A Bon Voyage Farewell Luncheon

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Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

It’s always hard to say goodbye when we move on to the next adventure, but last week’s farewell luncheon that “my” ladies threw for me was particularly bittersweet.

I put “my” in quotes, because I read once that I’m not supposed to call them “my” ladies, because that indicates ownership, but I’ve really never been able to call them anything but!  I think they all understand why, though.

If you’re not familiar with military culture, here’s a little bit of how it works:  spouses (usually wives, so those are the pronouns I’ll be using) never wear their husband’s rank, meaning that I would never presume to tell one of his soldiers (or their spouse) what to do or ask for special treatment because of my husband’s rank.  That being said, there is a certain amount of respect accorded to us oldsters given the fact that we’ve usually been there, done that, for more years than everyone else.  I am a bit of a “grizzled veteran” myself, if you will.  Pregnancy, childbirth, and colicky baby while the hubs is deployed?  Been there.  Moving to a new state alone?   Done that.  No-notice deployments that start the day before Christmas and drag on for months?  Got the T-shirt.   Kids with emotional issues because their parent has been gone half of their lives?  Check.  How to navigate a health care system that’s drowning in red tape and bureaucracy?  I can teach the class. OK, maybe no one’s figured that one out yet, but I can feel your pain along with you!

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So, for the past two years, while my husband has commanded; I have served as a resource for “my” ladies.  I’ve worked most closely with this key group, who do most of the heavy lifting that it takes to keep our unit’s families informed and supported.  A couple of them had to miss this event, but were there in spirit.

group-farewell-marked

We’ve been through quite a bit together.  We’ve weathered the loss of two fine soldiers, supported families through several life-threatening injuries, and have seen our husbands gone roughly 50% of the time that we’ve been in Savannah.  That is the reality of being married to someone who is part of a wartime Army, and while we don’t spend much time, if any, complaining or feeling sorry for ourselves, it’s awfully nice to have friends who understand exactly what you’re going through.  And despite all that we’ve faced, while juggling the usual work, school, kids, and other volunteer commitments, this remarkable team was out there giving their all.  I honestly can’t praise them enough!

It’s military tradition to welcome a new senior spouse when he/she arrives, and farewell them when they leave.  It’s a great opportunity to meet everyone (or say goodbye) all at once.  The guest list is usually determined by protocol for the welcome, but at the farewell you get some leeway and can add to the guest list a bit.

“My” ladies selected B. Tillman for a Sunday afternoon brunch (I highly recommend it if you’re visiting Savannah).  I’ve always been a huge fan of their decor and food, and they make hosting large events easy.

Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

“My” ladies then proceeded to decorate for a “Bon Voyage” farewell party, and they used everything that I love, like paper straws AND mason jars:

paper-straws

Iced cookies (from Two Smart Cookies–yum!) tied with burlap twine:

Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

They even strung a cute “Bon Voyage” banner on the glass case (sorry I don’t have a close up):

Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

The best part was that they filled the room with all of the people who made our two years in Savannah so wonderful!

Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

 

table

 

FRG

Then they said a bunch of really awesome things about me, and I cried, and then I had to speak a bit to everyone (and my voice quivered the entire time because I wanted to cry some more), and then they gave me lots of awesome presents that I didn’t deserve but love anyway and will treasure forever.

One of my favorites was this shell wreath; it’s a perfect reminder of the low country.

Bon Voyage farewell party | 11 Magnolia Lane

One of the only good parts about a military move is that we can usually say “see you later” instead of goodbye, since chances are good that we’ll cross paths with many of our friends in the future.  So, to “my” ladies: Christina, Nicole, Tess, Jeanna, Ashley, Maureen, Dani, Stephanie, Sherene, Tami, Heather, Jean, Michelle, and Birgit (and SO many more wonderful women)– thank you for everything, I’ll see you later, and LNSDQ!

Thanks for stopping by–

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Comments

  1. I can’t even imagine for so many reasons! To have your husband gone so much and in uncertain circumstances has to be so hard. Please know how much we appreciate the sacrifices your whole family makes. To leave sweet friends over and over would be so hard too! We’ve only moved a couple of times and it’s tough. I feel for you. Obviously your friends love you . You all make a great support system.

  2. Military wives are the best…the best of the best. I am so happy that you all have such a tremendous support system…was not the case with my mom back on Army Bases after WWII…my dad was away so much and my mother being a Japanese War Bride was not so very welcomed…so it just warms my heart to see you all so supportive of each other and not saying goodbye, but until we meet again….true special friends forever…Safe travels Christy!

  3. Hats off to all our military families who so much for our country. I have lived in the same town except for college my whole life and I cannot imagine what it’s like to have to say good bye so often, not to mention the challenge of moving. As the saying goes: “Make new friends, but keep the old; some are silver and the others gold:.

  4. http://Heidi says

    I can relate Christy! I have been part of the military life all my life. Military wives form special bonds. No matter where I go, I always find myself in the company of other military wives even off base. We have a sisterhood! Good luck in your new community! I get to move next month so am excited but yes it’s bittersweet.

  5. I love the sense of “being in this together” and the support that each of you offer. Years ago, I was in a relationship with an Army Ranger, LTC, and yes ~ gone all the time! 😉 I’ve been a volunteer with Soldier’s Angels since I retired in ’03 and always feel I can’t do enough! Please know that all service men/women and their families are so appreciated for their service and sacrifices! I just wish there were more supporters ~

    The party looks lovely! I know you have beautiful memories from Savannah to treasure in the years to come. That shell wreath is gorgeous.

    Thinking of you and your family during this move ~ safe travels!
    xo
    Pat

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