses’ shoes are just the tip of the iceberg. Stories about the oddities and joys of this life are a gift that keeps on giving.
“Stories of lived experiences enriches our community and ties us together.”
The Unexpected Gift of Authentic Dishes
It’s a given that military families move. But what people sometimes forget is that people take their family recipes and expertise with them. We’re talking mouth-watering bulgoli, authentic pico de gallo and Spanish rice, and bread fresh from the oven. Is there any greater gift than tasting something new and amazing over a shared meal?
The Unexpected Gift of Recreation Opportunities
In the same way people in the military community share their cultural dishes, many share their recreational interests and talents too.
On just about every installation you’ll find someone passionate about his or her craft and willing to teach a class. With a nominal fee, service members and their families are given the gift of knowledge.
“Who could have expected that you’d learn downward facing dog and to code?”
The Unexpected Gift of the SpouseHive
Beyoncé has the BeyHive, and military spouses have each other. Both hives are fiercely loyal and ready to support and defend at a moment’s notice. When our service members deploy, work long hours or we just need a mental health break, the gift of support during times of need is a hidden gem of the military community.
The Unexpected Gift of Fire Pits and Lawn Chairs
Some call these mystical gatherings Wine Down Wednesday, game night or simply letting-the-kids-wear-themselves-out-while-you-relax night. Whatever name it’s given the outcome is the same. No matter where you are stationed or at what stage of life you’re in, there is someone on your base willing to sit down and have drink with you. Military life lends itself to spontaneous connections that rekindle your spunk.
“Gathering to relax, recharge and refresh is a gift that always right on time.”
The Unexpected Gift of Empowerment
Supporting wounded warriors, advocating for an inclusive military and working to promote mental health awareness are just some of the ways military spouses and families are empowering each other and ourselves. By virtue of living in service to our country and communities the giving and the gifting never ceases. It may be unexpected but lending our strength to others strengthens us.