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September 20, 2021

What's Life Really Like for Military Wives?

I just read a powerful essay, by Kayt Sukel, on washingtonpost.com. The piece, "They Called, I Answered. It Got to Me," will run in tomorrow's Washington Post.

Sukel's husband is deployed to Iraq for the second time. She is living in Germany with their 3-year-old son, taking care of the family finances (and everything else that needs to be done to keep a family running) and tending to her freelance-writing business. Sounds like a full plate, right?

But Sukel has also taken on the daunting task of running the company-level Family Readiness Group, or FRG, a military support group for Army wives. As I read of the dizzying number of phone calls Sukel receives from wives worried about overly long deployments for their husbands, possible infidelity, financial problems, parenting challenges and so much more, I could feel the toll that this volunteer job takes on her.

So often the media shows military families waving flags as they send their loved ones off to war. What we don't see nearly enough of are the long months and years between the leaving and the coming home. The stress, the financial problems, the marital issues, the single-parenting challenges. We don't see enough of the day-to-day life of a military spouse.

Kayt Sukel has painted a picture here that will stay with me for a long time.

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Kayt Sukel is an excellent writer and a wonderful example of the service and dedication of military spouses world wide. As a fellow military spouse I can empathize with her thoughts and concerns. I too have agonized over how to be the traffic cop rather than the mommy who runs in and fixes things.

The reality is, military families need both the traffic cop and the caring volunteer like Kayt. I have received the late night calls and found myself caring for infants belonging to women I had only just met. Military families are incredibly strong and resourceful, but we all need a hand from time to time. Support services and command sponsored events can never replace the one to one support military spouses receive from each other. Kayt's command is very fortunate to have her!

Jessica, thanks for that wonderful comment. I know Kayt will appreciate it!

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