(posted by Christina)
So it happened again last night. I got the "aahhhhh" look and sigh.
Outside our current apartment (for the next week) I was talking to who I call "the cat lady". She has taken these wild cats that live in the rocks on Lake Michigan and made them her pets. They are really cute and I can completely understand where she is coming from in wanting to take them in. Chris has to hold be back often from jumping out of the car to take in a stray cat. She spent weeks trying to capture the 3 little kittens and take them into her home... only being successful with one little black one. I noticed the little black cat was back out at the rocks a few days ago so I asked her about it when I saw her by their "home" last night. She said the cat was terrified for 3 weeks in her home and vet said they cat would be better off outside. She got him fixed, and released him back to his friends. The vet said he was happier and already accustomed to the wild by the time she brought him inside. He compared it to taking a raccoon into the house... which she admitted she would not do. This put it in perspective for me as well... I'll think of this the next time I want to swoop a cute wild cat into my arms. That's not really the point of the story, but I did learn a lesson.
What happened next is what really drives me crazy. We're talking and she asks me where I live. I point to our building and referenced how we will be there for only a week more and then we'll be moving. Of course, she asks where, so I start the long explanation of how we are moving in with family for a few months before my husband is stationed, explaining that he is in the military.
That's where the aahhh... moment comes.
Sometimes it looks or sounds a little different, but it always has the same meaning. The person gives you the "that's so sad" or "that's horrible" sigh and look. Their head tilts to the side and their face scrunches up a little bit as if they don't know what else to say. Then, I usually say how this is something we've been looking forward to and we're excited for. That's when their voice inflection changes. The cat lady's comment was, "so this is good for you... ok".
This situation happens over and over again and it drives me CRAZY! First of all, we have a VOLUNTEER military. No one forced us to sign up. Chris signed the papers with his own free will. Yet, people give this look like it is somehow the worst situation that could happen. I understand being sympathetic if our situation is hard, like Chris is in Iraq for a year... but don't give me a sad look simply because we are part of the military. Traditionally, being part of the military has been highly looked upon and people show appreciation instead of disgust. I know this is somewhat a "Chicago" thing. I've noticed here that some people have an attitude that they are too good for the military or that the military is somehow a downgrade of a lifestyle.
If you find yourself responding like this (and some of you did when we told you our situation) please respond with something different. Maybe even check your own attitude and see why you have a repose such as this. I suggest saying, "thank you for your service" instead of the "aahhhh" sigh.
Another neighbor did just that when Chris told them what are situation was. Right away, she thanked him for his service and told him about her cousin that was in the military. It was nice and respectful the way she responded. We appreciated that.