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!
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.
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.
“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:
Iced cookies (from Two Smart Cookies–yum!) tied with burlap twine:
They even strung a cute “Bon Voyage” banner on the glass case (sorry I don’t have a close up):
The best part was that they filled the room with all of the people who made our two years in Savannah so wonderful!
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.
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–