Not Everest - the Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit! A meeting of military spouses from all over the country, from Oregon and Washington State to the DC area, the Carolinas, Texas, brought together to discuss topics that are important to all of us. Marine wives sat with AirForce and Army Spouses, discussing Deployment stress with Navy wives - finding that we had more in common than differences. Every table had a Senior wife sitting at it, anonymously. May I say that I really enjoyed discussing mental health with Deborah Mullen! I recognized her, but no one else at our table did, and I think the whole point of them staying incognito was perfectly illustrated when one of the other ladies at the table realized who she was as we were going to lunch, and was hoping she hadn't said anything "wrong". NO - these ladies needed to hear what we had to say, without anyone worrying about "will this hurt my spouse's career"!
My usual problems with the Capital Security folks continued - my little spray hand sanitizer was confiscated - along with another wife's Nilla wafers. jeez louise!
The discussions - there was one overriding common thread. INFORMATION! or the lack thereof, the lack of one place to get the information we need, whether it's where to find a doctor that takes TriCare, which program is there to help children trying to cope with deployment, where the training is available for a milspouse trying to get a new job - INFORMATION.
The ideas we cam e up with, and refined, are being given to the members of the Caucus. We need to keep talking to our representatives, we need to make sure that these issues stay on their desks, stay on their radar.
I met so many wonderful spouses, so many women (I didn't meet the guys)who were ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, who had ideas and were willing to work together to make a difference. It was an honour and pleasure to spend the day with all of them.