Seven Stages of Military Wifehood
_Stage one:_ You don't know cammies from a poncho liner. You wonder what
all those "old" women do at those luncheons, attending a potluck dinner
requires 10 long distance calls to mother.
_Stage two:_ You sew patches on cammies, attend luncheons, mistakenly iron
the poncho liner (which melts) but otherwise are a perfect Navy wife.
_Stage three:_ You discover the post alterations shop and never sew again.
Children enter your life and you forget to attend the luncheon you
volunteer to host. The dog throws up on the poncho liner. Mom calls you for
recipes. You ask your Navy husband to please drop off those infernal smelly
cammies at the cleaners.
_Stage four:_ You've been promoted to a position of authority in the Navy
wife support system; younger wives look up to you. You get kids off to
school, work on you career, tone up your body and try to set an example.
You make lots of lists.
_Stage five:_ Entering the fifth phase, your spouse hangs up his cammies,
dons desert camouflage, and leaves his family to go half way around the
world to preserve peace. You miss him terrible, but rediscover the wonder
of a love letter. The kids hang yellow ribbons. The poncho liner becomes
the family security blanket.
_Stage six:_ He returns home, and you once again are the perfect Navy wife.
But this time you can manage your family, your job, and your time better
because you know what is most important.
_Stage seven:_ You're close to retirement years and the chance for a new
way of life. The thought of leaving the Navy creates mixed emotions; you
start to think about another tour. Your parents are starting to need you
more than your children do. You find more time for yourself, and suddenly
you are one of the "old" women at the luncheon.
And so we learn and grow. Each time we step forward, we leave a little
innocence behind. For civilians, the props are different, but the story is
excerpt from "Stages of An Army Wife: the evolution of the Poncho
liner" by Tracey Wood