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How dull if life were easy

 

    I recently listened to an audio file I recorded while watching the television show, The Astronaut Wives Club, which is based on the book. I wanted to find the original news article the lines from the ending of one of the episodes were based on. I found the Time Magazine article published on June 1, 1962 beginning on page 29 titled, “55 Minutes that Lasted Forever,” by Rene Carpenter, one of the astronaut wives. It connected with me just as much as the short recording.

Part of the article reads:

I have shared a great part of Scott’s life and love, and I’ve always wanted to live every uncertain minute of it. As a bride I was assured by glowing advertisements that I would spend my hours fingering the latest sterling silverware pattern and filling linen closets to overflowing.

As a Navy wife, I soon learned about the awesome words, “orders.” Orders came first, women and children last. So I learned to give birth alone, care for sick babies alone and wait at the end of a hundred almost forgotten runways for a plane to touch down again. I say this with no trace of bitterness, only as fact.

I have watched with wonder and respect the faces of women whose men didn’t come back, as they made strong coffee in little kitchens, received chaplains and condolences, and cried somewhere else…People are always asking me, “How do you stand this?” I can only answer, “I’ve been there before.” I thrive on it. How dull if life were easy, and how fortunate to be in love with a man who loves the world.

   

    Here is my take away from her article and a few of my own insights. The “glowing advertisements” gave off a false impression of what being a military spouse and probably an astronaut’s wife would be like. I can attest to this. My husband joined the military after we got to know an Air Force family. The husband worked a typical day, ending at about 4:30 p.m., had off weekends and only deployed a couple of times in his entire career. While he shared with us some very challenging assignments, in my husband’s and my mind the military life would be just like any other job with the exception of occasionally moving.

    While this life is nothing like I imagined it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Had I known what we were getting ourselves into it would’ve made the decision harder, but we still would’ve made the same decision. That’s even with relating to Rene Carpenter’s mentioning giving birth alone. We were fortunate to have web cameras so my husband could at least see my face, and we could communicate during the birth of our second son. What brochure in a recruiter’s office would highlight that life experience? I’m okay with that, though. With the military pointing out the benefits, because there are many. It’s false to think just because you aren’t in a military family you can escape pain, loss, and disappointment. It’s just easier to point fingers when you are a military family.

    Rene Carpenter had a support group of women who understood what she was going through. In my experience, building these take time. They often look different each move you make and community you settle in. If you are fortunate you will build a community of support that lasts long after each of you move on. However, it’s important to build a local community for the everyday needs and wants.

    “How dull if life were easy,” Rene Carpenter shared. This life is anything but dull. Personally, I don’t think I thrive on it. I crave a quiet corner of the local coffee shop where I can curl up with a book. Silence and stability are the two legs I stand on. However, if my life was as dull as I sometimes long for I wouldn’t know I can handle the noise and the chaos.

    Sometimes I long for the boring. For those pre-military family days when I knew we could plan a vacation a year in advance. When I didn’t have to worry he’d miss milestones. When we only moved because we chose to. But then I wouldn’t have made countless friendships in three states and two countries. I wouldn’t know how strong I am. I wouldn’t know what our marriage is made of. And I wouldn’t have seen first-hand the bravery and strength of other military spouses who’ve gone through their share of highs and lows and inspire me just as much as Rene Carpenter.

 

To read the article in its entirety you can type: 

google books, time magazine, Rene Carpenter, 55 Minutes that Lasted Forever

 

 Image "Planet Earth" courtesy of xedos4

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