Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day! Careful: fireworks below!

Our sweet girl at the park today!

Independence.  This word means different things to different people.  But there is a group of people to whom it has a much more significant meaning: Military Dependents.  We are labeled this by the military, because of the fact that we have an immediate family member in the service.  However, the word is simply not correct.  Could I possibly survive day to day life if I was truly dependent on him for every little thing?  He is just as dependent on me to be able to continue life as normal without him so that when we ARE together we can enjoy it!  I have almost forgotten my own Social Security number because I can spout his off so quickly whenever I'm doing anything official.  I have to have a Power of Attorney because my "sponsor" is deployed....obviously the military doesn't really know who the head of our household really is (haha...sorry honey!!).  When they deploy our active duty member, or send them on an unaccompanied remote- it almost becomes a joke to constantly refer to me as a "dependent".  Don't get me wrong: I adore my husband and love him with a tremendous amount of respect mixed in there too.  Am I dependent on him.... for some things sure!  But not enough to make that my label.

Here are some things that I, a "dependent", have done on my own:
-managed the daily running of a household, to include: 
*feeding, cleaning, clothing, entertaining, and LOVING an almost 2 year old child
*we have a dog, she is fed, let out, and played with
*shopping with aforementioned child for groceries, clothing, anything...
*mowed the lawn (thanks for the new lawnmower Mike!!), whacked the weeds, grown a garden
*mailed the bills, necessary family birthday/anniv/occasion cards (I know I've missed some, I'm sorry!), and packages
*the car still works and is relatively clean
-managed to keep my JOB through all of the above PLUS:
*whenever aforementioned child is sick, I had to miss work or leave early
*a minor at-work freak out on the day of the Camp Liberty shootings
*did I mention there were budget cuts and I recruited enough kids to double my program and save my own job?
-I've driven over 2000 miles alone with a toddler and sometimes a dog to visit various friends and family, attending weddings, parties and raising money for charity.
-Worked out, ate better, and kept my commitment to Marshall and myself that I would do a better job taking care of myself and staying healthy
-found out we have to move, attended meetings, asked questions, didn't like the answers, researched/found a new place to live, signed a lease, and scheduled moving.

I'm not bragging, and I certainly don't think my situation is unique.  I know some AF wives who do all this with 3 or 4 kids.....that just seems crazy to me.  My point for making the list was because I want people to understand that everything I do, every choice that I make, every day that I wake up- people are dependent on ME.  I don't get the luxury of messing this up.  If I ever act a bit stressed out, read the list above and try to cut me some slack.  :)  I also want to throw out a disclaimer- I am blessed to have the support of my friends and family, and without them my daily life would be very different!

This is a great article shared with me by another military wife, and I want to share it with you all. It gives a great perspective on military INdependents.

The term military dependent has always bothered me. Could you assign a more paradoxical term to identify a group of people? In response, one day when I was particularly bothered, I penned my own declaration.

The Declaration of INdependents

When in the course of military life it becomes necessary for military spouses to dissolve the term that defines them – military dependents – they should declare the causes, which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all military spouses are created equal and are entitled to the term military INdependent.

To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

We actually have our own social security numbers. There’s no reason to constantly refer to us as our “sponsor’s last four”.

We support each other in the absence of active duty spouses and in the presence of war.

We sacrifice our own chosen careers and educations to provide support to our active duty spouses.

We are the ones who really handle the moves. Why, oh why, is it necessary to forbid us to sign the paperwork without a usable power of attorney? You saw us in your offices arranging the moves and shipments on behalf of our absent service members. You KNOW who we are.

We are the ones moving home and hearth back and forth between Hell. Why are we not on the actual orders?

We are raising the next generation of military heroes – the ones left at home now to grow up in the safe, freedom-to-choose land provided by past generations of military heroes and the present one to whom we are all married today.

We, therefore, the representatives of the military spouses of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of the community, solemnly publish and declare, that the term “dependent” is hereby abolished in reference to a military spouse. And for the support of this Declaration we mutually pledge to each other that, like the Army, we are “Army Strong”, like the Air Force, we “Aim High”, like the Coast Guard, we are “Always Ready”, like the Navy (go Navy hehe), “Not Self, but Country”, and like any Marine always says, “We leave NO man behind”.

Article found in Military Spouse Magazine….Babette Maxell, author.


Jessie and Nathan said...

Love love love the article!! I might have to steal it and post it myself. That little girl of yours is just the cutest thing!

Marshall McIntyre said...

I appreciate everything that you do for our family Mary. But let's get one thing straight: The Coast Guard is only a part of the military during wartime, once the war is over, they are back to being law enforcement. If it makes you feel any better, I am usually referred to as airman... That is more generic than my last 4...

I cant wait to see the new house!

familyofmgms said...

Haha- Marshall I didn't write the article....write a letter to the editor of Military Spouse Magazine if you have an issue with the Coast Guard!! :)