Sample milspouse letter: ‘To the friend I don’t know’ | New
By Lisa Smith Molinari
Dear (insert friend’s name here),
I can see it in your eyes. You are not happy. You think I ignored you. You think I’m a horrible friend.
Not so long ago we were close. We talked on the phone. We have eaten lunch. We met at the gym. We exchanged text messages. I showed interest in your life.
But lately I’ve been distant. I didn’t call. I stopped meeting you for coffee. I didn’t “like” this picture of your kids on Instagram.
To be completely honest, I didn’t give you a second thought.
But before jumping to conclusions, let me assure you: I’m not tired of you. I don’t hang out with other friends. And I certainly haven’t forgotten you. The thing is, I haven’t thought much about you, or anyone else for that matter, because our family is moving again.
Including (insert transitional housing, for example: those months we lived in that creepy, carpeted townhouse before closing our first home, and the six months we rented that awesome beach shack in Florida pending basic housing), our military family has moved (insert number, eg 11) times since my spouse and I married (insert number, eg 29) years.
I don’t have a stomach ache. Many military families have moved far more than we have, others less. Plus, I’ve enjoyed every place we’ve lived. Well, except for (insert worst accommodation, for example, this townhouse. We had to clap twice before entering the kitchen to scare away the cockroaches, and it smelled like pickled moth balls).
Frankly, it doesn’t matter how many times a military family moves. What matters is that every move, whether overseas or across town, is a big ordeal. The kind of thing that destroys daily routines, challenges the strongest coping skills, and turns grown adults into bad-tempered little brats.
This happens every time my (husband/wife) receives orders. My demeanor doesn’t change at first, but as our moving dates approach, I slowly retreat into my own chaotic, stressed-out little world. My normal daily thoughts about (insertive thoughts, eg, dog hair, brisk walks, coffee, thawed chicken, Friday night hearths) – are slowly being replaced, one by one, by frantic ramblings and strange inner voices , until I became a military spouse precariously perched on the threshold of soulful madness.
“How did we accumulate all this bullshit? We need more plastic storage bins! What happens if I forget to call to turn off the cable? We have to plug this hole in the wall before the housing inspection! What if we go over the weight limit again? Why didn’t I remove the stickers from the furniture from our last move? »
Be warned. In the days before the packers arrive, I will become so self-absorbed that I will be unable to have normal social interaction. In a subconscious attempt to push other humans away and thereby minimize distractions, I will stop showering, brushing my hair, and applying deodorant. I’ll become so determined to use our food that I’ll whip up weird casseroles with things like pork chops, oyster crackers, canned green beans, raisins, and tater tots. I’ll walk around the house armed with Sharpie markers and a clipboard, mumbling something about ziplock bags and duct tape, my left eye twitching from a stress-induced tick.
It’s not a pretty sight. But at this point, I really don’t care about my rat’s nest hairstyle, the drool on my chin, the luck of the neighborhood, the next episode of Survivor, or you. Because all I can think of is one thing: our next move.
As I write this, I have exactly (insert number) days until the moving company arrives to pack every coffee mug, photo album, extension cord, lounge chair, lampshade, screwdriver, textbook, holiday ornament, bicycle, pencil and photo frame we own.
The reason I love you is because you understand. Until our household items arrive at their new destination, until we find the towels, sheets, dishes, TV remote and coffee maker, and until I collapse on the couch in our new home and taking a deep breath – I won’t realize how much I really miss you.
Thank you, my friend, for always forgiving me.
Molinari is an award-winning syndicated columnist, author, blogger and speaker, as well as the wife of a retired Navy member.