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War: The Other Front


There are two fronts to this war:  The Middle Eastern front and the Home front.  Sometimes I forget about the home front. 

The theft of our mini-van has placed an added stress on my family.   It’s not only that the mini-van that was stolen, but it’s the second and third order affects that are magnifying the situation.  It’s worrying about another car payment. It’s worrying about our identities being stolen.  It’s my wife and our children not feeling safe and secure inside the confines of our home.  It’s about her not having enough time in the day to handle babies and kids, make hours and hours of phone calls to banks, credit agencies, detectives, insurance companies, car dealerships and anyone else that she gets referred to.  It’s about her dealing with extended family issues.  It’s about her staying up all night with alternating with crying babies. It’s about dealing with a teenage daughter.  (How do you get a teenage girl to screw in a light bulb?  Tell her to hold onto it and the rest of the world will revolve around her.)  It’s the entire mess lumped on top of my wife all while I am in Iraq living a grenade’s throw away from one jackass.

However, it’s also about me. (Ladies, read further before you decide to castrate me).

It’s about me not listening enough.  It’s about me hearing words, but not really listening. (Can you believe I have a flaw and I am admitting to it in a public forum?)  We born and raised Irish New Englanders are not bred to do such things as listen.  In fact it’s probably part of my charm that makes me a better soldier than husband. 

The Army is easy, “my rank is higher than yours so go do it.”  When you say, “no”, then there are repercussions.  But my wife doesn’t have rank and I sometimes forget that.  (If she did I would just make her General and let my pain begin.) 

Source: Internet

Source: Internet

So when I am not listening, I am missing an important message:

 “Hey!  I know you’re at war and all, but things happen here too and I am doing this by myself.  I don’t want answers from you, but I want you to know that I am frustrated that this thief has caused all these issues, I am more frustrated because I can’t vent to you about it, and even more frustrated because you’re not here to help with this and it would have never happened if you cleaned out the garage before you left!”  (The part about the garage:  True. I suck.)

(Later, that evening, at a non-listeners anonymous meeting…)

Me:  Hi, my name is Jim, and I’m a non-listener.

All the other husbands sleeping on their sofas:  Hi Jim.

Effeminate Group Counselor pursing his lips:  Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Roxanne permalink
    2009/07/18 20:28

    Wow Jim, thanks for being so honest about it all, that is the first step in being accountable and yes there is so much you cannot do for your family when you are there and she is here and she understands that, but like you said, she just wants you to listen. I am a former combat mp and could relate to everything you are saying as well. Right now I am trying to get back into the reserves, but at 48, difficulties, if God wants me there, he will create an opening, in his timing, and my son just joined the navy reserves, that is how you get a teen to screw in the lightbulb, you do the tough love thing, followed by many nights of connecting, I love you, how are you, just knowing your there means so much, they feel safe and secure and are still acting out, but in a few years then you see your fruits and wow, God puts joy right back into your heart. You see, I was engaged to a petty chief a few months ago, i went to greece to see him, came back here, he started internet dating, then on my BD when he came back to the states, she was waiting for him, I was dumped, oh well, I survived, it was painful, but I know God closed that door, another one that he opens, no one will shut. I am telling you this, because even though, you are miles apart from your family, make every attempt to contact them in some way. I would like to see her join the blue star moms group, or go to notalone, for spouses of soldiers, they just had a wonderful online support series that I was apart of, then she needs to toughen up on the teen and just tell her to help out. She also needs to reach out to others and dont feel ashamed to do that. She has to stay healthy for her family. So find a group of moms in her area and get her connected. One thing at a time, once you accomplish something on this honey to do list, then the mountain doesn’t seem so big. Thanks for serving our country!!!!

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