Grandma’s Wisdom

Grandma’s Wisdom

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Grandma’s Wisdom

The only thing you can change in the world is yourself, and that makes all the difference in the world.


I was dreading the six-month deployment. I was going to have to take care of our three-and-a-half-month-old son by myself, was going to be without my best friend for six whole months, and, because we were fairly new in the squadron, I hadn’t been able to make friends yet. I could not fathom it.

People gave me a lot of advice, and all of it turned out to be true. One girl said that the anticipation of the separation is much worse than it actually is. Another girl told me that it was the best thing—but she’s glad she’ll never have to do it again. But all the advice is in one ear and out the other the night before your spouse really leaves.

It was the day of my birthday, and my stomach was in knots. I just wanted him to leave so that we could work on his coming home. I wondered how I was going to get through this.

A few days after he left, I got a piece of advice that really stayed with me. I was on the phone with my eighty-year-old grandmother. She has always given me the best advice, and, especially now, I valued her wisdom.

Grandma Louise said, “You just can’t feel sorry for yourself!”

During World War II, Grandpa was gone; he even missed the birth of my mother. So, I knew Grandma knew what she was talking about. As soon as she said those words to me, I could feel my attitude changing. She had handed me her secret.

From that moment on, I never considered it a dreadful thing that my husband was gone. I never considered the separation as a loss. Sure, I missed him, and, yes, I ran to the phone every time it rang. But my pity-party had been officially canceled.

I used my six-month separation wisely. I cherished the ’round-the-clock fun I got to spend with my son. I went on daily walks with him and the dog, and I got to know more of the neighbors. I painted every room in the house. I sewed curtains and pillows. I landscaped the backyard. I grilled burgers and shish kebobs on the barbecue. I mowed the yard and took the trash out every week. I managed the bills and the checkbook. I did things that I had never done before because I couldn’t, didn’t want to or didn’t know how.

Grandma was right, and, by not feeling sorry for myself, I had a lot of time on my hands. Her words of wisdom had changed my entire outlook. It was a gift from one navy wife to another, from a grandma to her granddaughter. She gave me words that I will hear forever, whenever they’re needed to be heard.

Rachel E. Twenter

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