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Gifts in Tandem: The Experience and the Telling

We are an asset,” she said. “We bring a richness and a diversity of experience.” She said more words about who we are and why we’re great, but honestly my heart was still responding to, “We are an asset.

Yes, yes, yes, my heart repeated as a tear threatened to ruin my mascara.

I sat in my seat scanning the room hoping to glean from facial expressions and body postures that everyone else was as affected by this senior spouse’s words as I was. 

See us. Hear us. Know us,” my mind silently pleaded.

I’ve spent more years of my military spouse life than I care to admit feeling unrecognizable. Unseen. Unheard. Unknown.

Yet with four simple words this woman sat in front of a room full of people and told them who we are….an asset.

While her words were what resonated within me, it was her actions: the telling, the willingness to speak openly, honestly, and full of vulnerability that is the gift that has been given to me time and time again in this military spouse life.

 

This gift came from great teachers, seasoned spouses, who walked this path before I did.

 

Their willingness to tell me their stories and encourage me to share my own is a gift I didn’t know I needed, but I’m sure glad it was given to me. 

The second greatest gift of being a military spouse is exactly what this senior spouse said, “We bring a richness and a diversity of experience.”

We bring it to our local communities when we PCS from coast to coast and culture to culture. We bring it ‘home’ to our families who may still reside in the small town we grew up in. We bring it to our workplaces and our children’s schools.

 

Perhaps most importantly, we bring it to one another when we meet each other at a new to us duty station.

 

Without the military spouses in my life, I would not have hiked a portion of the tallest peak in the lower 48 states.

I would have missed out on authentic Hawaiian cuisine. 

I would not have had Italian espresso in a local Neapolitan café.

I would have spent the last week of our time in San Diego staring at the walls of the Navy Lodge instead of going to a fiesta complete with a pinata.

And I would not have friend in almost every time zone who is always willing to pick up the phone. 

 

This richness and diversity of experience is what drives the telling, and I am grateful they are gifted in tandem.

 

These are things that the me before becoming a military spouse could not have fathomed as assets from this lifestyle. 

The assets I signed up for more closely resembled seeing my service member in dress blues and the lofty idea that because my husband joined the Navy, I, by proxy, may be able to see the world.

What I did not realize is that the world would come to me in the form of my military spouse friends sharing their traditions, their passions, and their time so benevolently.  

I know my life is richer because of the collective greatness of these two gifts and the multitude of spouses who have graciously given them to me over the years.

Thank you.

I will never be unmoved by this community who continues to share freely of its richness and its stories for the betterment of the rest of us. 

 

 

 

2023 Blog Contest WINNER Jenny Lynne Stroup, Navy Spouse

experience
Jenny Lynne Stroup is a native of the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. She is the spouse of a prior-enlisted, combat experienced naval officer and a mother of two children. 

Stroup’s mission and passion to serve, advocate for, and deliver resources and encouragement to active-duty service members, veterans, and their families while bridging the gap between themilitary and civilian communities is born of her personal experience.

Jenny Lynne grew up a civilian in the shadow of the world’s largest Navy base yet had no idea what military life entailed. She uses stories to connect to others, by showcasing the human experience through the lens of being an active-duty military spouse.

Her works are represented in her publishing credits including a personal blog, Task & Purpose, the Warhorse, Military.com, and Legacy Magazine as well as co-hosting several seasons of the Holding Down The Fort Podcast.

 

 

 

*Head over to M:M to read posts from our Runner Up and other finalists.

 

 

 

 

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  • M:M Command Team

    With over 159 years of military spouse experience and 68 PCSes under their belts, the M:M Command team is the ultimate Battle Buddy to help navigate Milspouse life. Powered by volunteer spirit and optimism the M:M Command Team could run a small country, but instead are dedicated entirely to the global empowerment of military spouses to help them conquer adversity, foster confidence, and thrive in this military life.

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