Guest Blogger: Faith St. Thomas
Semper Gumby. As an Air Force brat, who married a sailor, I know with a certainty that flexibility is the secret sauce of military life. My husband is a Chief Petty Officer who had deployed five times in Panama and in and around the Strait of Hormuz, before we met. Then, we married and had the luxury of an assignment in Washington, where my husband came home for dinner every night.
It is the point of military readiness: be prepared when duty calls. If I needed confirmation of that point, I got it just weeks after we found out I was pregnant with multiples. Tony got new orders to deploy. I moved in with his parents, who were career Army. They knew how to see me through what would be a very difficult pregnancy. It would give us all our beautiful little Isaac and soon after he was born, we would join my husband at Yokosuka in Japan.
Two years later, it’s a strain on my family to be so far from Isaac during developmental milestones, but he has settled right in and moves effortlessly through Japanese culture. It is a charmed start to his life that will no doubt pay incredible dividends as he grows older.
As for me, I am a former Navy civilian employee. Jobs for spouses stationed in Japan are scarce and childcare is scarcer still. So for now, I am content to raise Isaac and mentor the wives of new petty officers who arrive on base. We founded a spouses club at Yokosuka some months ago. Serving alongside these women is a tremendous honor. They are smart, hard-working and so resilient it can be easy for them to take themselves for granted. If my work and history are to carry a message to them, it would be that Semper Gumby doesn’t mean Semper Solo. Not only is there an accidental but strong support network of spouses always available in a pinch or in times of stress, there are military services created to help nurture emotional stamina. Military family wholeness is a critical foundation for military readiness. Taking care of ourselves – and asking for help when we need it – is our duty as we support the service members who serve the nation.