I have never, ever (not once) been accused of being a judgemental or rank-obessesed military spouse, but last night I had the following interaction with a civilian neighbour:
Her: “Oh, I see [our neighbours] out in their fatigues all the time! Did they come to your party at Christmas?”
Me: (still snickering at ‘fatigues’) “No, none of our neighbours were invited.”
Her: “Oh, so you’re army snobs then?” (winking)
Me: “What? No! It was just that we hosted Staff Officer Carolling, and they aren’t Officers.”
Me: “They don’t even work with my husband. (Proceed to name the ranks and trades of our neighbours in an attempt to explain how very far from working with my husband they are.) He only really ever sees them when he’s home.”
Her: “But they are in the army.”
Me: “Yessssss…. No. They didn’t come to our party.”
Her: “Ooooh! Army snobs!”
I then spent all night worrying to myself: am I really an army snob? What if I am? What if I appear snobby to other military families and they secretly hate me, only putting up with me because of MiniSir’s irresistible charisma? It could happen!
This morning, when I woke up, still worrying I was the worst possible military spouse even and a giant army snob, the “In Case You Missed It” link from my good friend She Is Fierce‘s blog pointed to this post – Sure, Let’s Go There: Military Spouses and Rank. Re-reading it, I was relieved – I’m not an army snob after all! (At least, I’m pretty sure I’m not.)
Military rank holds a purpose, and in the workplace it’s a very important one. Outside of the military, it holds none whatsoever, and if it had been a block party we were hosting, I would have invited ALL our neighbours. But the party we were hosting was technically a military function, and much like an office Christmas party for a specific division of employees; this just happened to be for the Officers working at the headquarters.
Sometimes putting aside rank and rolling crits to kill undead monsters with people who just also happen to be in the military is really, really fun. And sometimes it can make people uncomfortable – especially if one party or the other feels that they are out of place. Like inviting a janitor to a teacher’s union meeting, or asking the CEO of a company to a birthday party for one of the receptionists. It isn’t un-doable, it just isn’t very comfortable. And besides, no one wants the CEO there anyways – once the birthday champagne is open you just know you’re going to say something you shouldn’t about his toupee.
I think I spend more time worrying about MiniSir’s social standing than he does – I want to be as good a military spouse as I can be; he’s going places, my hardworking man. I would like to be memorable for being a wonderful partner in his journey and making everyone feel welcome in our home no matter who they are or what rank they hold. Someone said once that I “will make a great Colonel’s wife”; I just hope I get to prove them right.
As long as my neuroses don’t get the best of me before then.