A lot of times people outside of the military feel sorry for military spouses. And it's true--the moves every 1-3 years, the lengthy separations, the living apart from family and friends (and often in rural areas with not a lot of entertainment) are not the pretty parts of the service. However, every once in a while you remember why being a part of a military community can be a wonderful thing.
One of the wives in my husband's squadron fell down a set of stairs and broke her foot last week, and ended up in the hospital with six screws in her leg. But that wasn't the worst part--she was also 8 1/2 months pregnant And she has two young children. And our husbands were out of town for training.
She was fortunate that her oldest child could get to her phone and call 911. And thankfully, her husband was able to fly home as soon as he heard. The baby was unharmed, and she gave birth this week to a healthy boy. Still, she faces a tough road ahead with three children, a cast on her leg, and an inability to walk at all for six weeks. But our husbands' CO's wife took action immediately. She let us know the details of the hospital and surgeries so we could visit, and she immediately set up a meal delivery chain for a month's worth of meals. And I think people responded to these efforts because we all knew that if we were in that position, we would want to feel that other people cared as well.
These are the kinds of things that don't happen every day outside of the military. If someone is lucky enough to be a part of a great church, then there might be similar kindnesses. But I have to remind myself sometimes that I am lucky to have "built-in friends" as a military spouse. There are always people I can turn to for help if I need it. And that is a wonderful thing.
This is all not to mention the automatic health care we all receive, and the fact that this spouse who broke her foot will likely only see very small medical bills (or none at all if she had Tricare Prime). I was in a car accident a few weeks ago in which I was rear-ended by a delivery truck while sitting at a stoplight. USAA covered every bit of my car's $2500 repair (including the deductible and a $800 rental car bill). And the numerous doctors' visits and physical therapies that resulted from the accident will be covered by Tricare and USAA as well.
There is always a trade-off, I guess, when you're talking about the military. There are a lot of unknowns, a lot of beaurocracy, and a lot of moves, and sometimes there are financial struggles. But there are stable salaries and stable healthcare, and, sometimes most importantly, there are great communities along the way.