Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Can you hear me now?

I had an odd thought this morning after listening to yet another one of friends complain about not hearing from her husband yesterday. Why are so many of my friends complaining that they don't hear from their soldiers everyday. EVERYDAY!?!?!? These people are in a fucking war zone in the middle of a fucking desert and you're complaining that they don't have constant cell phone service or instant internet access. You've got to be joking, right? I know that you miss them with every fiber of your being, but lets be realistic here.

We are a generation of instant gratification and its gonna get us in trouble.

Only a few decades ago military wives had to wait weeks, months, for a letter from their husbands. We seriously need to get over ourselves and stop demanding this from our loved ones. They don't need that additional pressure from us. They cant control the rolling blackouts and cell phone reception. Don't you think they are calling as much as they can? Can't we just be happy with the fact that we heard from them YESTERDAY and not complain about them not being on the internet today? So many soldiers have access to internet, skype, instant messaging, web cams, cell phones, myspace, and facebook. Soldiers and their families are SO LUCKY that the world is so small now compared to only 20 years ago.

Lucy informed me today that even 26 years ago when her father was deployed, her mother got ONE 3 MINUTE phone call a month and had to wait for hand written letters. I just cant imagine some of my friends "making it through" without the perpetual calls, emails, text messages and IMs.

But I know that not all soldiers and their families are as lucky as others and they dont hear from them twice a day. But it's still more than my grandmother heard from my grandfather in Vietnam. It must have been excruciatingly painful to watch your husband walk away and not know when you would hear from them again. And today, that same soldier husband can call home when he makes it to his connecting flight in Germany and Kuwait.

Yes, I understand that my husband has never been deployed and I'm sure I cant even imagine the hardship you're going through. Except that Joe was in Germany for two years. And there were times he couldn't call me for weeks because the PX ran out of phone cards because they were sending them all downrange. Did I spaz out? Of course not. It didnt mean he didnt love me any less. That's just the way the Army is sometimes. And yes, I was glued to my cell phone for months because I didnt want to miss a call, maybe the only call I would get that week. But I certainly didnt complain to everyone around me that Joe didnt call me that particular day. Because I knew he would be able to call eventually. Just like deployed Soldiers are today.

Now, I know someone will jump all over me saying that they like to hear from their husband or boyfriend EVERYDAY so they can know he is okay. And I completely understand that. How dare I complain about them wanting to hear from their loved one??? That's not the point I'm trying to make at all. Yes, your husband is in a war zone. And you are very concerned. But he's there only because he volunteered for it. He signed that paper. And you signed up for this Army wife life.

But it dawned on me today just how lucky we really are as Army wives in 2009, not 1979, 1959, or even 1939. Think about it. The hardship is still there, no one can deny that. But some parts are far easier.

I guess my point is, just please don't take it for granted.


Sara said...

I edited my post already. I had the privilage of chatting with Lucy's father this weekend. He cleared up a few things for me. He said that the communications people had a schedule for the deployed servicemen. You got a timed THREE minute phone call ONCE a month. Can you even imagine?!?! So think about that the next time you're boyfriend or husband isnt able to talk to you exactly when you want him to.

TheAlbrechtSquad said...

I agree. It it one of the things that bothers me about many of the military wives in our generation (they can hate me for saying this). We live in a society that has a warped sense of entitlement and that blows into our military. I truly believe that this luxury of daily phone calls and emails is often the main stressor in military relationships. You forget to be grateful for what you do have. Every time my husband has been deployed we have been grateful for the limited access that he had. We remember earlier deployments when phone time and letters were our only means of communication. We were almost stupid with happiness when we saw that there would be internet in Iraq because we remember only hearing from each other every 2-3 weeks. And even his last rotation was limited communication but we were grateful for what we had.

So in my rambling, I am saying I agree, lol

Jen said...

Oh Sara, you've hit the nail on the head... During Jeff's first deployment way back in 1997, he was able to call home usually once a week. Sometimes the lines were down, but for the most part, it was once a week. 10 minutes. A recording would come on at 9 minutes, 30 seconds and say, "You have 30 seconds left." At 10 minutes, the call was disconnected...like it or not! 10 minutes isn't a lot of time when you have a sound delay... We relied a lot on snail mail...there was limited email then; and Jeff certainly didn't have it in his room!

So long story short, yeah, we've got it good compaired to what it has been like. I couldn't imagine what it was like during WW2 when families would go weeks and months without letters...and what they did get would have parts cut out or blackend due to security risks.

*~*Mandi*~* said...

I love this post. Its something that has gone through my head off and on since he left. My only problem that I am facing now is, that he has the ability to call every couple of days, so he doesnt use ANY other means of communication. Sometimes there will be 5 days between when I hear from him. Hes been deployed 3 months, and I havent received ONE letter. They get FREE postage for letters over there, and I loaded him with paper and envelopes. IMO, a real hand written letter menas more and lasts longer then a 5 min phone call. Sure we get instant gratification that hes ok, but a phone call cannot be read over and over again.

Ok, I dont quite remember where I was going with this.... But I LOVE your post :-)

Anonymous said...

Great post, Sara. My little circle of friend (yes, we're all old) struggles with this regularly, as the younger generation struggles with their own type of deployment issues.

I, for one, don't think that all this communication is a good thing. I hate myself when I start internally whining that I haven't heard anything from my husband in a couple of days. That type of energy needs to be saved for more pressing issues!

Thanks for writing this. I haven't noticed any negative comments yet!

Tonja +Jere + Kids said...

i totally agree...in the three deployments my husband made, the last two he called just about everyday when he could or once a week at least, and I tried not to miss one call, I did miss some, but we wrote letters and emails alot and he would sure text my phone religously when he could...and I would text back but I never fussed at him for not calling,or emailing me or texting me, that would have been dumb and he never got at me like that either. The phone is and was not an extension of my fingers, and neither was it on his end either. we were both grateful for everything we got, and he would call me free alot through the 10 minute line on base, and just keep calling back...I remember those days.

i also have every letter he has written me and i cherish those the most and the emails too.