The Navy Wife’s Little Instruction Book

1.   The marriage is the center of the military family's happiness. Put each other first.
2.   Send a care package with a sweatshirt, a pillowcase or a bath towel that smells like home -- not lube oil.
3.   Plant tulip bulbs, hydrangea bushes and tomato plants even if you are scheduled to move before they bloom or ripen.  The
      neighbors will never forget you and the new tenant will bless you always.
4.   Get a smallish dog.
5.   Don't discuss your husband's career. Your friends don't care. Your enemies don't believe you. Your shipmates know better.
6.   When your spouse gets orders to another state, move there.
7.   Take the kids to visit the in-laws even if your spouse can't go. It's the right thing to do.
8.   Live in housing at least once.
9.   Know the difference between neighbors, friends and shipmates. Share accordingly.
10. Never miss a family wedding or funeral. If you don't take your place in the extended family, you will lose it.
11. Don't watch the ship leave.
12. Never miss the ship's return.
13. When you move, leave a fresh box of Popsicles in the freezer for the new kids on the block.
14. Know the mailing address of your spouse's ship, which department he works in, the name of his boss and at least three
      phone numbers where he can be reached.
15. Don't call your husband at work unless he owns the phone he will be talking on.
16. Don't make a senior in high school move. By the time they are 17, these kids have given enough of their lives to the military.
17. Attend some of the balls, most of the Hails and Farewells, none of the business meetings and all of the retirement and
      Change of Command ceremonies.
18. Find out what an ombudsman does.
19. Visit the ship in a foreign port during deployment -- without your children. I promise your plane will not go down.
20. When they play the national anthem and raise the flag, stand and cover your heart with your hand. Your children are watching.
21. Find a home church and attend it regularly. God is strictly a necessity.
22. Arrange your photo albums by address, not date. It makes pictures and memories easier to retrieve.
23. You are the interpreter of your husband's absence. If you remind your children that Daddy misses them too, they
      will believe you.
24. Live overseas at least once. Coming back to Wal-mart is as big an experience as doing without it.
25. Eight hours is not too far to drive for your child's play date. Best friendships don't happen every day. Not even to kids.
26. Don't make friends with other men, especially when the ship is at sea.
27. Don't lose yourself in your husband's identity. Explore your own interests, your own ideas, and your own opportunities.
      Become more than the sum of your parts.
28. Visit your own family during the deployment. Your parents will enjoy a few days of having their baby girl (and her kids)
      all to themselves.
29. Develop job skills that can be adapted everywhere.
30. Park in the back of the commissary lot. Make those mommies and retirees feel lucky today.
31. Register to vote. Vote often. Write your congressman.
32. Learn to sew well enough that you can remake curtains every time you move.
33. Always feed the movers. Think of something besides pizza.
34. Keep a list in the back of your address book of every house you have ever lived in, the dates and the corresponding
      phone numbers so you are prepared for that background check someday.
35. Eat a meal together every day -- even if it is only oatmeal or dessert. Shared meals are the essence of strong families.
36. Know that when you have the least to give, your children will need you most.
37. Engender the Navy Wife Motto: Semper Gumby: Always flexible.
38. Be brave.