TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — It’s no secret that in life some days are just plain better than others.
Yesterday was quite simply one of those better days. Yesterday was quite simply one of those better days — laughs, jokes, work, fun, shared experiences and food. It reminded me that when we sit together, break bread, sip a coffee or tea, or raise a glass we are building something way beyond the moment. We are building relationships on time well-shared. They will last, and they will matter.
My husband and I have spent 24 years married to each other, and at times, it feels like to the Air Force as well. Through these years we’ve learned a lot of great lessons. This one I continue to learn over and over again: “Relationships take effort and time, but in the end it is always time well spent.”
Yesterday I ate lunch with two new friends; ladies I’ve met in the periphery of things, but we’d never shared a meal. Sitting with them over soup and pizza I realized, yet again, that as military families we all have different but shared experiences that make us able to understand each other in a way you don’t always find outside the “gate.” Sharing stories of our children’s successes and challenges, of the funny things that happen during moves, of the joys and struggles of finding ourselves and growing into the people we want to be as our children grow and move, these shared experiences give us hope, strength and an understanding of the way forward. We’re reminded we are not alone, that across the military, spouses lives are akin to one another, not the same, but a shared path, with shared joys and challenges.
I finished the day yesterday covered in Oklahoma clay after a “Come Help Me” text from my friend and neighbor. She was knee deep in planting in her front yard, and while this country girl didn’t get the green thumb my sisters did, I wield a mean shovel – able to dig a hole with the best of them. We transplanted, moved, replaced, discarded and beautified the front of her house, all the while being laughed at, supported, prodded and helped by the people who drove down the street headed home at the end of a long day. Some even had time to lend a hand, or offered up a beverage in support of our efforts. Those moments cross all boundaries, shared experiences build relationships. They become friendships which allow us to ask for help when we need it, and give it freely when requested.
So yes, yesterday was a good day. Because I broke bread, worked and tipped a well-earned beverage with people who will always be a part of that good day. Each of those people gave of their time to create something, to start, to strengthen or to build a relationship.
As the holidays approach, my hope is that every Tinker spouse will also have many good days like mine. Reach out to other Tinker families, pack up the kids and go to your unit’s Thanksgiving meal or make arrangements for shared babysitting and go to your Holiday Party. The people you meet as you break bread together are people who understand this life. They may not be the family who you share genetics with, but they are the family who stands with you every day, through the challenges and the joys of this life.
Invest in those relationships, the friendships you build will last a lifetime.