Monday, October 24, 2011


 Interpersonal relationships are very important for women. You love your kids, and you adore your husband. But I would have to say some of the most important relationships we women have are the ones with our girlfriends. Otherwise, who else would we complain to about our husband and kids?
 Your girls are the ones that you call when you first start dating the man who will become your husband. They’re the ones that share champagne with you after he pops the question. They also stand next to you as you take your vows. And when it’s their turn down the aisle, you are right there for them.
 Aside from your parents, who are the first people that you call when you find out you’re pregnant? Your girls, of course. They throw your baby shower. Listen to you complain about being the size of a whale. And they bring you cheeseburgers in the hospital.
 My girlfriends have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. They’ve provided me with brutal honesty when I’ve made dumb decisions, and also lifted me up when my confidence was wavering. They are my sounding off board when I need help making decisions, and they are my biggest cheerleaders when I’m trying something new.
 There is no greater test of friendship than a stressful situation. My husband is a Marine. He is no longer active duty, but the experience of being a Marine wife is something I’d never want to take back. Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is where I met the women I now call my best friends.
 I take that back, I was still living in Iowa when I “met” Mary Louise. She had posted the same question on two different Marine Corps support discussion boards that I log on to. I answered her question (hopefully I was helpful) on both boards, not knowing which one she was more likely to see it on. We ended up exchanging private messages, then exchanged emails, and then finally phone numbers.
 I remember that first phone call. I didn’t know what to expect, it had been years since I’d made a new friend. And, Mary Louise is eight years younger than me. She was still in high school. I was already married and had two children. But we were united by a very strong common bond. We love our Marines (her Recruit at the time).
 Mary Louise ended up being smart, sarcastic, and above all, a sweetheart. We learned that friendship doesn’t discriminate. You don’t have to have everything in common to best friends, but we had enough.
 Janna actually knew my husband before we became friends. She is a female Marine, and she and Jesse were in the same Unit before both being TAD out to other companies. She and I met when she started dating, and later married, one of Jesse’s buddies. (But that’s a WHOLE other story ...)
 In Janna, I found another sarcastic, take no crap, strong woman. Just the fact that she made it through Boot Camp is a testimony of her strength. But, she again, ended up being a fellow Marine wife when her husband deployed with mine. We leaned on each other when one or the other’s husband didn’t call. We shared ideas for care packages. We called each other when we were our loneliest, because we knew what the other was going through.
 Janna and I also share a love for baking, she has become my partner in Cooking Crime. We both have a problem eating the things that we make. Janna and I solved the problem by sharing our goodies with each other. But it’s okay, because Janna is also a kick-ass trainer, and about the only other person that could keep up with me during P90X.
 Probably my favorite “how did you meet?” story has to be shared with Tiffanie. I love being involved. Volunteering is one of my favorite things to do. It’s also high on Tiffanie’s to-do list.
 One day, my FRO (Family Readiness Officer) emailed me an opportunity to take part in a panel discussing the controversial “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. The other wife of my husband’s unit wasn’t able to make it, so there I sat on the bleachers all alone. Tiffanie walked in, late, and sat beside me. When everyone was asked to move in to a smaller group, she moved with me. We shared a lot of the same views on the policy, and I learned that she was, also, a very outspoken personality. Tiff and I walked out of the panel together, exchanged phone numbers, and the rest is pretty much history.
 Tiffanie knew more about the Marine Corps in general, and I knew more about Camp Lejeune. (Tiffanie had just moved to the area.) I was a stay at home mom in need of adult conversation, and she needed a place to hang out while her husband was at work. It was a great match.
 Our first family portraits were taken by Mary Louise. She needed us to help build her photography portfolio. To this day, she is the only one that can get my husband to really smile for a picture. She (and Vincent) have become like family to us. If you’ve ever heard her and Jesse argue, you would think that we were family. (I would love to hear what people think when we all go out in public together ...)
 Janna is my Starbucks buddy. Sometimes it seems like she’s my Starbucks Bitch. I whine that I need some coffee, and half an hour later she magically appears at my door with a Venti Mocha Frappe. Explain that one. Starbucks just isn’t the same without her. Not that there’s one within an hour of my house, anyway. (sad face ... )
 Tiffanie is my favorite wine-o. She always brings a good time with her. Not that we ever get out of hand, mind you, but we definitely know how to relax and enjoy ourselves. Tiffanie is like an open book, some of our conversations can even make me blush! I cherish those honest talks with her.
 I would probably say that I’m the big sister. Seeing as I’m older than everyone, was married before the Marine Corps, and already have three kids, it kind of came naturally. But I’m okay with that. Like I’ve told all the Marine wives I’ve talked with throughout the years:  If I can save someone the hassle/worry/headache that I went through, I am more than happy to share my knowledge.
 Jesse and I didn’t meet until we were twenty-two, I already had a daughter by then. We didn’t marry until I was twenty-five. A year later, Jesse enlisted. I’ve got plenty of life experience under my belt. We’ve been through just about every relationship peak, valley, and plateau there is. One thing’s for sure, the support of my sisters has helped me through most of those darkest times.
 We’ve all changed in our time as friends. Some of us have moved on from the Marine Corps. Some of us have moved on from relationships. But one thing has never changed, I still talk to at least one of my girlfriends every single day. They listen to me rave and rant about my new life back in Iowa, and I do the same for them. I still share my hopes and dreams with them, and I support them in all of their endeavors.
 We are not sorority sisters, but sisters in silent arms (Once a Marine wife, always a Marine wife). These friendships were forged later in life, for me, but they are ties that I hope to keep until the end. I love you dearly Mary Louise, Janna & Tiffanie.

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