Guest blogger Angee Croxon, a military spouse, describes her experiences at a spouse appreciation event during the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5. Along with a host of celebrity cooks and exhibitors, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, also stopped by to visit with military families during the Operation Home Cooking event.
By Angee Croxon
Nov. 14, 2011
As a military spouse I have an enormous sense of pride in my husband and other military men and women’s ability to juggle their duties as service members, fathers and mothers, and spouses. They deserve all the support they get, even if it’s just an occasional military discount at a store or restaurant. When I heard about a military spouse appreciation event put on by Food Network called Operation Home Cooking, I thought it was nice that people are taking time to recognize the sacrifices military spouses make so their husbands and wives can fight America’s wars.
As big fans of the network’s shows my two girlfriends (fellow military spouses) and I decided to go. Not only did I get to hang out with a couple of my great friends — Stephanie Brown and Jamie Powell — but I got a chance to see some famous chefs from Food Network talk to a group of spouses who shared the common experience of being married to the military.
For me, restaurateur Guy Fieri was the main attraction, and when he took the stage I knew he was going to be hilarious to watch. I wasn’t prepared for his heartfelt appreciation for military spouses. He brought his son, Hunter, to the event and incorporated the importance of family into his presentation. Part of his persona is talking about cooking with kids and getting them involved in what they eat. His philosophy is that by participating in food preparation as a family, it strengthens families and helps to eliminate problems such as childhood obesity and diabetes by opening up honest communication. He also acknowledged that as military spouses we not only are holding our families together in good times, but during the difficult times when our spouses are away.
It felt nice to be shown appreciation for such a simple role. As military spouses we love our military members and
support them in any way we can, so it was nice to be recognized for that. Talking to other military spouses over the years I realize that each one has his or her unique set of difficulties. Some have special needs children, some have to balance their own careers and work around the constraints of military life. Though there is no uniform for the military spouse and though we blend in at the grocery store and at doctor’s appointments, we share common experiences that are unique to us. We share long nights of juggling dinner, baths, homework and bedtime alone. We share the separation from family. We also share the challenge of answering our children’s questions of where mommy or daddy is and if they are going to be OK. It’s a burden that often goes unnoticed, making events like this so special.
Though it was a simple and lighthearted event, Operation Home Cooking was more than just a day out with friends. It felt wonderful to be acknowledged just this once. I just want to say thank you to Operation Home Cooking, all the guest cooks and speakers for all the love and attention they showed us.
It’s fitting that November, in addition to being the month where we give thanks for our blessings, is now Military Family Month. I bet most military members would say that they couldn’t fight far away without family support, and their military spouse keeping a home cooked meal ready for their return.