In mid-December, I spent a week with my daughter-in-law, Alison, and some of her friends who are also Army wives. A surprise announcement came that our deployment, which was to continue until June of 2012, was ending early for one company and approximately 500 soldiers were scheduled to return to Fort Carson in time for Christmas.
These particular wives had all left Colorado Springs when their husbands deployed in June of 2011 to spend the deployment with their families. It was up to them to find a place to live and get everything ready for their soldier’s return. They searched online for apartments or townhouses to rent, arranged for moving trucks and helpers, coordinated their moving dates, signed leases, and made arrangements for utilities.
If you have ever moved across country, think for a moment about all that is involved with this transition. These Army wives do it all—alone. Once everything was in place, they began their journeys back to Colorado, some with small children and one with a new baby.
This experience was remarkable to me in that it was much more than renting an apartment and moving furniture. It was not about getting a house, but rather, making a home for their husbands. They went together and purchased live Christmas trees and then each went to the others’ homes to help get the trees up and decorated. I was amazed at how they just get it done. Things that I would put on my “honey-do-list” and hand off to my husband, they just did because there were no husbands there to hand things off to.
The experienced wives, seasoned from prior deployments, helped the first-timers. They laughed together and talked, with anticipation, about their husbands coming home.
They arranged a dinner for the platoon’s wives to reconnect with one another. One of the wives made bracelets for the others with their last name—the name their men answer to in the Army. I attended this dinner with Alison and had the pleasure of meeting a fellow Army mom whose son is in my son’s platoon.
There is a special bond between soldiers created by the harsh realities of their service; a bond which is incomprehensible to the civilian world. Like their men—Army wives have a bond all their own.