By Jade Stone
Well, after we dug ourselves out of the snow of the century last week, Jay and I made our way to Topeka where he would fulfill his monthly drill duty and I would participate in my first official FRG meeting.
FRG stands for Family Readiness Group. They are basically formed to support families of soldiers in times of need. Whether it is during deployment, or family tragedy, this group was created to rally around the families and help them in any way they can. This group will also organize care package supply drives to make sure deployed soldiers have everything they need and maybe a few things they want.
In theory, it is a great organization with tremendous potential to do amazing things for lots of people. However, it is not unheard of for these groups to “sour” and become gossip mills. Remember, it is mostly a mixture of the wives of high ranking as well as low ranking soldiers in the same room together.
If you think the town politics or school politics were bad, the politics among the soldiers and their wives can be worse. Sadly, for every amazing FRG that is formed, you can almost bet and there is an equally nasty group formed as well. I can say this because during Jay’s last deployment with a different company (same unit), there was talk of an FRG that was a place where the women got together and gossiped about each other as well as made plans to go out and “hook up” with whomever they choose while their soldiers were gone.
Needless to say, I didn’t waste my time or money to go to any of the meetings. I had little or no support from them here in Arkansas and I initially viewed the FRG as worthless.
However, there shines a glimmer of hope that this FRG will be much different. I had the opportunity to meet other wives of the soldiers my husband will stand shoulder to shoulder with in Iraq and suddenly felt something I’d never really felt before: the bond that can only be formed in times of adversity between people sharing the same plight.
Had I not been there, I would not have believed it possible, but I was and I do!
These women come from all sorts of different backgrounds with different stories to share. Many were there for the husbands, but some were there for their sons and daughters. In any case it was made very clear that we would all be there for each other no matter what the situation or time of day.
It was really nice to talk to others who had similar experiences to what I had during the last deployment. It was even more interesting to hear that we all had very similar problems with our soldiers when they returned. The horror stories of wives leaving their husbands or cheating on them while they were deployed were well known to us all and we were all in agreement that it was not only inappropriate but selfish and cowardly and that behavior would not be tolerated in this FRG!
Finally, a group of people who took their role as the silent soldier at home seriously!
After a 2 hour meeting, I truly felt that these were people I could lean on and that I really wanted to be involved with them! That said, it looks like I will be burning the road up to Topeka right along with Jay so that I can be as involved as possible. I’ve always felt that the wives should stick together but I’ve never found anyone else who believed the same or even really cared-now I have!
I am really looking forward to working with them in supporting our soldiers and each other. The FRG can provide so many benefits to its members when it is a healthy, high functioning, well organized group of people working together for the common good. Though this next deployment will not be an easy one, I look forward to not being alone anymore!
Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.