I asked one innocent little question: “Honey, what’s something I would never say?” And then it was like the floodgates opened.
- “You’re right.”
- “I’ll make you anything you want for dinner.”
- “Golf all day, sure!”
- “No, really, you sleep in. I’ll get up with the kids.”
- “Your dirty clothes are just fine on the floor!”
- “I don’t really feel like shopping.”
This went on for a while – like a LONG while – I don’t even think my husband paused to breathe. I finally cut him off before he said something that I was going to make him regret by sarcastically saying, “OK you’re on the right track, but maybe just do some more brainstorming and you’ll think of something.”
I needed to be more specific. After all, saying, “I need you to help out more around the house,” gets me nowhere, but saying, “Empty the dishwasher and take out the trash,” usually gets the job done. What I really needed help brainstorming was stuff military spouses never say. So, without any help from DH – as military spouses often say – here’s a list I came up with.
- My social security number is…Yeah, no one cares about our nine little digits. It took me 18 years to learn my own, but roughly six months of marriage and one good public cry thanks to a cranky lady working at the lab in the base hospital to learn my husband’s.
- Problem solved, and it only took one phone call! If you ever – I repeat, EVER – “fix” anything in a short phone call, be suspicious. You might think the problem is gone from your life forever, but you’ll arrive for your son’s first dentist appointment to discover that he was never registered as a dependent eligible for dental coverage. Or take your newborn daughter for her first well exam only to find she’s in the system as a male (both true stories). It’s an unwritten rule that to accomplish anything you must be transferred to at least three extensions, leave the same voice mail twice and wait a minimum of 48 business hours (keep in mind that anything after noon on a Friday is considered a weekend…and don’t forget Monday is a holiday) before receiving a call telling you that you have to come in person to sign something anyway.
- We’ll both be there. RSVPs send me into a cold sweat. I’d like to say that we’ll be at your wedding, but my husband might be deployed, training or standing duty. That little check yes or no box isn’t sufficient; I need a short answer section to explain that I might be there solo, toting one toddler (mid-tantrum, of course) and/or a teething baby, or I might have to flake at the last second because one of the aforementioned woke up with a some strange medical condition that only surfaces when my husband leaves the city limits.
- We’re from…I’m a Texan, my husband was a military brat so he’s a long story, my son was born in North Carolina and my daughter in Texas. I am already anticipating the inevitable confusion the first time someone asks my kids where they’re from.
- I understood all of that. Is it just me, or do our service members explain nothing clearly? I’m becoming increasingly suspicious that the military is making up acronyms and words with entirely too many syllables because they eventually want me to become cross-eyed.
- The uniform is all right. Do we love a man or woman in uniform? Yep! Do we have any idea what each uniform is called? Nope, ignorance is bliss.
- We bought our dream home! I’ve loved things about each of our homes, but I’ve never been “in love” with them. Who knows where we’ll retire. I don’t even know where we’ll celebrate my son’s fifth birthday. Silver lining: I have my husband’s entire military career to house hunt, so when we finally buy our dream home, it’s going to be spectacular. Housewarming party invitation to follow (in a decade or so).
- The connection during our last weekly video chat was perfect! Granted, we’re lucky to have the technology that we do, but how frustrating is it when we’re in the middle of a conversation that we’ve anticipated for days and the call freezes – never during a flattering facial expression? Inevitably the call goes from frozen to dropped, which leads to 10 minutes of trying to call each other back at the exact same time, thus canceling the calls out (much like trying to pull the handle on the car door at the exact same time the person inside is trying to lift the lock). Frustration at its finest!
- What am I going to do without my service member all weekend? Only missing our service members for 48 hours is barely a challenge after we’ve done it once or twice. Is it ideal? No, but trust me we can handle it.
- I’m bored. I’ll give you a minute to recompose yourself after that involuntary laughter. Ready? We probably average 15 minutes of “me time” per day, so we’re in no need of busy work. Even those lonely deployments don’t afford much downtime since the deployment curse breaks something the second we get complacent.
Military life is all about flexibility; anything can change – I know. But I can confidently promise that I’ll never say any of these as long as my husband is still donning his uniform. And the earlier suggestions from my husband? You’ll never catch me saying those either, uniform or no uniform!