Monday, June 1, 2009

Book Review: Standing By (Part 2)

One post just wasn't enough for this book. I've been bummed to hear that I missed discussing this book with one of the base book clubs during May, but luckily, you dear readers get to hear my thoughts and reactions to the book instead! I keep flipping back through the book and finding more passages or ideas that kickstart my brain, so we may have a couple more posts about this book. (Hopefully Alison doesn't mind all the free publicity! ;)

Click here for Part 1 of the Book Review.

On attitude and perspective...

* Alison Buckholtz talks about the move across the country, a complete uprooting from everything and everyone with which she was familiar. She felt like she was leaving herself behind. I know this exact feeling -- the only "thing" I moved for was NavyGuy. Had he not been assigned to the Whidbey base, I would never have ended up in this corner of the world. Buckholtz had an epiphany during her time in Anacortes, and was able to adopt an attitude that I am still reaching for: "I suddenly saw this tour [term for her husband's assignment to Whidbey Island] as much more than an interruption, a temporary hiatus from my mostly scripted life, which I would at some point in the future return to unchanged... The losses following our crosscountry move echoed profoundly... but I understood that Anacortes wasn't going to be the end of me. It was, instead, the beginning of who I am."

* Alison describes standing in her neighborhood with another military spouse and hearing a Prowler jet fly overhead.

"I love that sound," Millie said, after it flew off.
"You're kidding," I replied, though Milile and I were so different that nothing should have surprised me. "I hate that sound. I absolutely despite it."
It was her turn to look shocked. "Okay, explain," she said.
"I hear it and remember that Scott's not with me. It's a concrete reminder of why he's gone and what he's doing when he's gone. I want to forget, but the jets don't let me forget."
"Hmmmm," she replied, carefully. "For me, it's exactly the opposite. Hearing the jets is the one thing that comforts me when Leo's gone, because I know he absolutely loves being in that airplane. He hates being away from us, but he's doing something that makes him happy. So listening to the plane rip the air means he's somewhere out there, making the most of our time apart."

Wow. That one took me a minute to digest. Until reading that, I would have never dreamed of anything except Alison's point of view. Not only do the Prowlers that fly overhead irritate the crap out of me if I'm watching TV and I have to pause the show (yes, they're literally that loud, even with every window closed), but they do make me think of NavyGuy every time I hear them. I think of him being deployed, being in a dangerous airplane, risking so many things, and me sitting here in the house with absolutely no control over any of it. That Prowler roar mocks me.

Millie's perspective took me aback at first, but it's such a great example of how your attitude will make or break you when you're a military spouse. Compulsory cheerfulness or constant "glass half full" views will never be my modus operendi, but figuring out different ways to look at our life with the Navy would probably make the coming years more pleasant. I love Millie's comment about how "he's making the most of our time apart" because it reminds me to not waste the time NavyGuy and I have together, or the time we'll spend apart while he deploys. He'll be making the most of his time, and I need to figure out a way to do the same.


historygirlie June 2, 2009 at 8:17 PM  

wow mugs....that's some deep thoughts. I need to digest this blog entry for a while. I think this may be a phone conversation topic soon.

Now I REALLY have to read this book.

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