When I first moved to Camp Lejeune (to be known here on out as CL), I was extremely lonely. I had my husband, a good friend I had made on a prior trip, Jess, and husband's friend's wife (who has become much more than that as we've gotten to know each other), Tamara. While both these ladies are fantastic (and Jess took care of my very sick newly pregnant self) I still ended up staying in the house moping for the majority of my first few months. I would call them on the phone or swing by their houses and that was about the extent of my social network. Neither of them were in hubby's unit, so while they could give me their tips and personal insights of being a Marine wife, they couldn't tell me what was going on with us, what exactly I was expected to do, or anything specific to us. They could both relate to the long days and late nights, or the nights where he doesn't come home at all. Jess has already survied a deployment and Tamara is preparing for her first, but has survived lots of seperation from her hubs before moving to CL. We have a lot in common just being Marine spouses and we have great times together, but I was still missing that network that I was used to, having come from an area where when I needed advice all I needed to do was walk down the hall to my mom or whenever I needed a sister I could drive 45 minutes at the most and several ladies would be there (one of the perks of being a sister of Phi Mu the second largest "Fraternity for Women" in the nation). I needed some kind of network where I could get busy. Preferrably a network that would somehow make me closer to hubs.
When Tamara started talking about events that were going on in the battalion for the families that would help spouses to meet friends and network, I started to wonder - is there something within hubs' batallion for me? Upon asking hubby this, I began to feel at a loss, there was no way I'd find a way to connect with his unit without feeling totally awkward (aka wife dates and large family days - sooo awkward to meet people that way!) That's when I noticed the card hubby had inadvertantly stuck on our fridge - the number for the FRO - Family Readiness Officer. I shot her an email, and within an hour, I was on the phone with someone from his battalion who could totally help me out. Finally, my existence at CL and as a Marine Spouse had been recognized! I was invited to come to the BN (battalion) the next day to meet the FRO, collect my Battle Book (a binder filled with sheets with blanks to fill in of all pertinent info - the if I had to leave and only had a second to grab my whole life what would I need book), and join her and her assistants on a tour around the base. I had an awesome time! I got to chat with girls from the BN about events, what was going on on base, and events the battalion family readiness team had to offer lonely spouses like myself. It was great. I asked how these girls got to come hang out in the office because it seemed like something I might be interested in - helping other wives (spouses) who don't have a clue what's going on and feel disconnected. I know that feeling and it sucks, what could I do to help out? I was invited to a Family Readiness Team Assistants meeting where I learned lots of goings on in the battalion and once again got to do one of my favorite things - chat! I decided that being a family readiness assistant was definitely a job I wanted to volunteer for.
Today was the training for the job. I learned lots of valuable information that will not only help me as an assistant but as a Marine spouse. I learned about TONS of resources that are available to us as Marines spouses, many I didn't even know about!! And then we got a sweet little graduation ceremony where I got an awesome certificate, that looks like a real Marine Corps certificate and I might just hang on the wall with hubby's certificates
So while I'm not looking for sisters to replace my sisters or my family, it is good finding a sisterhood within the Marine Corps. Whether it be Tamara and Jess, my first CL Marine Wife friends, or Maggie my childhood friend who is now a Marine Wife, Maria (the wife who was there when our car got hit and who is basically pretty awesome - more on that story and Maria later), or the battalion network, it's nice to have people who understand. And of course all my oldest friends are always only a phone call away. It feels good to be unlonely and back to my social butterfly self again.