When service members get orders for a new duty station, or when they are deployed, their focus is typically on the job. In most cases, it is the spouse who deals with the home front, and that is a major “CEO of Home” job of its own.
As a child, I saw this partnership in action, with my mother handling most of the details of each move when there was a transfer….packing up the house, finding a new residence, enrolling us in school, etc. There were often long periods when my father was away, and she held down the fort then as well. In those days, Navy wives operated as a strong support group for one another, and I’m sure that remains the same in all branches of the armed services today. They helped each other with babysitting, they kept each other company, they shared dinners and happy hours, and they were there for each other in many other ways to help fill the void left by their absent husbands.
These friendships remained in place over many different moves through the years, and we often teased my mother that she had friends everywhere as a result. When we celebrated her 75th birthday many years later, I searched through her address book for those friends and sent them requests for photos and messages that were used to compile a scrapbook. Amazingly, I received many contributions from all over the country, some from those Navy wives and others from their husbands whose wives had passed. All had a common theme: “We were a very special club and your Mom was an integral part of that circle.”
My experience was not unique. I have friends who grew up in military families and had similar stories. One of my closest friends recently lost her 93-year-old mother, whose senior officer Army husband had been deceased for many years, after they had retired where they were last stationed. At her mother’s service, my friend told me she was stunned by how many people remembered the role her mother had played as hostess, philanthropist, caregiver, news source, neighborhood leader, and much more.
We have our service men and women to thank for our many freedoms as U.S. citizens, but we should never forget the unsung heroes who make it possible for them to do their jobs protecting those freedoms – the spouses and partners who keep the home fires burning. It is truly a combined effort, so as we salute our military men and women, let’s also raise our glasses to those “CEOs” of home.
Written by Pamela J. O'Connor, Past President/CEO, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
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