Thursday, October 22, 2015

Army Wives, Wax Donuts, and the Friends Who Know Me Best

Lately I've been binge-watching the show Army Wives on Netflix.

I never saw it the first-time around. And now I can watch the complete series as I sit on my orange couch in a quiet living room, emptying a bag of Mint Milano cookies. Dangerous stuff.

When I deep dive into a new book or series, I feel like I'm entering a new, unknown world. And, right now, I'm enjoying being an Army wife.

I am struck by what it means to live and serve in the Army. I stand in awe of the commitment made by these individuals - not only what it means to commit to serve and fight, but what it means to be the wives and families of those in service. One of my former students, now an army wife, confirms that much of what the show portrays is true.

I don't know how I would live with such a sense of impermanence. Army wives must be ready to pack up and move every few years. That means a new house, new friends, new schools for their kids. They cannot invest too much in their own careers, because a move would require that they pick up and go. For me, that would be a huge struggle.

They also exist under the constant threat of deployment. Sometimes they get a few weeks of warning, other times not. I watched one episode where a single mom was being deployed and panicked when she realized she had no one to care for her daughter. How little I realized about military life!

The show revolves around a group of friends - four wives and one husband. Pamela (the fiery, redhead police officer), Roxie (the bar owner with short skirts and a sassy attitude), Denise (the elegant, motorcycle-riding paramedic), and Claudia Joy (the commander's wife who is also beginning a law degree).

Their friendship runs deep. And, in each episode, those bonds are tested and strengthened. They walk through depression, divorce, sickness, death. They cry. They laugh. They call each other. They take walks. They bond over coffee and glasses of wine. And sometimes they come around one another with no words at all.

They are moms, wives, and friends. And the more I watch - the more I thought about how much I value the circle of female friends in my own life. I have my writer and artist friends who challenge me to be see beauty, be creative and take risks. I have friends from childhood, people who have known me through summer camp romances and bad haircuts.

I have work friendships, women who raised eyebrows with me during those way-too-long, way-too-boring meetings and understood my consuming need for 3 o'clock M&Ms (no peanuts, please). And, in my new town, I'm building friendships . . . slowly. I met these friends through Instagram, church, and even my daughter's art camp where she served as a volunteer.

Army Wives reminded me to never take these friendships for granted. While I don't have a huge number, the ones I have I hold dear.

My friends make me laugh. They enjoy my adoration for Gilmore Girls and a strong cup of coffee. They understand my obsession with vintage and my odd addiction to chocolate waxy donuts. They know I am clutzy and that I can appreciate "real" literature as well as a Nicholas Sparks movie.

Friends understand all the varied parts of me. I am so thankful for the company of women.