Five years ago, I became an Army spouse. It was at that first duty station that I learned the importance of the Army family and finding your tribe.
Moving as much as we do, you find your pals, you find your support system and you find your tribe. For me, I always feel a little out of place. I didn’t grow up in this military life, but what I have learned is that these great Army families love and accept me for exactly who I am. It doesn’t matter that I only have three PCSs under my belt or that I don’t know all the Army acronyms.
When we first moved to Fort Hood, I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same love and warmth I felt at our last duty station. You finally get settled in. You have your circle of trusted advisers and friends and then you PCS.
I was thankful for the friends I had made. I knew we would stay friends, but the starting over — gosh, it was not something I was looking forward to.
In recent months, I have started to feel that big hug I felt at our other duty stations. When I think about the tribe of Army spouses that have become my closest confidants, reality checkers and sounding boards, I am blessed. I don’t use that term lightly — I feel the love and kindness they project into the universe and I know I am better for it.
They have inspired me to be better. They have filled my heart with love at just the right times. They have showed me kindness when I haven’t been able to give it to myself. They have reminded me nothing works out as planned, but everything does work out.
You may call them many different things; your tribe, your circle or your Army family. I call them all of the above.
As military spouses, we just get it done. We do what needs to be done. We don’t ask for help, we just do. I wrote in an earlier column that military friendships are accelerated. It is kind of like our life — as soon as you move, you suddenly start thinking about the next move. It is sometimes hard to just live in the moment because of the constant sea of unknown. Luckily, we are all in the same boat, so I can take some comfort in that.
This past weekend, my heart and soul were reminded about the goodness in people, the power of your tribe and how Army families always come together. It’s not the first time I have seen it, but it certainly makes me feel proud to stand in such great company.
On Saturday, I was given the gift — along with members of my circle of friends — to give a little goodness to one of our very own. This Army family was so grateful for the small contributions that we, as her pals, had made.
For me, it was bigger than that. The true gift was being able to give a little service to this wonderful Army family. It was watching such wonderful women come together to get it done and give a helping hand.
For that reminder and for their friendship, I feel lucky. I am forever grateful to be surrounded by women who are strong, courageous, dreamers and doers. They are ladies that I admire and aspire to be more like.
As you look at your tribe, I am sure you feel the same way. And if you are starting to find your circle, look for those amazing human beings who see the greatness in you even on the days you can’t see it in yourself.
Reena O’Brien is an Army spouse and Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.