This has been slightly edited, thanks to Terry’s comment.  She’s right.  I did approach it all wrong.  Nothing like a good friend to call you out on your own blog in the comments section.  (Wait until I share the socks she’s making.  They are delightful.  Really, I’ve already ordered my pair.)  Terry: I *heart* you to pieces.

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There are always things in our lives that identify us. I would hope most are good, but I’m sure some are not so good. For work, I’m “Susan with XYZ company.” At the vet, “Pom-Pom’s mommy.” I do some contract work for a doctor’s office and I am introduced to new people within the organization as, “Susan, she works for Dr. So-and-So.” All come with smiles and nods and “Pleased to meet yous.”

It goes on…

I always knew that when we became parents I would turn to vapor. We go somewhere sans Olivia and the first thing out of everyone’s mouth is, “where’s Olivia.” Normally she’s on a mini-vacay with my parents. When I have a bit of snark built up, I ask, “Who? Oh, her.” Anyway, I digress. When I pick O up from school, all the little kids shout out, “Olivia’s mommy is here” and I get waves and hugs and stories of new barrettes. One little girl, Kaitlyn, who goes by K-K, always asks me, “Whas your name? Mine’s K-K.” I tell her Ms. Susan, because Mrs. L is my mother-in-law and I’m not old enough to be a Mrs. L. One of the tots pipes up with, “No, no, no. That’s not right. You Owifia’s mommy.” (Love how the kids say Olivia)

Military life is no different. I spoke a few posts back about going to the family support meeting at the armory. This was my first encounter with the wives of this unit other than the past two Christmas parties and nobody would make eye contact. The guys always refer to each other by last names, except those who are close or see each other outside their service. The wives, on the other hand, always refer to their husbands and everyone by their first name, which means I have absolutely no stinking clue who they are referring to. I was recapping the meeting with Will and I said, “Lindsey and Joey…” and he cocked his head and asked me who Joey was. I told him Lindsey’s husband. I don’t know their last name. He doesn’t know their first name. Mystery couple…one of many. At the meeting, new people would arrive and say, “who are you?” I replied with, “Susan,” quickly replacing it with “I’m Sgt. L’s wife.” It would click. In another conversation, I was talking about a girlfriend. Will was talking about a soldier. We thought we were on the same couple, until I mentioned the little boy. I had the right spouse, he had the wrong soldier. “C’s mommy” cleared it all up. Of course, Olivia wooed everyone with her charm and by the end of the day I had no prayer of being Susan. I am referred to as “Sgt. L’s wife. Olivia’s mommy.” I lost expanded my identity. Times two.

We work to establish our individual identity and I know who I am, but, when it comes down to it, I often wonder if we really have one. That is, at least until they get to “know” us and when I say, “Susan” they know who Susan is. The more and more I think about it, the more I realize just how much I do it. I guess we all do. However, I would much rather be known as Sgt’s wife or Olivia’s mommy than “the WW drop out who needs to have her roots done.” All of which are true, but the first two are nicer than the third. I suppose it’s one of the parts of my life I don’t mind expanding.

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